US slips to fifth in ‘best country’ list

(The Hill) — U.S. News and World Report on Wednesday released its new annual Best Countries rankings, which this year saw Switzerland winning the top ranking and the United States slipping from fourth to fifth place.

Switzerland, which also topped the rankings last year, ranked No. 1 for being “open for business,” and also ranked high for its entrepreneurship, its cultural influence and its overall quality of life.

It was followed in second place by Canada, which moved up a spot; Sweden, which jumped two spots to third place, and Australia, which jumped three spots to fourth place. 

The fall of the U.S. in the rankings is the first time the country has slipped since 2018.

The U.S. was ranked No. 1 for entrepreneurship, power and “agility,” a measurement that considers a country’s ability to adapt to change. It ranked third in cultural influence.

The U.S. was ranked just 33rd for adventure, which measures a country’s ability to let someone “fill their wanderlust.” That’s just below Peru and ahead of Malaysia.

It also ranked just 59th in being “open for business,” which considers a number of factors, including corporate tax rates and business policies. Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden and Norway followed Switzerland in those rankings. The U.S. was just behind Romania and ahead of Oman in this part of the rankings. It had just a 17.2 percent rate for a favorable tax environment in this section.

The ranking is the result of a survey of more than 17,000 people across the globe from March 17 to June 12, according to U.S. News and World Report. 

“Each country was scored on each of the 73 country attributes based on a collection of individual survey responses,” an article on the methodology of the ranking read. “The more a country was perceived to exemplify a certain characteristic in relation to the average, the higher that country’s attribute score, and vice versa. These scores were transformed into a scale that could be compared across the board.”

The U.S. had previously climbed the rankings between 2019 to 2022, from eighth to fourth place, before slipping to fifth in this year’s rankings.

Despite that slippage, Richard Wike, director of global attitudes research at the Pew Research Center, told U.S. News and World Report that the U.S. is still benefitting in surveys such as this one from more favorable opinions worldwide of President Joe Biden than former President Donald Trump.

“Biden is more popular than Trump in nearly all of the countries we survey, and there’s been more support for his policies,” Wike told U.S. News and World Report. “As a result, people are more likely now to say they have a favorable opinion of the U.S. overall.”

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