The 25 Best Countries in the World

Explore the Best 25 Countries

While some countries excel when it comes to power, and others offer adventure, the U.S. News Best Countries rankings is an assessment of everything that shapes a country, from its quality of life to its economic potential.

The rankings, developed in partnership with BAV Group and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, measure global perceptions of the world’s largest economies, gathering perceptions of 78 nations worldwide.

These are the top 25 best countries:

No. 25: India

India ranked No. 25 overall in the U.S. News Best Countries rankings for the second-straight year. It is the world’s second most-populous nation and considered to be one of the best up-and-coming economies, at No. 2 in the movers ranking.

No. 24: Russia

Russia, ranking No. 24, is seen as both the third-most powerful country and the most politically influential country in the world.

No. 23: Ireland

Ireland ranks No. 23 overall, scoring highly for open travel policies and for friendliness, and is one of the happiest countries. It ranks No. 8 in being open for business, as well.

No. 22: United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates, one of the most liberal of the Gulf states, ranks No. 22 overall. It is No. 1 in movers and No. 10 in power.

No. 21: Austria

Austria ranks No. 21 overall, and is considered the No. 10 best country for social purpose and the No. 11 for trustworthiness.

No. 20: Belgium

Belgium ranks No. 20 overall. The Western European country ranks highly among gender equality, racial equity and its commitment to social justice, as well as open travel policies and transparent government practices.

No. 19: Spain

Spain, ranked No. 19 overall, is also considered the No. 1 country for heritage and No. 3 for adventure.

No. 18: Finland

Finland ranks No. 18 overall. The country is No. 8 for quality of life, and ranks highly among climate-related metrics and for its emphasis on social justice and equity.

No. 17: China

China, the world’s most populous country, fell two spots this year to rank No. 17 overall. It is considered to be the second-most powerful country as well as No. 5 in movers.

No. 16: Italy

Italy ranks No. 16 overall, ranking highly for heritage and cultural influence as a country known for its many historical cities, world-renown cuisine and geographic beauty.

No. 15: South Korea

South Korea, ranking No. 15 overall, jumping five positions since 2020, is considered the most dynamic country and ranks No. 5 for entrepreneurship.

No. 14: Singapore

Singapore, ranked No. 14 overall, is considered one of Asia’s four economic tigers that also include Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. The country also ranks No. 4 in movers and No. 5 in agility.

No. 13: Norway

Norway ranks No. 13 overall, dropping three spots since the 2020 rankings. The country takes the No. 4 spot for quality of life and is the No. 1 country for commitment to its climate goals.

No. 12: Denmark

Norway’s Nordic neighbor, Denmark, ranks No. 12 overall. It is considered the No. 2 country for both quality of life and social purpose.

No. 11: France

France ranks No. 11 overall, and is one of the most visited countries in the world. It ranks No. 2 for cultural influence, No. 4 for its heritage, and No. 7 for power.

No. 10: The Netherlands

The Netherlands ranks No. 10 overall. The country boasts the No. 1 ranking in gender equality, No. 3 in racial equity and No. 7 in offering a top quality of life.

No. 9: Sweden

Sweden is the No. 9 Best Country overall, and is No. 3 in its perceived quality of life. The country also ranked highly for social purpose and trustworthiness.

No. 8: United Kingdom

The U.K. ranks No. 8 overall. The nation, after recently departing from the European Union, fell two spots overall since the 2020 rankings, but moved up a spot in its perceived cultural influence.

No. 7: New Zealand

New Zealand is the No. 7 Best Country overall, moving up four spots since last year. It is considered the most scenic country in the world and the happiest, along with ranking No. 3 for social purpose.

No. 6: United States

The U.S. ranked No. 6 overall, moving up one spot from 2020. The country with the largest economy in the world is also considered the most powerful, additionally ranking No. 1 in agility, No. 3 in entrepreneurship and No. 3 in its cultural influence.

No. 5: Australia

Australia is the No. 5 Best Country overall for the second-straight year. The country is No. 2 for its agility and No. 6 for its perceived quality of life, also ranking in the top 10 in areas such as adventure, social purpose, safety and trustworthiness.

No. 4: Switzerland

After four years at the top of the list, Switzerland has fallen three spots to the No. 4 Best Country. Well-known for its history of neutrality, the country ranks No. 5 for quality of life and No. 1 in being open for business.

No. 3: Germany

Germany is ranked No. 3 overall and lands in the top five for its top rankings in entrepreneurship, power and agility. The country’s leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, has one of the highest global approval ratings among prominent global leaders, though her final term is set to end in fall 2021.

No. 2: Japan

Japan jumped one position since 2020, ranking No. 2 overall. The country, made up of four main islands, ranks No. 1 for entrepreneurship, No. 6 among movers and No. 5 for cultural influence.

No. 1: Canada

Canada, the second-largest country in the world in terms of land mass, ranks No. 1 overall for the first time, jumping one position since 2020. It ranks first for both perceived quality of life and social purpose, and scores highly among perceived agility, entrepreneurship, education and economic and political stability.

Top 25 Best Countries

1. Canada2. Japan
3. Germany
4. Switzerland
5. Australia
6. United States
7. New Zealand
8. United Kingdom
9. Sweden
10. Netherlands
11. France
12. Denmark
13. Norway
14. Singapore
15. South Korea
16. Italy
17. China
18. Finland
19. Spain
20. Belgium
21. Austria
22. United Arab Emirates
23. Ireland
24. Russia
25. India

More from U.S. News

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10 Interesting Facts From the 2021 Best Countries Rankings

10 Most Politically Stable Countries, Ranked by Perception

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