There are billions of data points behind the Best Countries rankings. Here are 10 interesting findings from a survey of more than 21,000 people from around the world that illustrate perceptions of the state of the world today.
1. The general outlook is pretty grim. Fifty-seven percent of global respondents said that the world has gotten worse in the past year. Only a third agree that the world is safe, and nearly 70 percent of people believe the global economy is in decline, despite governmental reports to the contrary.
2. Where government leaders fall short, however, innovative technology can help. More than 60 percent of those surveyed trust private companies more than the government to take care of their needs, and nearly three-quarters of global respondents said that the internet has made them act more like a global citizen. This sentiment is especially strong in the Middle East and Africa.
3. Switzerland is the No. 1 country for the second year in a row. The country balances the economic costs of capitalism and the value of human rights, scoring its best in both the Open for Business and Citizenship sub-rankings.
4. Addressing human rights issues is important in today’s world, where people expect national leaders to be both innovative and compassionate. Transparency and trustworthiness are 81 percent correlated to being “a leader,” and gender equality is about 75 percent linked to economic stability and happiness.
5. More than 90 percent of the world believes that women should be entitled to the same rights as men. However, more than 70 percent still believe that gender roles are important to a functioning society. Just 62 percent of those surveyed believe women have the same opportunities as men, and this dips below half in many countries.
6. The U.S. fell to No. 8 this year, but is considered the most powerful country for the third year in a row, edging out Russia by less than one point on a 100-point scale. The two superpowers continue to push farther away from competitors in this subranking, scoring nearly 10 points better than No. 3 China and 15 points better than No. 4 Germany and No. 5 U.K.
7. But global citizens don’t necessarily endorse this type of power. Fifty-eight percent of global citizens disapprove of U.S. President Donald Trump, the highest disapproval of the 12 prominent global leaders assessed. Forty-four percent disapprove of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Germany’s Angela Merkel and Canada’s Justin Trudeau receive the highest approval ratings.
8. The U.K. fell one spot to No. 4 this year, though opinions on the post-Brexit country vary among different groups. Business decision leaders favor the country, ranking it No. 2 overall, while those less than 35 years-old put the U.K. at No. 5.
9. The world is less open to immigration than it was last year. Just 54 percent of global respondents said they agree with the statement, “my country should be more open to immigration,” compared to 65 percent last year. Citizens in Sweden were most likely to “disagree strongly.”
10. However, global citizens do not agree that immigration is the most important issue today. More than a third identified terrorism as the No. 1 issue for leaders to solve, followed by income inequality (25 percent) and climate change (16 percent).
The MaCorr Team