Canada is Now Ranked 1st as the 2021 Best Countries in the World

For the first time, Canada takes the top spot overall in the 2021 Best Countries Report, a ranking and analysis project by U.S. News & World Report; BAV Group, a unit of global marketing communications company VMLY&R; and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The report is released annually and last year, Switzerland snagged first place while Canada sat in second.

Countries are ranked using a broad range of categories including agility, power, social purpose, women’s experience, forward-looking, racial equality, and the list continues. 

Canada’s Best Qualities

According to a press release, Canada is perceived as having a good job market and caring about human rights and social justice, and is not viewed as corrupt. 

Canada ranked in first place for social purpose, second place for racial equality and sixth place for entrepreneurship. 

Meanwhile, Canada didn’t crack the top ten in categories including adventure, cultural influence, heritage, or power. 

More things that the country received recognition for include comfortable retirement, education, transparency and green living. 

While we didn’t rank at the top for everything, we did walk home with the gold medal at the end of the day. 

Key themes from the 2021 Best Countries Report

  • For the first time, Canada is the No. 1 overall country. Japan and Germany finish Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, while Switzerland, the previous No. 1 overall country, falls to No. 4. Australia remains as the No. 5 overall country followed by the United States, which rises one position to No. 6 overall.
  • Canada ranks No. 1 in quality of life and social purpose. It is also perceived as having a good job market, caring about human rights and is committed to social justice. Additionally, the country finished No. 1 in being viewed as not corrupt and respecting property rights.
  • Social justice is a global ambition. Eighty percent of global citizens feel aligned with social justice, a broad term that refers to movements calling for addressing racial and gender inequities, while 76% also agree that a country is stronger when it is more racially and ethnically diverse. Canada and the Nordic countries are viewed as the most committed to social justice, while the U.S. sits at No. 18. And on the specific topic of racial equality, the U.S. only manages to achieve No. 69, behind both China and Iraq.
  • Women are viewed as effective leaders. Eighty-three percent of global citizens believe there is a leadership crisis in the world today. The majority of respondents view women leaders in a positive light, as 68% agree that countries led by women tend to be better managed.
  • A nation’s perceived agility is the most important driver of strength in 2021. Across the countries measured, agility accounts for per capita GDP variations the most – underscoring that it is essential for any country to be seen as adaptable, progressive and responsive. The new Agility subranking carries the greatest weight among the 10 subrankings. The U.S. leads the world in perceived agility, but is not among the top 10 in adaptability, coming in at No. 13 on this attribute.
  • The influence of conspiracy theories. A majority of respondents (75%) agree that conspiracy theories are a threat to society. However, 39% believe that governments have made up the COVID-19 pandemic to control their citizens.

The 2021 Best Countries rankings methodology gathered from a proprietary survey of more than 17,000 business leaders; college educated individuals that are middle class or higher; and general citizens who are nationally representative of their country. “Countries should care about their image – it is not just a beauty contest. The impressions others have of a country affects its economy through tourism, foreign trade and foreign direct investment,” said David Reibstein, professor of marketing at the Wharton School.

2021 Best Countries Rankings Overall

  1. Canada
  2. Japan
  3. Germany
  4. Switzerland
  5. Australia
  6. United States
  7. New Zealand
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Sweden
  10. The Netherlands

    *View the full ranking  here.

 2021 Most Powerful Countries

  1. United States
  2. China
  3. Russia

2021 Most Agile Countries

  1. United States
  2. Australia
  3. Canada

2021 Best for Social Purpose

  1. Canada
  2. Denmark
  3. New Zealand

2021 Best Countries for Women

  1. Sweden
  2. DEnmark
  3. Norway

2021 Most Forward-Looking Countries

  1. South Korea
  2. Singapore
  3. United States

2021 Best Countries for Racial Equality

  1. The Netherlands
  2. Canada
  3. New Zealand