Germany Now the World's Most Admired Country as U.S. Slips Far in New Index

Survey indicates that ‘Trump effect’ has hurt America’s governance image abroad; Canada tops the ‘people’ category; Israel not surveyed

U.S. President Donald Trump walking off after being greeted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017.
Evan Vucci/AP

American prestige in the world has suffered since Donald Trump became the U.S. president while Americans have a better image of themselves, according to an international survey of the image of 50 countries.

Germany took over the top spot of the Anholt-GfK Nations Brand Index study, which is based on six indices: exports, governance, culture, people, tourism and immigration/investment. The United States was the only country in the 50-country survey whose overall brand declined in 2017.

“The USA’s fall in the ‘Governance’ category suggests that we are witnessing a ‘Trump effect’, following President Trump’s focused political message of ‘America First,’” said Professor Simon Anholt, who created the study in 2005. “However, Americans’ assessment of their own country is notably more positive this year than last.”

Anholt noted that the United States suffered a similar drop after the 2000 election of George W. Bush, when its ranking declined to seventh. However, the setback was only temporary. “Previously, America has never stayed outside the top ranking for more than a year at a time,” he noted. “It will be interesting to see whether this holds true in the 2018 ranking.”

Germany filled the void left at the top. Remarkably, the country did not rank first in any individual category but did make the top five in all categories save tourism. The United States placed in the top five in exports, culture and immigration/investment.

France jumped three slots to second overall, topping the culture category. The United Kingdom held steady at third. Canada, which placed first in governance, people and immigration/investment, was ranked fourth. Japan, which led in exports, was tied with Canada for the fourth best brand among the nations.

Israel was not among the countries surveyed.