Most Powerful Countries 2021

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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 devised a way to rank the world’s most powerful countries in its annual 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 2021 Best Countries report are:

  1. United States
  2. China
  3. Russia
  4. Germany
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Japan
  7. France
  8. South Korea
  9. Saudi Arabia
  10. United Arab Emirates

According to the 2020 survey (released in 2021), the United States is the world’s most powerful country. The United States has the world’s largest economy, with a GDP of $20.93 trillion in 2020 and the most massive military budget of $778 billion in 2020. The U.S. defense spending is higher than the next ten largest defense spenders (China, India, Russia, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, and Italy) combined.

China and Russia are the second and third most powerful countries, known for their military spending and vast physical expanse. China also has a large economy with a GDP of $14.3 trillion. Next on the list are Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and France, all of which have large economies and distribute high amounts of international aid.

Although a few have switched places, nine of the top ten countries are returners from the previous year's list. The lone new entry is the United Arab Emirates, which arrives at #10 and nudges Israel down to #11. Honorable mentions for the world's most powerful countries are Canada, India, and Turkey.

Most Powerful Countries 2021

Power Rank Country GDP GDP per Capita 2021 Population
1United States$21.40 Tn$65,280332,915,073
2China$14.30 Tn$10,2171,444,216,107
3Russia$1.69 Tn$11,498145,912,025
4Germany$3.86 Tn$46,46883,900,473
5United Kingdom$2.83 Tn$42,35468,207,116
6Japan$5.06 Tn$40,113126,050,804
7France$2.72 Tn$40,38065,426,179
8South Korea$1.65 Tn$31,84651,305,186
9Saudi Arabia$793.00 Bn$23,14035,340,683
10United Arab Emirates$421.00 Bn$43,1039,991,089
11Israel$395.00 Bn$43,5898,789,774
12Canada$1.74 Tn$46,32738,067,903
13India$2.87 Tn$2,1011,393,409,038
14Turkey$761.00 Bn$9,12785,042,738
15Italy$2.00 Tn$33,56760,367,477
16Australia$1.40 Tn$55,05725,788,215
16Costa Rica$64.00 Bn$12,6705,139,052
17Switzerland$731.00 Bn$85,3008,715,494
18Spain$1.39 Tn$29,56546,745,216
19Brazil$1.88 Tn$8,897213,993,437
20Sri Lanka$84.00 Bn$3,85221,497,310
20Singapore$374.00 Bn$65,6415,896,686
21Iraq$222.00 Bn$5,65841,179,350
22Qatar$176.00 Bn$62,0882,930,528
23Netherlands$907.00 Bn$52,29517,173,099
24Belgium$533.00 Bn$46,41411,632,326
25Vietnam$262.00 Bn$2,71598,168,833
26Sweden$531.00 Bn$51,68710,160,169
27Thailand$544.00 Bn$7,81769,950,850
28South Africa$351.00 Bn$6,00160,041,994
29Egypt$303.00 Bn$3,019104,258,327
30Mexico$1.27 Tn$9,946130,262,216
31New Zealand$209.00 Bn$41,9994,860,643
32Norway$406.00 Bn$75,8265,465,630
33Ukraine$154.00 Bn$3,66343,466,819
34Denmark$350.00 Bn$60,2135,813,298
35Austria$445.00 Bn$50,1229,043,070
36Belarus$64.40 Bn$6,8399,442,862
37Indonesia$1.12 Tn$4,135276,361,783
38Malaysia$365.00 Bn$11,41432,776,194
39Lebanon$52.00 Bn$7,5846,769,146
40Kazakhstan$182.00 Bn$9,81318,994,962
41Portugal$240.00 Bn$23,28510,167,925
42Uzbekistan$57.70 Bn$1,71933,935,763
43Ireland$399.00 Bn$80,7794,982,907
44Philippines$377.00 Bn$3,485111,046,913
45Finland$269.00 Bn$48,7125,548,360
46Jordan$44.50 Bn$4,40510,269,021
47Azerbaijan$48.20 Bn$4,80610,223,342
48Argentina$445.00 Bn$9,91245,605,826
49Greece$205.00 Bn$19,15110,370,744
50Poland$596.00 Bn$15,69537,797,005
51Colombia$323.00 Bn$6,42551,265,844
52Oman$76.30 Bn$15,3435,223,375
53Cambodia$27.10 Bn$1,64316,946,438
54Myanmar$79.80 Bn$1,47754,806,012
55Serbia$51.50 Bn$7,4128,697,550
57Chile$279.00 Bn$14,74219,212,361
58Morocco$120.00 Bn$3,23037,344,795
59Kenya$95.50 Bn$1,81754,985,698
60El Salvador$26.90 Bn$4,1686,518,499
61Panama$66.80 Bn$15,7284,381,579
62Tunisia$39.20 Bn$3,35211,935,766
63Guatemala$77.00 Bn$4,63918,249,860
64Ecuador$108.00 Bn$6,22317,888,475
65Peru$228.00 Bn$7,02833,359,418
67Dominican Republic$88.90 Bn$8,28210,953,703
68Hungary$164.00 Bn$16,7339,634,164
69Romania$250.00 Bn$12,89019,127,774
71Slovakia$105.00 Bn$19,2735,460,721
72Uruguay$61.20 Bn$17,6883,485,151
73Croatia$60.80 Bn$14,9444,081,651
74Bulgaria$68.60 Bn$9,8286,896,663
75Lithuania$54.60 Bn$19,5552,689,862
76Latvia$34.10 Bn$17,7941,866,942
77Slovenia$54.20 Bn$25,9412,078,724
78Estonia$31.50 Bn$23,7181,325,185

Most Powerful Countries 2021