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List: Switzerland Named Best Country in the World — US Slips to #5

Switzerland has retained its top spot in U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Countries rankings, marking the second year in a row and the sixth time overall the central European nation has placed No. 1. The small, landlocked country is followed by Canada (No. 2), Sweden (No. 3), Australia (No. 4) and the United States (No. 5) – which is down a spot from 2022 – in the latest edition of the analysis, released Wednesday.

European countries made up the majority of the top 25, holding 16 spots in the 2023 rankings. Germany saw the largest fall among these leading nations, down five spots since 2022, while Australia and New Zealand saw the largest increases, both up three spots year over year.

The only country in the Middle East to make the top 25 was the United Arab Emirates, while Asia was represented by Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea.

These Are the 10 Best Countries in the World, According to U.S. News & World Report:

1.  Switzerland

2. Canada

3. Sweden

4. Australia

5. United States

6. Japan

7. Germany

8. New Zealand

9. United Kingdom

10 .Netherlands

The Best Countries rankings and analysis from U.S. News are formed in partnership with global marketing communications company WPP and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The project is based on a global survey in which more than 17,000 people across 36 nations associated various countries with specific attributes, ranging from “dynamic,” “safe” and “a leader” to “cares about human rights,” “economically stable” and “committed to social justice.” The survey this year contained 73 attributes in total and encompassed 87 countries. Cyprus, Honduras and Zimbabwe were included in the rankings for the first time in the project’s history after meeting benchmark criteria. El Salvador rejoined the list after dropping off in 2022.

As part of the rankings package, U.S. News and its partners explored Switzerland’s enduring popularity, shifting perceptions of New Zealand and Australia, America’s brand power and global opinions about countries that pose a global threat.

Switzerland has ranked No. 1 nearly every year since 2017. This year, the country landed in the top 25 for each of the 10 subrankings that inform the overall Best Countries rankings, and in the top 10 for half of them. This includes notable performances in three of the heaviest-weighted subrankings: entrepreneurship (No. 6), quality of life (No. 6) and social purpose (No. 8). Switzerland also rated highly for cultural influence (No. 8), and topped the list at No. 1 in the open for business subranking.

The U.S. moved down a spot in the rankings, landing at No. 5 after steadily climbing from No. 8 to No. 4 between 2019 and 2022. The United States was at or near the top in several subrankings, coming in at No. 1 for entrepreneurship, power and agility, and No. 3 for cultural influence.

Despite the slight dip, Richard Wike, director of global attitudes research at the Pew Research Center – which conducts its own surveys to capture global perceptions – says the United States is still benefiting from a boost tied to the 2020 election of President Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump.

“Biden is more popular than Trump in nearly all of the countries we survey, and there’s been more support for his policies,” Wike says. “As a result, people are more likely now to say they have a favorable opinion of the U.S. overall.”

The top half of the overall Best Countries list was relatively stable year over year. With the exception of Germany (-5), South Africa (-4) and the Czech Republic (-4), all countries in the top 50 stayed within three spots of their 2022 rankings.

More notable shifts occurred for some countries further down the list, with many in the Middle East climbing up the ranks. Oman, for example, rose 13 spots year over year to reach No. 65 – the largest increase of any country between 2022 and 2023. Between 2019 and 2022, Oman fell 15 spots, making its steep climb back up a notable reversal.

Oman, which has a reputation for diplomacy and neutrality, has long acted as a regional mediator and was recently described as a “discreet architect of peace in the Middle East” by French newspaper Le Monde. Many have called the country “the Switzerland of the Middle East,” says David Roberts, an associate professor at King’s College London with expertise in the Gulf monarchies.

“Oman has long cultivated its reputation as a neutral state,” Roberts says. “It’s quite mild-mannered. It doesn’t want to cause trouble.”

Bahrain, another monarchy in the Persian Gulf, saw the second-largest increase between 2022 and 2023, up nine spots year over year. Outside of its strong standing in finance, Roberts notes Bahrain also has significant soft power when it comes to sports, hosting the annual Formula One Grand Prix auto race.

South America also saw some notable shifts, with Colombia (No. 60) dipping eight spots, and Uruguay (No. 57) climbing eight spots. Africa and Asia both remained relatively stable in the rankings, with no countries on those continents shifting more than four spots year over year. However, Myanmar – plagued by acts of genocide and other violence in recent years – has moved more than any other country since 2021, declining 22 spots in just two years.

Several European countries had noticeable year-over-year declines. Latvia saw the most noticeable drop, down eight spots to No. 72. Denmark and France both fell three spots, leaving the top 10. Germany slipped from No. 2 to No. 7.

After Ukraine’s move up nine positions in 2022, it moved back down six positions in 2023, landing at No. 68. Three of Ukraine’s regional allies – Lithuania, Poland and Romania – also saw their rankings fall year over year, though all three countries still sit higher than they did prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

For its part, Russia continued its drop in the rankings, slipping one spot to No. 37 after seeing one of the largest drops (-12) in the project’s history last year. Three of Russia’s allies – Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan – saw their rankings fall significantly between 2021 and 2022 and have not notably recovered, as they remain in the bottom five of the nearly 90 countries ranked.

These Are the 10 Lowest-Ranked Countries in the World, According to U.S. News & World Report:

78. Cameroon

79. Algeria

80. Myanmar

81. Honduras

82. Serbia

83. Uzbekistan

84. Kazakhstan

85. Lebanon

86. Belarus

87. Iran

READ 7 COMMENTS
  • Lynda says:

    Democrats have done this to us !

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