Defining the world’s most powerful countries is not always clear-cut and can be subjective. The most powerful nations are the ones that shape global economic patterns, preoccupy policymakers, and tend to have strong defense and military. Foreign policies of powerful countries are closely tracked and consistently dominate news headlines around the world.
U.S. News and World Report, in partnership with BAV Group and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has found a way to rank the world’s most powerful countries in its Best Countries rankings. The report surveyed over 20,000 people from four regions across the globe. Respondents were asked to associate 80 countries with five attributes: military alliances, international alliances, political influence, economic influence, and leadership.
The top 10 most powerful nations, according to the 2019 Best Countries report are:
According to the 2018 survey, the United States is the world’s most powerful country. The United States has the world’s largest economy, with a GDP of $20.49 trillion and the most massive military budget of $610 billion. The U.S. defense spending is higher than the next seven largest defense spenders (China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, Germany, and the United Kingdom) combined.
Russia and China are the second and third most powerful countries, known for their military spending. China also has a large economy with a GDP of $12.2 trillion. Next on the list are Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan, all of which have large economies and distribute high amounts of international aid.
No country on the list changed in rankings from 2018 to 2019 except for South Korea, which joined the top ten list in 2019 from the 11th rank. Honorable mentions for the world's most powerful countries are the United Arab Emirates, Canada, and Iran.