These are the 10 best countries in the world in 2017 (and how Brexit and Trump shook up the ranking)

Lynsey Barber
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Neutral countries ranked well among the best countries in the world (Source: Getty)

In a world turned seemingly upside down by the political landscape over the past year, a ranking of the best countries in the world has been similarly shaken up.

Germany was knocked from the top spot by Switzerland, in the second annual ranking from US News & World Report, Y&R's BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Good old Canada, reliable and level headed in trying times (thanks Justin Trudeau) kept its number two spot, and despite the Brexit vote last summer, it seems the nation's worst fears about the impact of leaving have not been realised - the UK held on to its third place, and is now ahead of Germany which slipped into fourth.

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The high ranking of Switzerland, Canada and the Nordics (all in the top 15) was put down to reflecting "people's desire to restore some sense of order by rewarding nations they perceive as championing neutrality, stability and diplomacy" said BAV Consulting's John Gerzema.

Donald Trump has made Amercia worse again, however: the US dropped faster than Ivanka Trump's fashion line from Nordstrom, tumbling three places to number seven. Nearly three quarters of those surveyed said they had lost some respect for the country's leadership after the Presidential elections.

"We wanted to capture how tumultuous political change can affect a country's perceived standing in the world," said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of US News. The survey takes in the views of more than 21,000 business leaders, elites and general citizens on areas such as quality of life, education, best for business and transparency.

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The ranking of the US fell in several of the categories, including best for business, citizenship, headquartering a corporation, education and transparency.

"The Best Countries project allows us to chart how global perceptions of a country affect its prosperity," said David Reibstein, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School. "We've learned that a focus on education and citizenship – including human rights, gender equality, religious freedom and more – can drive prosperity more than traditional forms of power, like military prowess."

The 10 best countries in the world

1. Switzerland

2. Canada

3. UK

4. Germany

5. Japan

6. Sweden

7. US

8. Australia

9. France

10. Norway

The US did remain top as the most powerful country in the world, however, followed by Russia. And 50 per cent of the respondents said the world was worse off than last year... but on the bright side that means half thought things were not getting worse.

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