Lifestyle & Culture

USN&WR: Switzerland tops 2017 ‘Best Countries’ list, with 6 of Top 10 in Europe

It’s that time of year again when those tireless researchers at U.S. News and World Report reveal the best country in the world.

Another year, another No. 1 … and this is pretty predictable. This is the first year Switzerland was included in the survey, and it went right to the top based on attributes including education, governance, quality of life and business sophistication.

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 7.09.05 PMFor 2017, Switzerland replaces Germany in the No. 1 position out of 80 countries ranked.

USN&WR researchers pointed out that in a world of turmoil, their ranking methodology favors stability and order.

Which means the United States dropped in the ranking to No. 7 from No. 4 for 2016, largely tied to the election of Donald J. Trump as president. (See the video above.)

That said, Brexit did not have an impact on the United Kingdom’s ranking, with the UK at No. 3 both years. But you can watch the videos and decide for yourself how much the rankings are based on empirical data, and how much on more subjective readings of the countries’ qualities.

Former No. 1 Germany falls to No. 4.

As usual, European countries take the majority of the Top 10 spots.

Which, as we said last year, confirms our belief that Europe will be where the action is for the next 20 years based on educational focus, tech innovation and quality of life.

Here’s the Top 10 for 2017:

1 – Switzerland

2 – Canada

3 – United Kingdom

4 – Germany

5 – Japan

6 – Sweden

7 – United States

8 – Australia

9 – France

10 – Norway

As always, there’s a ton of interesting graphics for the data nerds and lots of sublists, such as the best places to retire and the best places to study overseas.

The most interesting take away is that Switzerland’s economy is based not on giant banks and pharmaceutical companies, but on smaller enterprises … 99 percent of the economy is based on small and medium-sized enterprises, which employ 75 percent of the workforce. Throw in great medical care and education and you have yourself a winner.

We went back and looked at last year’s list, and several European countries fell out of the Top 10 including the Netherlands and Denmark.

Here’s the 2016 list:

1 – Germany

2 – Canada

3 – Great Britain

4 – United States

5 – Sweden

6 – Australia

7 – Japan

8 – France

9 – Netherlands

10 – Denmark

How they scored each country:

The study and model used to score and rank countries were developed by Y&R’s BAV Consulting, according to the USN&WR summary. As with every year, the list is determined using a set of 65 attributes that define a successful nation ranging from entrepreneurship to education to quality of life, according to the USN&WR website. The survey included interviews with 21,773 people from 36 countries … everyone from ordinary folks to business elites.

You can see the rankings in each category here.

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