Overall Ranking

Article excerpt

People practically anywhere in the world will find something to love--and something to hate--about NEWSWEEK's first-ever list of the world's Best Countries. In any case, we hope it will be at least a starting point to examine a number of important trends, and we've broken down the data into sublists to help make some of those trends clearer. One thing worth noting: the lists show that Americans aren't as bad off as they sometimes think. They also show (perhaps above all) that statistics sometimes tell half-truths. Some truths you already knew: the best countries tend to be small, rich, safe, and cold (check out the Nordics in the top 10). But the lists also show that it's a big world, and there are plenty of different ways to look at it. We hope you enjoy doing so as much as we did.

1. FINLAND

2. SWITZERLAND

3. SWEDEN

4. AUSTRALIA

5. LUXEMBOURG

6. NORWAY

7. CANADA

8. NETHERLANDS

9. JAPAN

10. DENMARK

11. UNITED STATES

12. GERMANY

13. NEW ZEALAND

14. UNITED KINGDOM

15. SOUTH KOREA

16. FRANCE

17. IRELAND

18. AUSTRIA

19. BELGIUM

20. SINGAPORE

21. SPAIN

22. ISRAEL

23. ITALY

24. SLOVENIA

25. CZECH REPUBLIC

26. GREECE

27. PORTUGAL

28. CROATIA

29. POLAND

30. CHILE

31. SLOVAKIA

32. ESTONIA

33. HUNGARY

34. LITHUANIA

35. COSTA RICA

36. LATVIA

37. MALAYSIA

38. BULGARIA

39. ROMANIA

40. KUWAIT

41. PANAMA

42. PERU

43. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

44. URUGUAY

45. MEXICO

46. ARGENTINA

47. JAMAICA

48. BRAZIL

49. UKRAINE

50. CUBA

51. RUSSIA

52. TURKEY

53. JORDAN

54. QATAR

55. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

56. BELARUS

57. ALBANIA

58. THAILAND

59. CHINA

60. OMAN

61. KAZAKHSTAN

62. COLOMBIA

63. PHILIPPINES

64. SAUDI ARABIA

65. TUNISIA

66. SRI LANKA

67. MOROCCO

68. PARAGUAY

69. AZERBAIJAN

70. ECUADOR

71. VENEZUELA

72. EL SALVADOR

73. INDONESIA

74. EGYPT

75. NICARAGUA

76. HONDURAS

77. BOLIVIA

78. INDIA

79. IRAN

80. BOTSWANA

81. VIETNAM

82. SOUTH AFRICA

83. SYRIA

84. GUATEMALA

85. ALGERIA

86. GHANA

87. KENYA

88. BANGLADESH

89. PAKISTAN

90. MADAGASCAR

91. SENEGAL

92. YEMEN

93. TANZANIA

94. ETHIOPIA

95. MOZAMBIQUE

96. UGANDA

97. ZAMBIA

98. CAMEROON

99. NIGERIA

100. BURKINA FASO

QUALITY OF LIFE

Among populous nations

1. GERMANY

2. UNITED STATES

3. FRANCE

4. JAPAN

5. UNITED KINGDOM

6. ITALY

7. RUSSIA

8. MEXICO

9. THAILAND

10. TURKEY

Quality of life is one of those "soft" metrics that are practically impossible to nail. Everyone has a different idea of what it is (poor nations may favor poverty reduction over less pollution, for example). We included things like health, security, and a chance to make a decent living. One big surprise: America beat France, the bastion of joie de vivre. But skeptics, please note: the deciding factor was wealth, not vacation time.

ECONOMIC DYNAMISM

Among populous nations

1. UNITED STATES

2. UNITED KINGDOM

3. JAPAN

4. CHINA

5. GERMANY

6. FRANCE

7. …