USA: How does one of the world’s most influential countries perform in global rankings that measure talent attraction potential, public diplomacy and soft power strength, environmental sustainability and economic development?

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • The United States’ soft power and brand strength
  • Its appeal to skilled labor, investors and visitors
  • The country’s global contribution to peace and wellbeing
  • How well it fares in terms of happiness and sustainability

USA’s soft power and brand strength

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

In the Global Soft Power Index 2023 by Brand Finance, the US secured the 1st spot. 

The USA’s overall score is up 4.1 points to an all-time high of 74.8. The strengthening of the dollar and large-scale investment projects by the federal government are boosting the country’s perceptions earning it the top spot for Business & Trade from China. The USA also ranks 1st in the Education & Science pillar, Investment towards Business & Trade, International Relations through development aid, as well as for  Familiarity and Influence. 

In the U.S. News Best Countries 2023 ranking, the US  secured the 5th position, behind Sweden (3rd) and Australia (5th). Notably, the US excels in three key areas: agility (1st). power (1st) and entrepreneurship (1st). The US dropped one position from 2022, with its  lowest scores in open for business and adventure

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  the US secures the 6th position, jumping two positions from the 2022 ranking.

United States as magnet for international talent

How well does the US perform in talent competitiveness and retention? 

The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index 2019 edition placed the US at the 2nd position among 141 countries. However, it’s important to note that an updated version of this report hasn’t been released in the past 5 years, and rankings may have shifted since then.

The US, classified as a high income country within the North American regional group, currently holds the 3rd position in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023. The US leads the Grow and VT Skills pillars (1st) and its main challenge is the Attract factor (22nd). 

In terms of education excellence, the US boasts thirty-six universities within the top 100 worldwide, according to the World University Rankings 2024.

Appeal to digital nomads, business, trade and travel 

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

The Expat Insider 2023 ranks the US in 30th position out of 53 countries, below Saudi Arabia (28th) and Estonia (29th). The US ranks highest in the Career Prospects metric (1st), Work Culture and Satisfaction (7th), and Leisure Options (9th).

As per the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2023, the US ranks 1st in terms of FDI inflows, maintaining its positioning since 2021, despite a decrease of $103b compared to last year. In terms of FDI outflows, the US also ranks 1st, although FDI levels have decreased by $23b this year.

The Bloom Consulting biannual Country Brand Ranking Trade Edition 2022-2023 assesses investment-related variables, emphasizing perceptions of a country’s trade-specific brand and evaluating branding performance. Regionally, the US placed 1st, maintaining its positioning from the seven previous reports. However, globally the US ranks 2nd behind the UK who took the lead this year, this is presumably due to a decrease in the CBS Rating © and D2 – Digital Demand ©.

In addition, the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking Tourism Edition 2022-2023 places the US at the 3rd global position, sitting below Spain (1st) and Italy (2nd). This demonstrates a drop of two positions from the previous ranking, this is due to the reduced amounts of tourism receipts. Regionally, the US continues to hold the 1st position.

In the IMD 2023 World Competitiveness Ranking, the US secured the 9th position, showing a slight positive shift from its 10th ranking in 2022 and 2021. Currently, it sits behind Hong Kong (7th) and Sweden (8th) while surpassing  the UAE (10th) and Finland (11th).

In terms of specific characteristics, The US’ economic performance increased by one position to the 2nd spot in 2023. It holds the 25th position for government efficiency, experiencing a jump of two positions compared to 2022. Lastly, the US dropped two positions to the 14th position for business efficiency, and jumped one position to the 6th spot for infrastructure.

United States a “Good Country”?

What is the US’ contribution to global well-being?

In the Caf World Giving Index 2023, the US secured the 5th position, dropping two positions from last year’s index. It performs very well in the Helping a Stranger factor with 76% of its adult population and Donating Money with 61%.

In the Good Country Index, the US currently holds the 46th position overall, with notable subfactors as follows: Science & Technology (59th), Culture (57th), International Peace & Security (127th), World Order (33rd), Planet & Climate (81st), Prosperity & Equality (60th), and Health & Wellbeing (10th). It’s worth mentioning that in 2022, the US was ranked 38th, and in 2021 it held the 40th position.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index 2023, the US ranked in the blue zone (7-8 range) with a 7.85  out of 10. This is higher than Italy and South Africa who scored 7.69 and 7.05  but lower than France and Germany who scored 8.07 and 8.8.

The 2022 Corruption Perception Index, ranks the US 24th with a score of 69/100, sitting in between the Seychelles (23rd) and Bhutan (25th). The US’ score has increased by two positions from 2021.

The Sustainable Development Report 2023 ranks the US in 39th position, it highlights that the country is facing some major and significant challenges. Unfortunately, it has a long way to go before reaching SDG status in any goal as currently none are on track.

United States and environmental sustainability

How well do the US perform in environmental sustainability?

The 2022 edition of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks the US 43rd, below Dominica (42nd) and above Namibia (44th). The EPI analyzes 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. The US has experienced a change in score of positive 3.3.

Peace and happiness in the Unites States

Is the US a happy and safe place to invest time and money in?

The Global Peace Index 2023 ranks the US 131st, maintaining its position. The US sits behind Haiti (129th) and South Africa (130th). The US falls under the low sector of the ‘State of Peace’ spectrum as defined by the Institute for Economics & Peace. The US positioned 2nd in the North American region, which only encompasses Canada and the United States according to this Index.

The Institute for Economics & Peace similarly ranks the US within the high impact (dark  orange) zone in terms of ‘Impact of Terrorism’ in the 2022 Global Terrorism Index. The US ranks 30th, sitting between Sri Lanka (29th) and Greece (31st). 

Meanwhile, the World Happiness Report 2023 which displays the Ranking of Happiness based on a three-year-average 2020–2022 ranks the US 15th.

Last updated in October 2023. More country profiles here.

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