Is there a way to measure the greatest country in the world?
I suppose it depends on your definition, but I believe the best country is the one that produces the ultimate combination of happiness, health, and productivity/success.
Fortunately there are studies that rank countries across each of those areas, and the goal of this article is look across the individual rankings to arrive at the overall best of the best.
The World Happiness Report is the ultimate authority on global happiness, ranking 156 countries by their happiness levels. Here are the Top 10 happiest countries in 2018, as determined by the latest study:
- New Zealand
In case you are wondering, the US came in at #18 in the latest Happiness rankings (one spot ahead of the UK).
The Bloomberg Health Index ranks the healthiest countries in the world based on several factors including life expectancy, health risks, availability of clean water, malnutrition, and causes of death.
Here are the Top 10 healthiest countries in the world:
The US ranks as the #34 healthiest country, in large part due to its high levels of overweight and obese residents.
If you prefer to look at just life expectancy as the primary metric for health, here are the countries that come out on top:
- Hong Kong (84.3 years)
- Japan (83.8 years)
- Italy (83.5 years)
- Spain (83.4 years)
- Switzerland (83.2 years)
- Iceland (82.9 years)
- France (82.7 years)
- Singapore (82.6 years)
- Sweden (82.6 years)
- Australia (82.5 years)
The US ranks #37 in life expectancy with an average of 78.7 years.
On the productivity side, the World Competitiveness Ranking measures the world’s most competitive economies.
Here are the top countries from a business perspective in 2018:
- United States
- Hong Kong
The World Economic Forum produces a similar report measuring each country’s competitiveness, productivity, and prosperity.
Here are the Top 10 from the latest report (2017):
- United States
- Hong Kong
If you prefer to look at productivity and success from an innovation standpoint, here are the Top 10 countries, according to the 2018 Bloomberg Innovation Index (which scores countries using seven criteria, including research and development spending and concentration of high-tech public companies):
- South Korea
The US currently ranks #11 on the innovation index.
Any way you slice it, there are only two countries that rank among the Top 10 in each of the three categories (Happiness, Health, Productivity).
In fact, those two countries placed in the Top 10 in each of the six individual reports listed above.
Those two countries are Switzerland and Sweden.
In order to determine the ultimate winner, you need to look at where Switzerland and Sweden placed in each of the six individual rankings. Whichever country totaled the lowest overall score should be crowned the winner, as a result of ranking near the top of every list.
So which country is the best of the best — Switzerland or Sweden?
Here are the totals:
Switzerland: 24 (average rank of #4 on each individual list)
Sweden: 44 (average rank of #7 on each individual list)
So it really isn’t even close.
Switzerland ranked in the top 5 in every individual ranking listed above — the only country in the world to have that distinction.
Switzerland quite simply delivers the ultimate blend of happiness, health, productivity, and success.
Switzerland is the 2018 Greatest Country in the World.
How Does Switzerland Do It?
Switzerland has it all — wealth, beauty, culture, and stability.
One of the world’s wealthiest countries, Switzerland enjoys low unemployment and one of the highest gross domestic products per capita in the world.
The beautiful small country in Central Europe is made up of glacier-sculpted Alps, lakes, and valleys, and has enjoyed relative peace and tranquility since the mid 1800’s.
Well-known for its neutrality, Switzerland also prides itself on culture and diversity — German, French, Italian, and Romansh language all enjoy national status.
Additionally, Swiss citizens have won more Nobel Prizes and registered more patents per capita than most other nations.
And that’s just scratching the surface.
I suggest you add Switzerland to your travel list in order to truly find out what makes it the greatest country in the world.
Andrew Merle writes about living well, including good habits for happiness, health, productivity, and success. Subscribe to his email list at andrewmerle.com.