Behind a country’s wealth and
success are the policies that create possibilities, the people that drive the
effort and the history that shapes the environment and perspective.
The 2016 U.S. News & World
Report Best Countries ranking rates countries in terms of a number of
qualitative characteristics that have the potential to drive trade, travel and
investment and directly affect national economies.
Sixty nations were measured in the
inaugural report according to factors that run the gamut, from human rights
concerns, culture and entrepreneurship, to “pleasant climate.” The top five
nations and the findings:
- Germany. The nation’s social market economy makes for open-market
capitalism that also carries certain social service guarantees. Its economy is
one of the world’s largest, and Germany is one of the globe’s leading importers
and exporters. Services including industries such as telecommunications, health
care and tourism are top contributors to the country’s economy. Industry and
agriculture are other significant economic sectors.
- Canada. The nation’s high-tech industrial society makes for a high
standard of living. Trade agreements in the 1980s and 1990s dramatically
bolstered trade with the U.S., and now the two counties are each other's
largest trading partner. While the service sector is Canada’s biggest economic
driver, the country is a significant exporter of energy, food and minerals. The
nation ranks third in the world in proven oil reserves and is the world’s
fifth-largest oil producer.
- U.K. London is a major international financial center and one of
the most visited cities in the world. The banking and tourism industries are
parts of a larger service sector that powers much of the nation’s economic
growth. The industrial revolution began in the U.K., and manufacturing—led by
the automobile and aerospace industries—is a declining though still significant
part of the country’s economy.
- U.S. The economy is the world’s largest in terms of gross domestic
product and the most technologically powerful. The country’s most significant
exports are computers and electrical machinery, vehicles, chemical products,
food, live animals and military equipment. The U.S. also has the world’s
largest coal reserves and one of the most globally influential environments for
arts and culture.
- Sweden. Heavily capitalistic economy, with a large
percentage of spending on public service. Once well above the global average,
tax rates have dipped, and the country features an advanced infrastructure and
transportation network that helps with equal wealth distribution. Health care
and college education are free, and its people boast one of the longest life
expectancies in the world. Swedes donate about 1% of gross national product to
humanitarian aid programs each year.