Sweden goodest country globally then Denmark and Netherlands the UK fourth

Sweden is the ‘goodest’ country to live in – it came top in the Good Country Index – followed by Denmark and the Netherlands, while the UK came fourth. The Index ranks nations according to what they contribute to the common good of humanity, minus what they take away, relative to each country’s size.

In other words, the Index ranks your country according to whether it is humankind’s creditor, debtor or somewhere in between.

The United States at 21st place did not make it to the first twenty – it is behind virtually every country in Western Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Good Country Index Goodest countriesThe top six countries are all in Northern Europe. Only six of the top 25 nations are not European. (Image: Data taken from Good Country Index website)

Countries are ranked according to their global contribution in: Science & Technology, Culture, International Peace & Security, Health & Wellbeing, Prosperity & Equality, Planet & Climate, and World Order.

Why was the Good Country Index set up?

The Good Country was started by Simon Anholt, an independent British policy advisor who has worked with over fifty countries to help develop and implement several strategies to improve economic, political and cultural engagement with other nations.



Anholt started The Good Country to change how our leaders and lawmakers run our nations. His aim is to:

“To help them [leaders of nations] understand they’re not just responsible for their own citizens, but for every man, woman, child and animal on the planet.”

“To tell them they’re not just responsible for their own little slice of territory, but for the whole of the earth’s surface and the atmosphere above it. And to help them act like they mean it.”

Ranking according to categorySweden is the only country that scored first place in two categories. Remember, this index does not rank countries according to how powerful they are or whether they are leaders in a field. It ranks them according to how much they have contributed to the greater good of humanity, minus how much they have taken. (Image: Data taken from Good Country Index website)

According to the website, it is not making moral judgements about nations. What it means by a ‘Good Country’ is something very simple: “A country that contributes to the greater good of humanity.”

In an interview with The Local, Sweden’s English newspaper, Anholt said:

“Sweden must be bored of coming top in every bloody country index but that’s the fact of the matter. Sweden is in a bit of an elite when it comes to thinking about the rest of the world. The European model is one that trained countries to be much more outward looking, and Sweden is that more than the others.”



“Ranking number one in two categories is pretty amazing. Health and Wellbeing covers things like contributions to resolving pandemics and sending doctors to international health disasters. Prosperity and Equality is mainly about trade: how much beneficial trade Sweden indulges in with other countries, and how easy it makes international transactions.”

UK ranked well, USA not even in top 20

The United Kingdom – ranked fourth – came first globally in Science & Technology, second in Health & Wellbeing, and fifth in Prosperity & Equality. In International Peace & Security Britan came 64th.

The United States – in 21st place – had its best ranking in Health & Wellbeing (12th.), then Science & Technology (20th), World Order (26th), Planet & Climate (34th), Prosperity & Equality (46th), Culture (53rd), and International Peace & Security (66th).

The Russian Federation came way down in 72nd place – it scored particularly badly (143rd) in Prosperity & Equality.

Guardian criticises Good Country IndexNot everybody believes the Good Country Index is relevant. The Guardian Newspaper said it was ‘intellectually vacuous’. (Image: twitter.com/AshHibbert)

The winners according to category:

Science & Technology: UK.

Culture: Luxembourg.

International Peace & Security: South Africa.

Planet & Climate: Iceland.

Prosperity & Equality: Sweden.

Health & Wellbeing: Sweden.

World Order: Austria.

Libya, in 163rd place, came bottom, followed by Equatorial New Guinea (162nd) and Mauritania (161st).

Video – The Quality of Life Index

In a separate study, the OECD created the Quality of Life Index. The OECD invited citizens to compare quality of life across nations in eleven well-being dimensions to create their own index based on what matters to them most.

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