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Explore the Best 25 Countries

In an assessment of all that shapes a country, from quality of life to economic potential, these countries performed the best overall in the 2018 Best Countries rankings.

The rankings, formed in partnership with global marketing communications company Y&R's brand strategy firm, BAV Group, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, aim to gauge global perceptions of the world's largest economies.


India, the world's largest democracy, ranks No. 25 overall. It took top spots in Movers, a measure of economic potential, and in Heritage.


Portugal, ranked No. 24 overall, is considered to be one of the best countries to travel alone. It also ranks highly as one of the best countries to retire comfortably, at No. 5.

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates, one of the most liberal of the Gulf states, ranks No. 23 overall. It is No. 1 in Movers and No. 10 in Power.

South Korea

South Korea ranks No. 22 overall, one spot better than its rank in 2017. The country is considered the No. 2 most forward-looking country and the No. 12 best country for entrepreneurship.


Ireland ranks No. 21 overall. The Emerald Isle also places No. 11 in Open for Business, a three spot improvement from last year, and No. 15 in Citizenship.


China, one of the world's most populous countries, ranks No. 20 overall. It is considered to be the third most powerful country and the sixth best country in which to start a business.


Spain, ranked No. 19 overall, is also one of the top countries for Adventure. It ranks No. 2 for Heritage and No. 1 for Best Countries to Travel Alone.


Luxembourg ranks No. 18 overall. Despite stricter tax codes that hit the European Union in 2015, the country ranks No. 1 in Open for Business and No. 3 in Best Countries to Headquarter a Corporation.


Austria is the No. 17 Best Country in the world, one spot better than its rank in 2017. The European country is No. 12 in the Best Countries for Women and No. 13 in the Best Countries for Green Living.


Singapore, ranked No. 16 overall, boasts one of the world's highest gross domestic products per capita. Considered one of Asia's four economic tigers, the country ranks No. 3 in Movers and No. 5 in Best Countries to Start a Business.


Italy ranks No. 15 overall, one spot better than its rank in 2017. Known for its many historical cities, world-renown cuisine and geographic beauty, the country takes top spots in Heritage and Cultural Influence.


Finland ranks No. 14 overall. Despite a drop in the overall rankings compared to last year, the country maintains top five spots in the Best Countries for Women, the Best Countries to Raise Kids, Transparency and Green Living.

New Zealand

New Zealand is the No. 13 Best Country overall, faring one spot better than last year. The country's education expenditures as a percent of gross domestic product are among the highest in the world, and it ranks No. 13 in the Best Countries for Education. It is also considered the No. 1 country to retire comfortably.


Norway, which has twice rejected European Union membership, fell two spots to rank No. 12 overall. The country takes the No. 1 spot for citizenship and transparency.


Norway's Nordic neighbor, Denmark, ranks No. 11 overall. It is considered the No. 1 Best Country for Women and Best Country to Raise Kids and No. 3 in Open for Business.


The Netherlands improved one spot this year to rank in the top 10 Best Countries overall. The Dutch were the first to legalize same-sex marriage, and national policies on drugs and abortion are liberal; their country ranks No. 8 in Quality of Life.


France, one of the most visited countries in the world, ranks No. 9 overall. It is No. 2 in Cultural Influence and No. 6 in Power.

United States

The U.S. fell one spot to No. 8 this year. The country with the largest economy in the world is also considered the most powerful. It ranks No. 3 in Entrepreneurship and No. 3 in Cultural Influence, as well.


Australia is the No. 7 Best Country overall. The Land Down Under – No. 5 in Quality of Life and No. 9 in Cultural Influence – also ranks in the top 10 in terms of education, where to travel alone and others.


Sweden, one of the most generous countries in terms of contributing funds to humanitarian aid, ranks No. 6 overall. The country is No. 3 in Quality of Life and No. 5 in Open for Business.


Japan, ranked No. 5 overall, is the top performing Asian country. It ranks No. 5 in Movers and No. 1 as the most forward-looking country.

United Kingdom

The U.K. ranks No. 4 overall. The post-Brexit nation fell one spot compared to the 2017 rankings, but maintained its No. 4 spot in Entrepreneurship and the No. 5 spot in Cultural Influence.


Germany is ranked No. 3 overall, performing best in Entrepreneurship and Power. The country's leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, has one of the highest global approval ratings among prominent global leaders.


Canada, the second largest country in the world in terms of landmass, ranks No. 2 overall. It takes the top spot in Quality of Life and No. 2 in terms of the best countries to headquarter a corporation.



For the second year in a row, Switzerland is considered the No. 1 Best Country. The country, well-known for its history of neutrality, ranks No. 2 in Citizenship and No. 2 in Open for Business.

Learn More About Best Countries

Don't see your country here? See the full list of the 2018 Best Countries and explore how nations did in areas like Power, Citizenship and Adventure.

More Information

A full list of travel advisories can be found here.


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