Ireland is no longer the ‘goodest’ country in the world

Republic loses status as the state that contributes the most to humanity in new index

The Republic has lost its status as the country that contributes the most to humanity.

It has been overtaken by our Euro 2016 rivals Sweden as the "goodest" country in the world, according to the latest Good Country Index.

The State now ranks 11th in the world overall.

Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Finland, Canada, France, Austria and New Zealand have all surpassed the State in the ranking.


The author of the biannual index, Simon Anholt, said the differences between the countries in the top 10 are minute and, as a small country, the State is subject to volatile changes.

The Good Country Index was founded by Mr Anholt, a British government adviser, and seeks to measure how countries contribute to the global good.

Some 35 different UN indices are measured, including national contributions to science, culture, peace and security, climate change and health and equality.

There was surprise and puzzlement in 2014 when the Republic topped the first Good Country Index, outranking 130 other countries.

The State claimed the number one spot in the equality and prosperity category and was ranked fourth when it came to world order, seventh in culture, and ninth in the health and wellbeing category in that ranking.

The results were somewhat surprising, as the data used was from 2010, during the depths of the recession.

Mr Anholt joked that the “Irish people were beastly to me” following the 2014 index and many emailed him pointing out the country’s failures.

He said many Irish people confused being a “good” country with being the best, which would be solely down to internal factors.

He said Irish people suffered from “a severe case of Groucho Marx syndrome”, by not wanting to be part of any club that would rank them as first in the world.

In the latest index, which was based on figures from 2011, the Republic ranked 19th in terms of its contribution to science and technology, 22nd in the culture category, 51st in international peace and security, 17th in the world order, 23rd in prosperity and equality and 17th in health and wellbeing.


However, there was some good news in the latest index, with the State moving from 45th to 13th in terms of its positive contribution to the planet and the climate.

Mr Anholt said the improving economy may be the contributing factor in the State’s drop from 1st to 23rd in terms of its contribution to prosperity and equality.

He said the improving economy meant that the State’s contribution to overseas aid was smaller as a total of GDP, which led to the fall.

Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea and Libya were the countries which were judged to have contributed least to humanity in the latest index.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times