'World's Best Countries': France ranked below Brexit Britain and Trump's USA

Evie Burrows-Taylor
Evie Burrows-Taylor - [email protected] • 24 Jan, 2019 Updated Thu 24 Jan 2019 11:46 CEST
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A new ranking of the best countries in the world sees France placed behind both Britain and the USA, a position that may surprise many. Here's how the three compare.


The report by US News, which has been publishing the list since 2016, placed France at number 10, with the UK coming 5th and the US ranking 8th. 
The list classes 80 countries according to 65 criteria including nine main sub-rankings such as entrepreneurship, cultural influence, quality of life, and power.
France received an overall high score of 8.7 out of 10, with the ranking recognising the country's influence “extends around the globe through science, politics, economics and perhaps above all, culture.”
However the ranking, which saw France drop from 9th place to 10th this year, also described the challenges the country still has to overcome. 
Why France is more popular than ever with foreign professionals
"France faces various domestic challenges, most notably how it confronts terrorism in the wake of the November 2015 attacks in Paris that claimed 130 lives and a deadly attack on a satirical newspaper earlier that year. 
"Polls had shown public attitudes toward Islam and immigrants worsening and in April 2017 voters chose an outsider candidate, Emmanuel Macron, as their new president. 
"The country also faces slowed economic growth and growing unemployment. Joblessness is especially hitting the country’s youth and young adults and the government has launched an effort to reform the labor market to help tackle high unemployment."
On the UK the report said: "The capital city, London, is a major international financial center and one of the most visited cities in the world. 
"The nation has a long history of major contributions to the arts and sciences. The nation continues to be at the scientific and technological fore. Stephen Hawking has produced groundbreaking work in cosmology and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.
"The United Kingdom is home to some of the top universities in the world, including Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London."
Paris moves up to 19th most 'liveable' city in the world
Photo: AFP
It also had some positive things to say about the US. 
"The United States of America is a North American nation that is the world’s most dominant economic and military power. Likewise, its cultural imprint spans the world, led in large part by its popular culture expressed in music, movies and television.
"The U.S. economy is the world’s largest in terms of gross domestic product, and also the most technologically powerful."
The report did however point to the current political turmoil in the UK and US. 
And no doubt France's positioning behind the UK, which is currently knee-deep in Brexit turmoil and Trump's controversial reign as president of the US, will come as a surprise to many. 
Particularly as France ranked just 16th for overall quality of life behind the UK at 12th and just one place ahead of the US at 17th. 
France's overall score for quality of life was 5.6, receiving just 0.1 for affordability, 2 for income equality and 3.1 for a good job market. On the other hand it was given 8.2 points for its public education system, 8 for its economic stability and 7.4 for its public healthcare.
Meanwhile the UK scored 7.1 for quality of life. 
Like France, it scored just 0.2 for affordability and just 2.6 for income equality. However it scored 9.1 for its public education system, 8.7 for healthcare and 8.6 for economic stability. 
It also left France trailing behind when it came to it job market ranking, which scored 6.7 compared to France's 3.1. 
The US scored slightly less than France, with an overall quality of life score of 5.3. 
However it was the only country out of the three to get a perfect score for any of the sub-categories, with its job market receiving 10 out of 10. 
Economic stability (8.2) and public education system (7) also scored highly. 
Affordability however was also low at 0.5 and income equality was scored a meagre 1.1.
In other surveys France consistently ranks higher than the UK and US for quality of life.  
For example, the 2018 HSBC Expat Explorer report revealed that France is more popular than ever with foreign professionals, with the country jumping an impressive five places on its previous year's score to take 11th place. 
And the reason for the jump was the quality of life available in France and more specifically, family life. 
In the same report, the UK ranked 22nd overall followed by the US at 23rd. 
Other studies have shown France to be better for growing old in than the US and UK, with one survey placing France 4th out of 45 countries for quality of life ahead of the US which came 26th UK which ranked 30th. 
Similarly, another 2018 study looking into the most attractive countries in the world for international students revealed that France outranked the UK and US here too. 
A total of 64 percent of foreign students believed France is a more attractive country to study in than before, which placed it above the US, Germany and the UK mostly because of its "cultural radiance", according to the report.
But while France's ranking may come as a surprise, the countries at the top of the table are unlikely to shock. 
The list crowned Switzerland as the world's best country followed by Japan and Canada in the second and third place, respectively. 
Meanwhile Germany ranked one place ahead of the UK in fourth place, with Italy coming in 18th and Spain ranking 20th. 



Evie Burrows-Taylor 2019/01/24 11:46

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