Norway’s Economic Performance, Country Brand Strength and Reputation

Norway is a leading economic powerhouse in Northern Europe, largely driven by its substantial oil and gas reserves, which have made it one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Despite its heavy reliance on fossil fuels, Norway has made conscious efforts to diversify its economy by focusing on sectors such as seafood, shipping, renewable energy, and technology.

The country boasts breathtaking fjords, mountains, and coastlines, which attract a large number of visitors to experience the midnight sun and Viking history. Norway’s high standard of living, low unemployment rates, and robust social safety net further emphasize its reputation as a prosperous and attractive destination for investment and business.

Based on these attributes, let’s explore how Norway positions itself on the world stage, drawing insights from data provided by leading rankings and indices.

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • Norway’s soft power and country brand strength
  • Its appeal to skilled labour, investors and visitors
  • The country’s global contribution to peace and well-being
  • How well it fares in terms of happiness and sustainability

Norway’s soft power and country brand strength

How does Norway compare in terms of reputation and brand value globally? 

In the Global Soft Power Index 2024 by Brand Finance, Norway secures the 17th spot, slightly trailing Russia (16th) and South Korea (15th). Norway’s score has grown by +4.20. However, the position has remained the same from last year’s index.

In the U.S. News Best Countries 2023 ranking, Norway secures 11th position behind the Netherlands (10th) and the United Kingdom (9th). Notably, Norway excels in three key areas: Quality of life (2nd), Social Purpose (2nd), and Open for Business (2nd).

The Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brand Index (NBI) calculates its ranking based on averaging the scores of six different factors: exports, governance, tourism, culture, people and immigration, and tourism. According to the NBI 2023 ranking, Norway secured the 12th position, an improvement from 21st position in 2022.

Is Norway a ‘Good’ country?

What is Norway’s contribution to global well-being?

In the Caf World Giving Index 2023, Norway ranked 19th, trailing behind the United Kingdom (17th) and Ireland (17th). Notably, Norway performs admirably in the subfactor of helping a stranger, with 59% of the adult population partaking in such activity and the subfactor of donated money with (61% of adults). Norway improved from 32nd position in the Caf World Giving Index 2022.

In the Good Country Index, Norway currently holds 11th overall position, dropping by one position since 2022. Norway was admirably ranked 1st in Planet & Climate in last year’s ranking, however, the country dropped to 6th place in 2023. Norway also ranks top five in Prosperity & Equality (2nd), World Order (4th), and Health & Wellbeing (5th).

Other subfactors ranked as follows: Science & Technology (40th), Culture (18th), International Peace & Security (86th). Norway experienced a drop in International Peace & Security from 50th place in 2021 to 86th position in 2023, while Prosperity & Equality improved from 50th position in 2022 to 2nd in 2023.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index 2023, Norway ranked in the dark blue (9-10 range) with a 9.81 out of 10. This is similar to other Nordic countries: Sweden (9.39), and Finland (9.29), but notably higher than neighbouring Russia (2.28) or nearby Belarus (1.99).

The 2022 Corruption Perception Index ranks Norway 4th, behind New Zealand (2nd) and Finland (2nd). Norway’s score has dropped by one point since 2021.

The Sustainable Development Report 2023 ranks Norway 7th.

Talent attraction and competitiveness in Norway

How well is Norway performing in attracting and retaining talent?

The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index 2019 edition placed Norway at 17th position among 141 countries. However, it’s important to note that an updated version of this report hasn’t been released in the past five years, and rankings may have shifted since then.

Norway, classified as a high-income country within the Europe regional group, currently holds the 7th overall position and 5th regional position in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023. Notably, Norway ranks high in all pillars, however the best one is the Retain pillar (3rd), while the Attract pillar presents Norway’s biggest challenge, where it ranked 14th.

In terms of education excellence, Norway does not have any university within the top 100 worldwide, according to the World University Rankings 2024. However, the University of Oslo ranked 127th in this ranking.

Norway’s appeal to digital nomads, business, trade and travel 

What is the global perception of Norway as a destination for living, conducting business, and tourism?

The Expat Insider 2023 ranks Norway 52nd at the bottom of the list of countries that is friendly to live and work. Only Kuwait is behind Norway ranked at 53rd. Expats describe Norway as unfriendly and expensive.

The country performs well in Environment and Climate (14th), Safety and Security (6th), Work and Leisure (13th), Salary and Work Security (4th). However, Norway ranks low in Local Friendliness (47th), Finding Friends (50th), Culture and Welcome (48th), or Personal Finance (52nd). This index shows Norway is a safe and high income country, however, expats struggle with settling in Norway when it comes to culture, finding friends, or personal finances.

The Bloom Consulting biannual Country Brand Ranking Trade Edition 2022-2023 assesses investment-related variables, emphasising perceptions of a country’s trade-specific brand and evaluating branding performance. Regionally, Norway ranks 18th, surpassing The Czech Republic (19th) and behind Ukraine (17th). Worldwide, Norway ranks 46th.

In addition, the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking Tourism Edition 2022-2023 places Norway at the 13th position in the Europe Region, climbing one position since last year’s ranking. Norway ranks behind the Russian Federation (18th) and Denmark (17th). Worldwide, Norway ranks in the 23rd place, behind India (22nd) and surpassing New Zealand (24th). Norway amazes visitors with its stunning nature, fascinating culture, and modern design, offering a special mix of old and new to discover and enjoy.

In the IMD 2023 World Competitiveness Ranking, Norway secured the 14th position, dropping by five positions since 2022. Currently, it sits just behind Belgium (13th) and Qatar (12th) while surpassing Canada (15th) and Iceland (16th).

Regarding specific characteristics, Norway ranked 17th in economic performance in 2023, improving from 25th position in 2022. Government efficiency ranked 9th and experienced a slight drop of four positions compared to 2022. Norway also slightly dropped its position for business efficiency from 10th in 2022 to 18th in 2023. Infrastructure in the country ranked 8th, with a slight drop of two positions since 2022.

How peaceful is Norway?

Is Norway a peaceful and safe place to be in?

The Global Peace Index 2023 ranks Norway 24th dropping by six positions since last year’s index. Norway now sits ahead of Estonia (25th) and Slovakia (26th). Norway falls in the high sector of the ‘State of Peace’ spectrum as defined by the Institute for Economics & Peace. Norway is positioned 15th regionally amongst its fellow Europe Region, led by Denmark (2nd), and Iceland (1st).

The Institute for Economics & Peace similarly ranks Norway within the very low impact zone in terms of ‘Impact of Terrorism’ in the 2024 Global Terrorism Index. Norway ranks 53rd, behind Canada (52nd) and ahead of Ukraine (54th) and Spain (55th).

Meanwhile, the World Happiness Report 2023, which displays the Ranking of Happiness based on a three-year-average 2021–2023, ranks Norway 7th, behind the Netherlands (6th) and ahead of Luxembourg (8th). Norway climbed by one position in 2022. Norway also ranked 20th for happiness amongst youth (age below 30) and 3rd for happiness amongst the old (age 60 and above).

Norway’s environmental performance

How does Norway perform in rankings measuring environmental sustainability?

The 2022 edition of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks Norway 20th. The EPI analyses the performance of 180 countries, scoring and ranking these countries on their environmental performance using the most recent year of data available, as well as providing calculable changes in scores over the previous decade. Norway has experienced a change in score of positive 5.80 in the past 10 years.

Last updated in April 2024. More country profiles here.

Enjoyed our summary of global rankings and indices on Norway’s economic performance, its sustainability, attractiveness for talent, its country brand strength and reputation? Thanks for sharing!


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