Ireland is the best country in the world, new survey suggests

Republic’s contribution to humanity sees it take top spot in first Good Country Index

Ireland is the best country in the world and that's a fact. Kind of. We may struggle economically, politically and militarily while our sporting achievements of late are best described as modest and our Eurovision performances have been abysmal but we're still as good as it gets according to a new survey.

The Republic's overall contribution to humanity and the planet has seen it take the top spot in the very first Good Country Index which was published this morning. The index ranks nations according to their overall contribution to humanity using 35 separate indicators from the United Nations, the World Bank and other international institutions spread across seven categories.

Ireland secured the overall top spot by finishing in the top 10 in four of the seven categories and it was six places ahead of the UK and 20 ahead of the US. Iraq, Libya and Vietnam all came joint bottom of the survey.

British policy adviser Simon Anholt is behind the index and he described the idea as "pretty simple".


He said the intention was to “measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away. Using a wide range of data from the UN and other international organisations, we’ve given each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between.”

He stressed that his survey was not intended to name and shame individual countries but to recognise the importance of contributing to the greater good in a globalised society. “Do [countries]exist purely to serve the interests of their own politicians, businesses and citizens, or are they actively working for all of humanity and the whole planet,” he asked.

The list assesses the size of a country’s economy and its global contributions to science and technology, culture, international peace and security, world order, the planet and climate, prosperity and equality as well as the health and well-being of humanity.

Ireland claimed the number one spot in the ‘Equality and Prosperity’ category and it was ranked fourth when it came to ‘World Order,’ seventh in ‘Culture,’ and ninth in the ‘Health and Wellbeing’ category.

The news wasn't so great in the 'Science and Technology' category where Ireland came 20th while the country was 33rd in the 'International Peace and Security' category. The top spot in that particular section was Egypt. In the 'Planet and Climate' section Ireland was ranked a poor 45th.

While the US likes to consider itself top dog, it was dragged down to 21st place thanks to poor scores on international peace and security.

Outside of western Europe and the English-speaking world, the highest ranked country was Costa Rica, which finished in 22nd place, while Chile was ranked in 24th place. The African nation deemed to contribute most was Kenya in 26th place.

The index is set to be updated annually and the bad news for Ireland is that things can only get worse from here on in.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast