While there is no shortage of surveys and indexes ranking countries on all sorts of performance metrics — from economic competitiveness to healthcare to global image — the Best Countries report is the first of its kind to determine which of the world’s nations are the most successful overall. The results of its inaugural ranking are as follows:
Conducted by U.S. News & World Report in conjunction with WPP, an ad agency, and the Wharton School of Business, the study drew its results from a global survey of 16,000 people, which included “informed elites” (e.g., the educated and well off), business leaders, and the general populace. Respondents rated 60 select countries across dozens of attributes spanning nine categories: adventure, citizenship, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, heritage, movers (fast-growing and dynamic economies), open for business, power, and quality of life. An explanation for what each category entails for can be found here.
Norway, which has repeatedly been ranked by the U.N. as one of best countries in the world to live in, was not covered in the report; I am curious to see where it would stand given its stellar performance in other studies.
Canada — which often rivals Norway as a contender for best country in other reports — came in second place, falling short of Germany’s perfect score by just 0.3. The U.K. followed in third place, with the U.S. landing a respectable fourth. Even Brazil and China managed to reach the top slots despite their developing status, which testifies to their growing clout and potential in other areas.
You can see the entire list, and why each country got the score it did, here.
According to the report, Germany’s top score can be attributed to its leading role in political, economic, and cultural development.
Germany employs a social market economy – open-market capitalism that also carries certain social service guarantees. Its economy is one of the world’s largest and Germany is one of the globe’s leading importers and exporters. Services, which include industries such as telecommunications, health care and tourism, contribute the greatest amount to the country’s economy. Industry and agriculture are other significant economic sectors.
Germany possesses a highly skilled, affluent workforce. The country’s population is aging, however, raising questions about the high level of spending for social services. The overwhelming majority of citizens are ethnic German, with Turks and other Europeans representing significant minority populations. The country is one of the world’s most popular migration destinations, and the size of the foreign-born population in Germany has grown substantially in the 21st century.
Culturally, Germany has produced some of the world’s leading figures in the natural and social sciences, as well as the arts. The land that gave birth to the modern printing press, Ludwig van Beethoven and Immanuel Kant has strong traditions in literature, music and philosophy. Folk festivals remain popular in modern-day Germany, the most notable being the annual Oktoberfest.
Germany belongs to major international organizations, including the United Nations, the European Union, Group of 20, NATO and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
While Germany topped the general list, there were winners for each category, too.
What do you think about these results?