The 2022 Best Countries Report Ranks Switzerland as No. 1 in the World

Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 11:01 PM CDT

Quality of life factors as most important for rankings.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Switzerland returns to the top spot in the overall 2022 Best Countries, a ranking and analysis project by U.S. News & World Report; BAV Group, a unit of global marketing communications company WPP; and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Wharton School Logo.
The Wharton School Logo.(PRNewswire)

Now in its seventh year, Best Countries evaluates 85 countries across 73 attributes. Attributes were grouped into 10 subrankings, including entrepreneurship, agility and social purpose. Quality of life became the most heavily weighted subranking 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," said Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer at U.S. News. "Having quality of life as the top subranking demonstrates that elements such as a good job market, affordability, political stability and well-developed health and education systems are playing an increasingly important role in shaping a country's global image."

For the fifth time, Switzerland claimed the No. 1 spot, with Germany coming in at No. 2, followed by Canada at No. 3. The United States moved up two positions to No. 4, followed by Sweden at No. 5.

Key themes from the 2022 Best Countries Report:

  • Switzerland returns to No. 1. The country, which held the top spot from 2017 to 2020, scored well on quality of life and social purpose attributes. It is also perceived as a country that cares about human rights, as well as gender and racial equity and the environment.
  • The Russia-Ukraine War influenced perceptions of those two countries and neighboring nations. Russia dropped to No. 36 in the Best Countries overall rankings, while Ukraine moved up to No. 62. Poland, Lithuania and Romania also moved up in the rankings.
  • The fear of rising inflation and economic decline is a top concern. Eighty-five percent of survey respondents believe inflation will worsen. Among survey participants, 58% agree with the statement, "I am willing to pay higher prices if it helps put more economic pressure on Russia."
  • COVID-19 continues to factor into perceptions of health care. Seventy-nine percent 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 – as well as female leadership. Eighty-nine percent agree with the statement, "We need leaders that think beyond their own borders or their own self-interests," while 69% agree that "countries led by women tend to be better managed," up 1.4 points from last year.

"This year we can truly see the growing significance of soft power over traditional forms of hard power when rating a country's standing in the world," said John Keaveney, advisor at BAV@WPP. "With the rise of importance in quality of life and social purpose in the Best Countries analysis and the declining prominence of military and economic might, we can see how much the general attitudes of the world are changing, and what nations need to consider."

The 2022 Best Countries rankings methodology is based on a proprietary survey of more than 17,000 global citizens from 36 countries, including business leaders, college-educated individuals who are middle-class or higher; and general citizens who are nationally representative of their country.

"In general, countries do not shift to any great degree from year to year," said David Reibstein, professor of marketing at the Wharton School. "But in 2021 and 2022, we witnessed more turmoil than in any of the previous seven years of this study, resulting in more change in how people viewed countries. Perhaps the greatest shakeup influencing the rankings this year is the conflict in Ukraine, the insecurity within Europe itself, the threat of possible nuclear confrontation and the total disruption of energy supplies."

The Best Countries rankings are part of U.S. News' government rankings initiative, which measures government performance at the international, state and local levels and includes the Best States and Healthiest Communities projects.

2022 Best Countries Rankings
See the full rankings here.

Overall

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

Most Powerful

  1. United States
  2. China 
  3. Russia

Most Agile   

  1. United States 
  2. Germany
  3. Canada

For Social Purpose

  1. Sweden
  2. Norway
  3. Denmark

For Women 

  1. Sweden
  2. Norway
  3. Finland

Most Forward-Looking

  1. Singapore
  2. Japan
  3. United States

For Racial Equality

  1. Netherlands
  2. Sweden
  3. Norway

For more information, visit Best Countries and use #BestCountries on Facebook and Twitter.

About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower consumers, business leaders and policy officials to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives and communities. A multifaceted digital media company with Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars, News, Real Estate and 360 Reviews platforms, U.S. News provides rankings, independent reporting, data journalism, consumer advice and U.S. News Live events. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

About BAV Group
BAV Group is a global consultancy with expertise in consumer insights and brand marketing strategy. Using BrandAsset® Valuator, a proprietary brand management tool and global database of consumer perceptions of brands, BAV informs strategic and creative solutions that drive business results. Over 29 years, BAV has captured data and consumer insights on more than 60,000 brands in 50+ countries around the world, evaluating 75 brand image and equity dimensions that matter. BAV Group is a unit of global marketing communications company WPP. Visit bavgroup.com to learn more.

About the Wharton School
Founded in 1881 as the world's first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is shaping the future of business by incubating ideas, driving insights, and creating leaders who change the world. With a faculty of more than 235 renowned professors, Wharton has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral  students. Each year 13,000 professionals from around the world advance their careers through Wharton Executive Education's individual, company- customized, and online programs. More than 104,000 Wharton alumni form a powerful global network of leaders who transform business every day. For more information, visit www.wharton.upenn.edu.

BAV Group Logo (PRNewsfoto/U.S. News & World Report)
BAV Group Logo (PRNewsfoto/U.S. News & World Report)(PRNewswire)
U.S. News & World Report Logo. (PRNewsfoto/U.S. News & World Report)
U.S. News & World Report Logo. (PRNewsfoto/U.S. News & World Report)(PRNewswire)

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