Canada is No. 1 Country in the World – 2021 Best Countries Report
April 20, 2021
Canada is No. 1 country in the world, according to the 2021 Best Countries Report. For the first time, Canada takes the top spot overall in the annual 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.
Canada had placed second or third in previous editions of the report.
This sixth edition of the annual report reveals the importance of social justice as a global ambition, the unexpected societal byproduct of the COVID-19 crisis and the influence of conspiracy theories.
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Canada is No. 1 country in the 2021 report in both the quality of life and social purpose sub rankings, meaning that it is seen as a stable and safe society in which individuals can develop and prosper, and is open, fair and equitable.
Key themes from the 2021 Best Countries Report
For the first time, Canada is No. 1 country overall. 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 is best country 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 Best Countries project includes in-depth news articles, an interactive data explorer, photos and commentary from global experts in government, business and academia. It is part of U.S. News’ Government Rankings initiative, which measures government performance at the international, state and local levels and includes theBest States andHealthiest Communities projects.
The report is based on a survey of more than 17,000 people who gave their perceptions of 78 countries on 76 different metrics. Western European countries tended to rank highest in this latest report but New Zealand and Australia also placed in the top 10 and Japan ranked second.
Canada is No. 1 Country in the World
According to the report, the top 10 countries in the world, overall, are:
The lowest-ranked country was Iraq, followed by El Salvador and Serbia. Perceived corruption was a big factor in pushing down the rankings of many countries at the bottom of the list.