What a difference a year makes.
Last year, Germany was crowned the world’s “best country” in a debut report by U.S. News & World Report, BAV Consulting, and the Wharton Business School. Respondents praised Germany for its “focus on key global issues, such as the migrant crisis and Eurozone unity.”
This year, anxiety over integrating the influx of refugees, a number of high-profile terror attacks, and growing European disunity made the perceived quality of life in Germany less attractive. As a result, the country dropped four places in the rankings. As an added insult, neighboring Switzerland took the top spot.
The ranking is based on a global survey of more than 21,000 people. It treats countries like brands, asking people about their perceptions of countries in 65 areas, ranging from family friendliness to how easy it is to start a business. Each attribute was scored, grouped into sub-categories, and added up for the overall ranking.
Switzerland took the top spot because of its “progressive social systems, protection of human rights and business-friendly environment,” according to the report.
Canada and the UK were ranked in second and third place, respectively, the same as the year before.
The US dropped from fourth to seventh place in the overall ranking, with survey respondents citing the toxic presidential campaign as a reason for losing some respect for the country. (The survey was conducted starting shortly after November’s election.) For what it’s worth, if they were given a vote in the US election, survey respondents overwhelmingly preferred Hillary Clinton (59%). Just 27% would have voted for Donald Trump overall, but he was the favorite in Russia (83%) and China (54%).