Switzerland remains the reigning champion for 2020

Swiss flag with mountain scenery
© iStock/lucentius

The fifth annual Best Countries Report reveals that Switzerland remains top, with Canada and Japan following closely behind.

A ranking and analysis project conducted by the U.S. News and World Report, BAV Group and the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, evaluated the perceptions of 73 nations across a range of categories. The categories ranged from economic influence and military might to education and quality of life, to determine which countries wield the most influence on a global scale.

The report revealed a consensus around climate change, anxiety about big tech, and shifting perceptions about the U.S.

Kim Castro, Editor and Chief Content Officer, U.S. News said: “The Best Countries analysis taps into U.S. News’ decades-long expertise in supplementing data with in-depth journalism. By collaborating with leaders in data and academia, we’re able to help thought leaders, business decision makers, policymakers and citizens understand how perceptions impact their country’s standing in the world.”

A few key themes from the 2020 Best Countries report include:

  • Switzerland remains on top overall. Canada reached second place and Japan third, followed by Germany and Austria. The UK reaches No. 6 and the US moved one spot higher to No. 7.
  • The interviewees painted a bleak picture of the US when asked about a nations trustworthiness as they fell to a record low of 16.3 on a 100-point scale, although the country is still deemed the most powerful country in the world. The UK also fell in this category. Whilst, countries such as Spain, South Korea and Greece improved.
  • There is a world-wide consensus on climate change and the effect it’s having on the planet. 87% of respondents agree that climate change exists. However, of the 36 countries in the report, Russia agreed about climate change the least with only 71% believing in the issue. Indonesia agreed the most with 97%. However, only 60% of the total people interviewed believed that their country is actively addressing the effects of climate change.
  • It was revealed that there is global anxiety about technology. 74% of respondents think that global companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon should be limited, and the same number also believe that technology is replacing jobs, however, in Japan only 31.5% agree.
  • Views on gender equality are favourable but there is a gap between perception and reality. 90% of respondents agree that women should be entitled to the same rights as men. When respondents were asked whether women actually have the same opportunities in their country, only 64% agreed.

Michael Sussman, CEO, BAV Group said: “This year’s Best Countries rankings continue to show us human rights, diversity, sustainability and free trade are all top of mind for many worldwide, connecting us together. These fundamental topics are vital to a nation’s brand strength and reflect how the quality of life can have a dramatic influence on global perception.”

To gather the data for the Best Countries Report, over 20,000 business leaders, university-educated individuals and general citizens were surveyed. The project also includes in-depth news articles, an interactive data explorer, videos, photos and analysis from global experts in government, business and academia.

David Reibstein, professor of marketing at the Wharton School, said: “The goal of the Best Countries report is to understand how global perceptions are related to investment, foreign trade and tourism of a nation.”

To discover more about the Best Countries Project and find out where your country ranked, click here.

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