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Austria placed well below neighbour Switzerland in 'best country' rankings

The Local Austria
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Austria placed well below neighbour Switzerland in 'best country' rankings
A restaurant owner in Carinthia has controversially refused service to foreigners. Photo: Creative Commons/Mikekilo74

For the sixth time, Switzerland has won the coveted title of the 'world’s best country' in an international ranking. Austria was ranked some distance below. But there were some bright spots.

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Austria was ranked 22nd in an 88 country ranking by the US News & World Report for 2023 well behind its neighbour Switzerland, which once again topped the chart

Austria's position was the same as last year's, according to the measure of the country’s global performance in 73 categories. They include entrepreneurship; quality of life; adaptability and progress; social purpose; as well as other attributes. 

The results noted that Austria is a country with one of the world's highest standards of living, although recent legislative elections bringing the far-right into some corridors of power throws its commitment to an open society into question.

Where is Austria doing well?

Austria's performance in the report is a real mixed bag, with its low scores in some areas masking its stronger performance in others.

Austria comes in 11th place in the 'social purpose' category and 12th in 'quality of life'.

In social purpose, Austria is rated as a country that cares about human rights, the environment, gender equality, and respecting property rights. 

On quality of life, it is considered a safe, family-friendly country with high levels of political and economic stability, complete with a good job market. It's overall quality of life score suffered though from a lack of perceived and measured affordability, with the report noting how expensive the country can be.

Austria also scores respectably in the 'adventure', 'entrepreneurship', 'heritage', and 'open for business' categories - finishing in the high teens for all of these.

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Where can Austria improve?

Austria scores well below its 22nd place in the national 'power' ranking. Parts of this are probably unavoidable - given the country's small size and neutrality. However, it is not considered an overly 'agile' or 'adaptable' society that can quickly embrace change.

I also ranks in 28th place - perhaps below what some might expect given Austrian history - in 'cultural influence', which measures the country's brand in culture, entertainment, and business brand influence - along with overall societal happiness.

READ ALSO: Austria ranked as one of the 'unfriendliest countries in the world'

Why did Switzerland top the ranking?

Austria's neighbour Switzerland “snags the top spot for business-friendliness and education, "and ranks in the top 10 for quality of life, social purpose and cultural influence," according to study authors. “Among attributes, it was considered No.1 for being economically stable, safe and least corrupt."

“And while people may not see it as the sexiest place, they would like to live there."

One of Switzerland’s top qualities, the study showed, is 'consistency.'

Unlike the political and economic volatility of many other countries, "there is something pleasantly constant about Switzerland,” the survey found.

Here's the full report on why Switzerland was judged to be the "best country in the world".

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