This Index Ranks Countries Based On How Good They Are. How'd Your Country Fare?

Spoiler alert: the United States is nowhere near the top.

The "Good Country Index" ranks every country based on the good they do for humanity.

This year, the Netherlands topped the list, which was made using data from the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Health Organization. The United States came in ranked 25th of 160 counties, down five spots from its 2016 ranking.


Rankings for the Good Country Index are made up of seven "contribution" categories: Science and Technology, Culture, International Peace and Security, World Order, Planet and Climate, Prosperity and Equality, and Health and Wellbeing. 

The top ten is listed as follows: 

1. The Netherlands

2. Switzerland

3. Denmark

4. Finland

5. Germany

6. Sweden

7. Ireland

8. United Kingdom

9. Austria

10. Norway

The list was put together by Simon Anholt, who has worked for 25 years drafting policy for different governments across the globe. In an interview with HuffPost, he said his aim was to take the focus away from GDP and army size and illuminate the issues that matter to everyone.

"In the age of advanced globalization ... we're all part of a massively interconnected system," Anholt told HuffPost. "And what goes on in one country invariably has an impact on people in other countries. It's a closed system, it's a zero-sum game. ... I just thought: Who's measuring that? Who's measuring the interconnections?"

Finishing in the top 10 behind the Netherlands were Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, United Kingdom, Austria and Norway, in that order. Anholt noted that the data comes from 2014 for the most recent ranking, so the United States' decline began during the Obama administration.

By using the index, Anholt hopes citizens across the globe will start to think of cooperation instead of competition. For instance, instead of calculating military spending as a positive, the number of arms a country exports or the attributed number of conflict deaths to a country gives them a negative score in the International Peace and Security section.

"Most of our problems are rapidly and dangerously multiplying because of globalization," Anholt told HuffPost. "We need our governments to understand that they're not just responsible for their own voters and taxpayers, but for every living thing on the planet."

Cover photo: Shutterstock / Olena Z


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