According to a ranking and analysis project by US News & World Report; BAV Group, a unit of global marketing communications firm WPP; and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Switzerland, ranked first in the overall Best Countries 2022 rankings, and the United States came in 4th.
Now in its seventh year, Best Countries evaluated 85 countries across 73 attributes that were grouped into ten sub-classifications, including entrepreneurship, agility, and social purpose. Quality of life became the most heavily weighted sub-classification this year, as determined by the most recent gross domestic product per capita data.
“The Best Countries rankings are designed to help policymakers and residents identify how perceptions affect their country’s standing among other nations,” commented Kim Castro, editor, and chief content officer for US News.
“Having the quality of life as the top sub-ranking demonstrates that elements such as a good labor market, affordability, political stability, and well-developed health and education systems play an increasingly important role in shaping a country’s global image.”
For the fifth time, Switzerland ranked No. 1, with Germany at No. 2, followed by Canada at No. 3, while the United States moved up two positions to No. 4, followed by Sweden at No. 5.
In the “Most Powerful” and “Agility” rankings, the U.S. placed first, with a country’s agility understood as the ability to adapt and respond to any obstacle it faces.
- Switzerland returned to No. 1. The country ranked No. 1 from 2017 to 2020 and scored well on the quality of life and social purpose attributes. It is also perceived as a country that cares about human rights, gender, racial equity, and the environment.
- The Russia-Ukraine War influenced perceptions of these two countries and neighboring nations. Russia fell to 36th place in the Best Countries ranking, while Ukraine rose to 62nd.
- Fear of rising inflation and economic decline is a major concern. Eighty-five percent of respondents believe that inflation will get worse. Among the survey participants, 58% agree with the statement, “I am willing to pay higher prices if it helps to put more economic pressure on Russia.”
- Covid-19 continues to influence perceptions of health care. 79% of respondents agree with the statement, “I approve of my country’s efforts to protect its citizens from the Covid-19 pandemic,” while only 65% agree with the statement, “I trust my government to take care of my health. and safety.”
- There is a desire for global leadership and female leadership. 89% agree with the statement, “We need leaders who think beyond their borders or their interests,” while 69% agree that “countries led by women tend to be better managed,” up 1.4 points from last year.
“With the increased importance of quality of life and social purpose in the Best Countries analysis and the decreased importance of military and economic might, we can see how much the overall attitudes of the world are changing and what nations should consider,” said John Keaveney, [email protected] advisor.
The 2022 Best Countries ranking methodology is based on a survey of more than 17,000 global citizens from 36 countries, including business leaders, college-educated individuals who are middle class or above, and general citizens who are nationally representative of their country.
The Best Countries rankings are part of the US News government rankings initiative, which measures government performance at the international, state, and local levels and includes the top states and healthiest communities projects.
2022 Best Country Rankings (General)
- United States
- United Kingdom
See the complete ranking here.