I have seen many surveys and research reports over the years that rank all the countries of the world on a variety of different scales: the 50 happiest countries, the top-10 most entrepreneurial countries, even the top-25 countries in equality for women.

Surprisingly, the United States never seems to be at the top of these surveys. The U.S. ranked #13 in the happiest countries survey (Denmark was #1), the U.S. ranked #37 in the most entrepreneurial countries survey (Uganda was #1), and the U.S. ranked #20 in the equality for women survey (Iceland was #1).

So, that said, now that the official doctrine of the White House is "America First," it's surprising to me that we actually fell a notch in the latest rankings of "best countries" by U.S. News & World Report released just this week. While the U.S. was ranked the #7 best country in 2017, it fell to #8 in 2018, with Australia rising one notch to take the #7 ranking.

And how did U.S. News & World Report come up with its rankings?

According to the organization's explanation, each country was scored on 65 different attributes, which were grouped into nine subrankings, including: adventure, citizenship, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, heritage, movers, open for business, power, and quality of life.

While some of the scores on individual subrankings make sense to me (the U.S. was ranked #1 for power, and #3 for both cultural influence and entrepreneurship), some do not (just #33 in adventure, and #43 in open for business??)

Here are the top-5 best countries according to U.S. News & World Report:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Canada
  3. Germany
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Japan

Anyway, as Donald Trump prepares to speak at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, we'll see if his speech has the power to help move the needle to a better ranking in 2019.