What’s the Best Country in the World?

What would be the top few things you would rate when it comes to deciding which country in the world is the best? Standard of living, work-life balance, educational system, or maybe political stability? Well, in conjunction with U.S. News & World Report and WPP, Wharton marketing professor David Reibstein unveils his annual “Best Countries” list, which measures global perceptions about 87 nations with the highest GDP.

A huge number of people participated in this report too. More than 17,000 people around the world were asked to evaluate the countries based on 73 attributes ranging from political stability to racial equity to health consciousness. One-third of the survey respondents were business leaders; one-third were college-educated individuals who were middle class or higher; and one-third were from the general population. But it does rely on scientific data for the analysis and isn’t just a popularity contest.

Maybe this seems a bit frivolous and you’re asking why this even matters?

“This has an impact on tourism, on foreign direct investment, and on foreign trade,” he said. “Those are the three major components of the GDP of a country, and these factors are indicative of how much people are willing to visit a country or how much they are willing to do business with a country.”

Many look at these results and consider current and future business initiatives and where to focus. The results can also point countries to consider why they are sliding up or down the list and consider how to possibly address key issues that are impacting them.

So, what were some of the other key findings? Well, first, kudos to Switzerland who once again topped the U.S. News and World Report Best Countries list for 2023 for the sixth time in the last eight years! Why? “This year, the country landed in the top 25 for each of the 10 sub-rankings 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 sub-rankings: 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 sub-ranking.”

Here are the top 10 countries:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Canada
  3. Sweden
  4. Australia
  5. United States
  6. Japan
  7. Germany
  8. New Zealand
  9. United Kingdom
  10. Netherlands

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. This year, the U.S. hit the highest marks for agility, entrepreneurship, and power, but it ranked 23rd for quality of life and a shockingly low 59th for being open for business. Why Canada fared better than the U.S.? Canada performed much better on those sub-rankings and achieved an overall score of 99.3, which is very close to Switzerland’s perfect 100. China slipped from No. 17 last year to No. 20 this year, but it ranked second behind the U.S. in power, a reflection of its strong political and economic influence in the world. One last piece of info shared about the report related to which country was viewed as having the most future potential and being labelled the “rising star”…was India. “People believe India is a country to invest in, and a country they believe is going to be a rising star,” he said. “If you want to bet on development in any country, India is the one that a lot of people put their money behind.”

Like the majestic Alps that rise high above its landscape, Switzerland has once again summited the U.S. News and World Report Best Countries list for 2023.

It’s the sixth time that the Central European nation has grabbed the top spot in the eight years the rankings have been around, including last year.

“Switzerland has been a perennial and a winner in this particular assessment,” Wharton marketing professor David Reibstein, who helped create the rankings, told Wharton Business Daily. (Listen to the podcast here.) “They are economically stable, they’ve got great education, and it’s one of the top countries people say they would like to live in.”