The US has been ranked the world’s most powerful country for the seventh time, according to the latest rankings by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and US News & World Report.

Per the analysis, the US also moved back into the top five best countries overall, jumping from sixth place in 2021 to fourth. It was outranked by Switzerland, Germany, and Canada, with Sweden rising four spots to fifth place.

“There’s no country that is viewed more of a leader than the United States,” said David Reibstein, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School who conducted the research.

“It’s really high in terms of economic influence, really high in terms of a strong military, and very highly politically influential,” he added.

The rankings were calculated from responses given by more than 17,000 people in 36 countries.

Reibstein said the rankings were collected equally from three groups: the general population, upper-income earners, and business decision-makers. 

The strong US job market this year had also boosted Americans’ happiness. In 2021, only 4% of the respondents said it had a good job market, but that figure soared to 96% this year.

“The most positive thing is a good job market – that contributes to the economy and quality of life,” Reibstein said.

The US has benefited from the strong labor market. In September, 263,000 jobs were added,  beating the average estimate of 250,000 payrolls, while the unemployment rate declined from 3.7% to 3.5%, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Despite the high employment opportunities, the US still slipped from 20th to 21st place for general quality of life.

Reibstein said the main reason for the decline was because just 11% of respondents regarded the US as safe — a significant decline from last year’s 38% figure.

“It is pretty well known that we allow people to have guns and whenever there’s a shooting in the United States it gets a lot of publicity,” he said.

“Between school shootings and all the reported crime in the cities, it is not perceived to be very safe, and perceived safety has gone down, which has led to the quality of life going down.”

As of October 20, there had been 546 mass shootings in the country, according to the gun violence charity Archive.

In comparison with the US, 95% of respondents regarded Switzerland, which was named the best country in the world, as a safe nation.

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