Denmark takes disappointing 13th in 'best country' survey

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Denmark takes disappointing 13th in 'best country' survey
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

It’s normally a challenger for the very top spot when worldwide happiness indexes are announced, but Denmark has found itself off the pace in the latest instalment of a ‘world’s best country’ survey.


Denmark was listed at number 13 in the annual Best Countries rankings which looks at people's perceptions of 80 countries around the world, falling two spots from its position a year ago.

The Scandinavian country was 12th in the 2017 version of the list and a relatively high 10th in 2016.

The rankings are a joint project by digital news service US News & World Report, marketing company Y&R and the Wharton School, a business school at the University of Pennsylvania.

The 2019 rankings were based on a survey of just over 20,000 people comprising business leaders, ‘informed elites' and the general public in 36 countries.

According to the makers of the survey, the Best Countries project is designed to help citizens, business leaders and policymakers better understand how their nations are perceived on a world scale.

Switzerland was named as the world’s best country in the 2019 edition, while Japan came in second place, with Canada third.

The rest of the top ten in the 2019 rankings consisted of Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, the United States, Norway and France – meaning Denmark was lowest-ranked of the Scandinavian countries.

Denmark scored well on metrics related to ease of doing business and entrepreneurship, and for being progressive on issues such as human rights, the environment, gender equality and religious freedom.

A particularly high score of 9.5 was notched on quality of life, where Denmark was the third-highest ranked country. This includes two sub-categories – political stability and income equality – where a maximum score of 10 was achieved, although previous analysis has shown that full wage equality is yet to be achieved.

Under Cultural Influence, where Denmark was ranked 17th overall, a rating of 9.1 was given for the subcategory ‘Happy’.

Less impressive was the country’s showing in the ‘Adventure’ category, with the 23rd-highest overall ranking. That included a rating of just 0.8 for a subcategory entitled ‘Sexy’ and 2.5 for ‘Fun’ – results which might make Danes, who are not generally considered to be an unattractive bunch and are certainly capable of letting their hair down – feel rather hard done-by.

More disappointing – and perhaps surprising -- was an average score of 2.1 and 43rd place in the ‘Heritage’ section, where the homeland of the Vikings, Hans Christian Andersen, Kronborg Castle, Amalienborg Palace and Queen Margrethe II scored 1.1 for the richness of its history.

A paltry 0.5 was the rating for ‘Has great food’, despite the presence of 15 Michelin restaurants in Copenhagen alone, including the world-famous Noma.

Residents won’t be surprised, however, to learn the country scored 0.2 out of 10 for ‘affordability’.

What do you think of the rankings and conclusions reached in this report? Let us know via email and we might include your opinions in a new article.

READ ALSO: Getting sadder? Denmark slips to third in new World Happiness Report


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