10 key takeaways from the US News Best Countries ranking

There are billions of data points behind the Best Countries rankings. Here are 10 interesting findings from a survey of more than 21,000 people from around the globe that illustrate perceptions of the state of the world today.

1. Switzerland debuts as the world's "top" country in 2017, driven largely by positive global perceptions of its progressive social systems, protection of human rights and business-friendly environment. It ranks No. 3 in Citizenship, after Norway and Sweden, and No. 3 in Open for Business, after Panama and Luxembourg. The country falls out of the top 15 in three categories: Adventure (No. 20), Heritage (No. 26) and Movers (No. 30).

2. Japan is the clear leader in Asia. While most countries from the continent fell in the rankings this year, Japan rose two spots from last year to No. 5. It ranks 10 spots higher than the next Asian country, Singapore.

This story originally appeared on U.S. News & World Report. Here's more of a breakdown on country rankings: Best countries for adventureBest countries with cultural influenceBest countries for quality of life

3. Survey respondents from Germany are divided as to whether or not their country should be more open to immigration, with 54 percent saying that they should. Compared to last year, Germany ranks three spots worse in both the overall ranking and in Citizenship, falling to No. 4 and No. 10, respectively. Feelings on immigration are similarly divided across Europe, with respondents from Spain being the most receptive to more open policies and those from France being the least receptive.

4. Four of the top 15 countries are led by women: No. 1 Switzerland, No. 4 Germany, No. 10 Norway and No. 12. Denmark. Female leadership is also linked to strong performance in Latin America, where countries currently or recently led by females are the best regional performers in most rankings.

5. Happiness is 72 percent correlated to gender equality in a country, but only 34 percent correlated to wealth, or gross domestic product per capita.

6. The U.S., Russia, China, the U.K. and Germany take the top five spots in Power for the second year in a row, leading all other countries by nearly 20 points on a 100-point scale. No. 2 Russia gained about five points on the U.S.'s lead compared to last year, and there is now less than a tenth of a point separating the two superpowers. Russia also rose four spots since last year to No. 2 in the Most Influential Countries.

7. Lower performing countries often have their strongest performance in the Power subranking. Iran, ranked No. 79 overall, is No. 14 in Power, and Ukraine, ranked No. 73 overall, is No. 26 in Power.

8. Nearly 90 percent of global survey respondents outside of the U.S. said that they paid attention to the 2016 U.S. election. Hillary Clinton would have won the global election, with nearly 60 percent of the global vote. Support for Donald Trump was highest in Russia (83 percent) and in China (54 percent). The U.S. dropped three spots overall compared to last year's ranking.

9. There is a strong connection between transparency and stability around the world. Government and business transparency are more than 90 percent correlated to economic and political stability on average.

10. There are regional differences in what makes a country "best." Survey respondents in Europe and the Americas consider Switzerland the Best Country, in line with the overall global results. But those in the Middle East and Africa would give the top spot to Japan, and those in Asia rank Germany No. 1 overall. Asia also heavily favors the U.S., ranking it No. 2 overall, five places better than its global ranking.

The best five countries are:

1. Canada2. Sweden 3. Denmark4. Australia 5. Norway

The worst five countries are:

46. Angola47. Pakistan48. Lebanon49. Algeria50. Iran

This article originally appeared in U.S. News & World Report.

Correction: This story was revised to correct that the five-worst list referred to countries.

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