Switzerland Continues its Reign at the Top of the 2020 Best Countries Report

– The fifth annual Best Countries report reveals a general consensus around climate change, anxiety about big tech, and shifting perceptions of the U.S. –

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Switzerland, Canada and Japan maintain their dominance in the overall 2020 Best Countries Report, a ranking and analysis project by U.S. News & World Report, BAV Group and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. This year, the project evaluated the perceptions of 73 nations across a range of categories, 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 Best Countries analysis taps into U.S. News’ decades-long expertise in supplementing data with in-depth journalism," said Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer at U.S. News. "By collaborating with leaders in data and academia, we’re able to help thought leaders, business decision makers, policy makers and citizens understand how perceptions impact their country’s standing in the world."

Key themes from the 2020 Best Countries report include:

  • Switzerland stays on top overall. Canada moves up to No. 2, and Japan is No. 3. Rounding out the top 5 are Germany and Australia. The U.K. comes in at No. 6, and the U.S. rose one spot to No. 7.
  • Respondents paint a bleak picture when asked about nations’ trustworthiness. While the U.S. is perceived as the most powerful country in the world, data shows it is not perceived as very trustworthy. Canada is perceived as the most trustworthy country, and has been since the first Best Countries report in 2016. During that same time, perceptions of the U.S. as being trustworthy have steadily dropped to a record-low of 16.3 on a 100-point scale. The U.K. also fell in this attribute, while Greece, South Korea and Spain improved.
  • There is a global consensus about the effect of climate change. Most respondents (87%) agree that climate change is real. Of the 36 countries surveyed, people in Russia agreed about climate change the least (71%), and Indonesia agreed the most (97%) along with African nations including Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. But only 60% of respondents agree their country is effectively addressing its effects.
  • Global anxiety about technology persists. Nearly three out of four people (74%) think large technology companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon should be limited, and about the same number agree that technology is displacing jobs. The UK, Canada and Australia agree most with limiting large technology corporations. In Japan, which is perceived as a technology powerhouse, just 31.5% agree that technology is displacing jobs and 55% agree that big tech should be limited.
  • Gender equality is viewed favorably, but there is a gap between perception and reality. Ninety percent of respondents agree that women should be entitled to the same rights as men. However, when asked whether women actually do have the same economic opportunities as men in their countries, only 64% of respondents agreed. A little more than two out of three people (69%) said they view traditional gender roles as important to a functioning society, and that perception is similar between men (73%) and women (66%). 

"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," said Michael Sussman, CEO, BAV Group.

In addition to the overall rankings, the report also includes:

The 2020 Best Countries rankings methodology uses data gathered from a proprietary survey of more than 20,000 business leaders; college educated individuals that are middle class or higher; and general citizens who are nationally representative of their country. "The goal of the Best Countries report is to understand how global perceptions are related to investment, foreign trade and tourism of a nation," said David Reibstein, professor of marketing at the Wharton School.

The Best Countries project includes in-depth news articles, an interactive data explorer, video, photos and commentary from global experts in government, business and academia. It is part of U.S. News’ Government Rankings initiative, which measures government performance at the international, state and local levels and includes the Best States, Healthiest Communities and Cities projects.

To view the full rankings and search country profiles, visit https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries and follow coverage on Facebook and Twitter using #BestCountries.

2020 Best Countries rankings
*See the full rankings here.


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

Most Powerful  

  1. United States  
  2. Russia  
  3. China   

To Start a Business  

  1. Thailand  
  2. Malaysia  
  3. China  

For Quality of Life

  1. Canada  
  2. Denmark  
  3. Sweden  

For Women  

  1. Denmark            
  2. Sweden  
  3. Netherlands

For Education        

  1. United States  
  2. United Kingdom  
  3. Canada  

For Green-Living  

  1. Sweden  
  2. Switzerland
  3. Finland  

About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. A digital news and information company focused on Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars and Civic, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. 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 25 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 VMLY&R, a WPP company. Visit bavgroup.com to learn more.

About the Wharton School
Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 participants in executive education programs annually and a powerful alumni network of 94,000 graduates. For more information, visit http://seicenter.wharton.upenn.edu.


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