Switzerland maintains 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 in a row that a Central European country has topped the list. The small landlocked country is followed by Canada (No. 2), Sweden (No. 3), Australia (No. 4) and the United States (No. 2), which has dropped from 2022 (No. ).
European countries accounted for most of the top 25 positions, occupying 16th place in the 2023 ranking. Of these major economies, Germany has fallen the most, dropping five places since 2022, while Australia and New Zealand have seen the biggest gains, both rising three places year-on-year.
According to US News & World Report, the 10 best countries in the world are:
As part of the rankings package, U.S. News and its partners examined global opinion on Switzerland’s enduring popularity, changing perceptions of New Zealand and Australia, the strength of the American brand, and countries that pose a global threat.
Switzerland has ranked first almost every year since 2017. This year, the country finished in the top 25 in each of the 10 sub-rankings that determine the overall Best Country ranking, and in the top 10 in half of them. This includes notable performances in her three most important sub-rankings: Entrepreneurship (6th place), Quality of Life (6th place), and Social Purpose (8th place). Switzerland also ranks highly for its cultural influence (8th place) and is ranked 1st in the Open for Business sub-ranking.
After steadily rising from 8th to 4th place from 2019 to 2022, the United States fell one spot in the rankings, settling at 5th place. The United States came in first place after being at or near the top in several sub-rankings. First place goes to Entrepreneurship, Power and Agility, and third place goes to Cultural Influence.
Despite the slight decline, Richard Weick, director of global attitudes research at the Pew Research Center, which conducts independent surveys to understand global perceptions, said the United States remains largely unpopular with the former president. He said the company is benefiting from a boost from President Joe Biden’s 2020 election. President Donald Trump.
“Biden is more popular than Trump in almost every country we surveyed, and support for his policies is even higher,” Wike said. “As a result, people are now more likely to say they have a favorable opinion of the United States as a whole.”
The top half of the overall Best Countries list remained relatively stable year-over-year. All countries in the top 50 remained within his third place from the 2022 rankings, with the exception of Germany (-5), South Africa (-4) and the Czech Republic (-4).
More notable changes occurred in some countries at the bottom of the list, with many countries in the Middle East moving up the rankings. For example, Oman rose 13 places year-on-year to 65th place, making it the biggest jump of any country from 2022 to 2023. It was a remarkable turnaround as Oman dropped 15 places from 2019 to 2022, rising rapidly.
Oman has a reputation for diplomacy and neutrality, and has long played a role as a regional mediator, and was recently described by France’s Le Monde newspaper as a “thoughtful architect of peace in the Middle East.” Many refer to the country as the “Switzerland of the Middle East,” said David Roberts, an associate professor at King’s College London and an expert on Gulf monarchies.
“Oman has long cultivated a reputation as a neutral country,” Roberts said. “He has a pretty mild demeanor. He doesn’t want to cause any trouble.”
Bahrain, another Persian Gulf monarchy, recorded the second largest increase from 2022 to 2023, rising nine places year-on-year. Roberts points out that in addition to Bahrain’s strong position in the financial sector, it also has significant soft power in sports, such as hosting the Formula 1 Grand Prix car race every year.
South America also saw notable changes, with Colombia (60th) dropping eight places and Uruguay (57th) moving up eight places. Both Africa and Asia remain relatively stable in the rankings, with no country on these continents changing more than four places year-on-year. But Myanmar, which has been plagued by genocide and other violence in recent years, has seen more people move than any other country since 2021, dropping 22 places in just two years.
Several European countries saw significant year-on-year declines. Latvia had the most significant drop, falling eight places to 72nd place. Denmark and France both fell three places and are out of the top 10. Germany fell from second to seventh place.
After moving up nine places in 2022, Ukraine fell six places in 2023 to 68th place. Three of Ukraine’s regional allies – Lithuania, Poland and Romania – also fell in the rankings compared to last year, but all three countries are still down in the rankings. It is higher than it was before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Russia continues to fall in the rankings, dropping one place to 37th after recording the largest drop in the project’s history last year (-12). Three of Russia’s allies, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, have seen a significant decline in their rankings from 2021 to 2022, with no noticeable recovery, and they remain in the bottom five out of about 90 countries in the ranking. .
According to US News & World Report, the 10 lowest ranked countries in the world are:
Read our methodology to learn more about how the 2023 Best Countries rankings were formed.