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Australia, New Zealand rate high in world’s ‘best countries’

Australia sits in fourth place on the US News & World Report’s Best Countries list.

Australia sits in fourth place on the US News & World Report’s Best Countries list. Photo: Getty

Australia and New Zealand have both moved up in the list of best countries, as judged by an American media company.

Every year, US News & World Report ranks countries to “help citizens, business leaders and policymakers better understand how their nations and others are perceived on a global scale”.

This year, Australia and New Zealand have moved up three places, meaning the Oceania neighbours are both in the top 10.

In an article celebrating Australia and New Zealand’s improved rankings, US News said it was likely due to the two nations’ “welcoming natures” that boosted their reputations on a global scale.

Analysts also believed recent political leaders in both countries may have improved perceptions, likely referring to Anthony Albanese and former NZ PM Jacinda Ardern.

The ranking survey was administered from March to June this year.

The report noted that the shared hosting of the FIFA Women’s World Cup helped them both receive plenty of international attention.

In 2023’s rankings of the best countries, Australia sits at No. 4, while New Zealand slots in at No. 8.

In 2022, Australia was still in the top 10 at No. 7, while New Zealand only just missed out of the top 10 and was ranked at No. 11.

Top 10 best countries of 2023:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Canada
  3. Sweden
  4. Australia
  5. US
  6. Japan
  7. Germany
  8. New Zealand
  9. UK
  10. Netherlands

Australia ranks high in ‘agility’ and ‘quality of life’

Australia was given an overall score of 97.6, the only country to score a perfect 100 was Switzerland.

There were 10 categories that contributed to Australia’s score, with the country excelling in ‘agility’, ‘quality of life’ and ‘social purpose’.

Australia’s category rankings:

  • Adventure: 76.6/100 (ranked 8th in the world)
  • Agility:  92.1/100 (ranked 3rd in the world)
  • Cultural Influence: 60.1/100 (ranked 12th in the world)
  • Entrepreneurship: 69.6/100 (ranked 15th in the world)
  • Heritage: 54.3/100 (ranked 19th in the world)
  • Movers: 32.2/100 (ranked 26th in the world)
  • Open for Business: 75.8/100 (ranked 13th in the world)
  • Power: 32.2/100 (ranked 17th in the world)
  • Quality of Life: 86.8 (ranked 8th in the world)
  • Social Purpose: 83.1 (ranked 9th in the world)

What is so good about Switzerland?

Switzerland retained the top spot for the second year in a row and landed in the Top 25 for each of the 10 sub-rankings.

“This includes notable performances in three of the heaviest-weighted sub-rankings: Entrepreneurship (No. 6), quality of life (No. 6) and social purpose (No. 8). Switzerland also rated highly for cultural influence (No. 8), and topped the list at No. 1 in the open for business sub-ranking,” US News said.

Switzerland got the top ranking.

Additionally, Switzerland has a strong skilled labour force, low unemployment and one of the highest gross domestic products per capita.

“People love our country without always knowing why,” Jacques Pitteloud, Switzerland’s ambassador to the US and a veteran diplomat told US News.

“What people love about us is our reliability and our predictability.”

The best countries ranking is based on a global survey with 17,000 people taking part.

Not all of the world’s countries are ranked – benchmark criteria has to be met to be considered – so Cyprus, Honduras and Zimbabwe were included for the first time.

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