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The Best Countries In The World Were Ranked & Canada Scored Big

From sexy scores to candid critiques, here's what the world really thinks of us (and dozens of other countries).

People decked out in Canadian flags.

People decked out in Canadian flags.

In the competitive realm of sports, achieving second place might suggest a near-miss. But, in the global rankings of countries, securing second is a monumental feat. And this year, Canada has reason to celebrate.

The 2023 Best Countries rankings by U.S. News & World Report showcase the world's leading countries based on various attributes and perceptions and Canada has climbed the ladder to achieve the title of the second "Best Country in the World."

The ranking system, developed in collaboration with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and global marketing powerhouse WPP, assessed the global perceptions of 87 countries. Over 17,000 citizens worldwide participated in the colossal endeavor, associating countries with diverse attributes. The in-depth, multifaceted evaluation goes beyond simple GDP or population metrics.

Rankings rundown

To the south, the United States remains a formidable presence, taking the fifth spot. While it slipped a rank from the previous year, its dominance in entrepreneurship, power, and agility remains unchallenged. Meanwhile, Australia leaped three spots to settle at number four.

Sweden, celebrated for its focus on social purpose and quality of life, ascended to the third position, up from its fifth-place ranking last year.

And then there's Canada. Surpassing Germany to take second place, Canada demonstrated its strengths across multiple categories. The nation was noteworthy for its agility, ranking close behind the United States. For a country to be 'agile,' it must "be efficient in its actions, adopt and accept modern solutions, and progress to meet changing circumstances." Such countries are seen as the most adaptable to change.

Proudly second best

Canada also made impressive strides by marking its presence in the top five in other subrankings, including quality of life. Notably, while the nation ranked first in the racial equity attribute, Canada still has significant work to do in that area.

As for the lighter attributes, Canada's rankings reveal a few surprises. The country beams with a radiant score of 94.3 in the 'Friendly' category. And with a score of 61.0 for 'Fun', it's evident that Canadians know how to have a good time. However, the ranking of 64.3 for 'Pleasant Climate' might leave some Canadians chuckling behind their parkas.

On the tourism front, with a score of 19.1, Canada's varied landscapes and rich culture certainly beckon visitors from around the world. But when it comes to the 'Sexy' score, Canada's modest 3.3 might have some Canadians raising an eyebrow — especially given the recent win for Canadian accents. Still, charm comes in various forms, and while the "sexy" factor might be on the low side, Canada more than compensates with its other qualities. Anyway, there's always next year to climb that particular leaderboard.

Alpine excellence

Switzerland remains the unyielding leader of the ranking, clinching the top spot for the sixth consecutive year. Its focus on fostering business environments and ensuring safety stands unparalleled.

The 2023 Best Countries rankings mirror global values, aspirations, and collective dreams. As Switzerland basks in its continued primacy, Canada's elevation is a testament to its evolving global role, commitment to progress, and the dynamic spirit of its people. Cheers, Canada – you might not be the "sexiest," but you've got the world's attention.

Here are the top 25 countries in this year's "Best Countries in the World" ranking:

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