U.S. News, Y&R's BAV Consulting & Wharton School unveil Best Countries Rankings

7 Mar 2017

New edition includes 20 new countries; Switzerland debuts at No. 1 on overall list

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Switzerland debuted as the best country in the world, according to the 2017 Best Countries report, a joint rankings and analysis project from U.S. News & World Report, Y&R’s BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Now in its second year, the rankings evaluate 80 countries – up from 60 last year – across a range of criteria, from power and economic influence to citizenship and quality of life, to capture how nations are perceived on a global scale.

Key findings from the 2017 Best Countries Report:

Worldwide civil and political unrest in 2016 had varying effects on the Best Overall Countries.Canada remained No. 2 on the list. The U.K. held fast to its third-place position, suggesting that the initial shock of its vote to leave the European Union may have stabilized. Germany, lastyear’s No. 1 best overall country, slipped to No. 4 after dips in three important categories: open for business, citizenship and quality of life. The nation was rocked by a range of events – from growing public anxiety over an influx of refugees to a string of deadly terror attacks.
“We wanted to capture how tumultuous political change affect a country’s perceived standing in the world,” said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News. “Similar to what we have done with hospitals, universities and other institutions, the Best Countries portal pairs fact-based metrics with storytelling to help citizens, business leaders and governments better evaluate their countries and make sense of a range of important global issues.”

The 2017 Best Countries ranking methodology relies on data gathered from a proprietary perception survey – conducted after the U.S. presidential election – of more than 21,000 business leaders, informed elites and general citizens.

“The Best Countries project allows us to chart how global perceptions of a country affect its prosperity,” said David Reibstein, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School. “We’ve learned that a focus on education and citizenship – including human rights, gender equality, religious freedom and more – can drive prosperity more than traditional forms of power, like military prowess.”

John Gerzema, chairman and CEO of Y&R’s BAV Consulting, added: “Our data captured widespread global concern for the social and geopolitical changes that cast many nations into uncertainty and turmoil. The new rankings reflect people’s desire to restore some sense of order by rewarding nations they perceive as championing neutrality, stability and diplomacy.”

The Best Countries rankings are the centerpiece of the growing U.S. News Best Countries portal, a platform combining in-depth editorial content, interactive data visualization tools, video, photos and op-eds from global experts in government, business and academia. The new platform is part of the expanding News channel at U.S. News, which includes the new Best States project, unveiled in February.

2017 Best Countries Rankings *See the full rankings here

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

To Start a Business
1. Thailand
2. China
3. Malaysia

To Headquarter a Corporation
1. Switzerland
2. Canada
3. Australia

Most Powerful
1. United States
2. Russia
3. China

For Women
1. Sweden
2. Denmark
3. Norway

For Education
1. Canada
2. United Kingdom
3. Germany

For Comfortable Retirement
1. New Zealand
2. Australia
3. Switzerland

Follow the Best Countries coverage on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn using #BestCountries.

Media Contact: Enxhi Myslymi, [email protected], (U.S.) +1 (202)-955-2189.

About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is a global digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Personal Finance, Travel, Cars and News & Opinion, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings, news and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 30 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

About Y&R’s BAV Consulting

Y&R, part of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), is one of the leading and most iconic global marketing communications companies. Operating as a Global Boutique, Y&R connects deep insights from businesses and consumers with strategies and objectives that reach across borders. With 189 offices in 93 countries, clients include Campbell’s Soup Company, Danone, Dell and Xerox. Y&R’s BAV Consulting is a global advisory practice specializing in corporate, brand and marketing strategies and customer insights using the BrandAsset® Valuator. The leading quantitative study of brand and consumers and largest database of brand perceptions, BAV contains ratings on over 56,000 brands on 75 consistent metrics that span 23 years, 51 countries and more than 1.2 million respondents. For more information, visit www.yr.com and bavconsulting.com.

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 seicenter.wharton.upenn.edu.