Sweden ranked third best country in the world according to new study

The images of countries are normally robust phenomena. Sweden is a country that the outside world for a long time has associated with trustworthiness, equality, sustainability, and modernity. This image is confirmed by the new study, “Best countries” from US News, where Sweden is ranked number three out of 87 countries, which is an improvement with two placements from the year before. The study is based on questions asked to over 17 000 persons from 36 countries during the period 17th of March till the 12th of June.

The image of Sweden is characterised by high life quality and social purpose

Sweden tops two out of ten categories: quality of life and social purpose. Furthermore, Sweden is ranked the best country to be a woman and raise children in, and for a sustainable lifestyle. Given the increased national security threat, explosions and the extensive gang crime in Sweden lately, it may come as a surprise that, according to this survey, the rest of the world also considers Sweden to be the world’s second safest country.

The positive associations with Sweden, as a country with a transparent business climate, low rate of corruption, high quality of life, a well-educated population and a robust economy, indicate that Sweden´s trademark has a high competitiveness. This is reflected in the survey with Sweden considered the third best country to establish a company´s headcounters, the seventh best country to start a career in and the ninth best country to invest in. Sweden also ranks ninth in the category entrepreneurship.

The ranking is based on 73 different attributes or characteristics. If one considers that a country has a specific characteristic to a greater extent than the average for other countries, it gets a higher score. Conversely it scores a lower point if it doesn´t fulfil that characteristic to the same extent. When all countries have been graded, the scores are calibrated to a standardized scale (0–100) for comparability.

Sweden is also expensive, not known for its gastronomy, and has a limited global influence

The survey also reveals some negative associations to Sweden. The respondents consider Sweden to be expensive and that Swedish products have high manufacturing costs. Neither do they rate Swedish cultural heritage nor the Swedish cuisine particularly high. The respondents also considered that Sweden has a limited international impact.

The perception that Sweden is expensive is not new but has rather characterised the image of Sweden for many years. The low familiarity with Swedish gastronomy has also been noted in previous surveys made by SI. US News also states that the most influential countries often tend to be the largest economies, in terms of gross domestic product.

Sweden compares well with similar countries

Altogether, “Best countries” shows that Sweden compares well with similar countries. Switzerland once again tops the list. In international studies that measures perceptions of countries, Switzerland is often ranked higher than Sweden. In this type of study, Sweden is usually ranked higher than the neighbouring Nordic countries. This is the case once again, with Norway ranked 11th, Denmark 13th and Finland 14th. The fact that all the Nordic countries are ranked high on the list of the world’s best countries shows that there is a positive image of the Nordic region as a whole.