How Switzerland ranks in a worldwide comparison

For many, Switzerland is synonymous with excellence, productivity and quality of life. Goods and services made here enjoy automatic validation as best-in-class – which you’ll find is well deserved.

Discover the strengths of Switzerland and how it stacks up in worldwide rankings. You’ll also see that the region of Basel contributes a great deal to Switzerland’s excellence.

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Switzerland ranks the best country in the world

Once again, Switzerland has secured the top position as the best country in the world, marking its 2nd consecutive year and the 6th time overall according to the U.S. News Best Countries Report for 2023. This report spans 87 countries, considering more than 73 attributes categorized under aspects such as entrepreneurship, quality of life, power, and heritage. Notably, entrepreneurship played a pivotal role in this year’s rankings, stating that a nation’s global perception significantly influences its economic vitality and success in areas like trade, travel, and investment.

Let’s delve into the categories that illuminate why Switzerland is hailed as the best country in the world:


For the 13th year in a row, Switzerland is the most innovative economy in 2023.

Switzerland offers a unique blend of innovation culture, a robust educational system with world-class research institutes, political stability, a favorable governmental framework and substantial investment in R&D. It also boasts a highly skilled workforce and a strong emphasis on sustainability initiatives. This has helped Switzerland maintain a competitive edge in various fields, most famously finance and the life sciences.

Talent & Education

With its renowned educational institutions, innovation-driven economy, and high quality of life, Switzerland continues to be an attractive destination for talent from around the world.

The Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023 by INSEAD provides valuable insights into how countries foster talent development and retention. Switzerland’s consistent performance as number 1 in this index, followed by Singapore and the U.S., reflects its strong commitment to education, innovation, and creating an attractive environment for skilled professionals.

Quality of life

Swiss cities consistently rank among the best in the world in quality of life measurements. Numbeo’s Quality of Life Index 2022 and the Economist’s Where-to-be-born index both give Switzerland the #1 spot.

Switzerland charms people with its beautiful scenery, clean cities and clockwork-like punctuality. Going beyond the everyday, it’s one of the safest countries in the world, has great schools, a fair political system and almost unparalleled healthcare.


On the World Energy Council’s Trilemma Index 2022 report, Switzerland shares the 2nd position with Denmark.

We have to transform our economy to ensure future generations can enjoy a healthy planet. Switzerland is in a massive transformation that leaves no industry, organization and society untouched. For us, sustainability and economic success have to go hand in hand.

The Basel Area: The best Switzerland has to offer

How the Basel Area stacks up in international rankings

The list of studies and reports we can pull from to underscore the attractiveness of the Basel Area is nearly infinite. Here are six esteemed rankings we’re most proud of.

European Cities & Regions of the Future: #1

The European Cities & Regions of the Future ranking by fDi Intelligence evaluates the potential for foreign direct investments. The ranking is based on economic potential, human capital and lifestyle, cost-effectiveness, connectivity and other factors.

Basel secured the top spot thanks to its strong economic performance, ideal location at the heart of Europe, robust infrastructure and a business-friendly environment.

Expat City Ranking: #7

The Expat City Ranking is an annual survey conducted by InterNations. It evaluates cities worldwide based on expats’ living conditions and experiences. It assesses various factors, including the quality of life, ease of settling in, work-life balance, financial security and housing.

Basel ranked seventh in this survey, reflecting the city’s excellent quality of life, safety and welcoming atmosphere towards expats. The positive feedback from expats regarding their personal happiness and financial situation in Basel significantly contributed to the city’s high ranking, showcasing its appeal to the international community.

100 Europe’s Best Cities 2023: #9

Basel is a prosperous business hub and a pocket-size metropolis. Here you can enjoy the “Swiss life with a global spirit”.

Basel’s position #9 of the 100 Europe’s Best Cities 2023, in the top 10 with London, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Zurich, Madrid, Berlin and Rome. This ranking highlights its rich cultural heritage, excellent infrastructure and economic strength. The city’s picturesque scenery, modern amenities and economic opportunities make it one of Europe’s most desirable cities to live and work in.

Academic Ranking of World Universities: #30

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) by Shanghai Ranking evaluates global universities based on their academic performance and research output. It uses indicators like the number of alumni and staff winning awards, of highly cited researchers and articles published in journals of Nature and Science.

Basel University’s global position at #81  underscores the region’s solid academic capabilities with notable achievements in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, ranking #30, Human Biological Sciences, and Medical Technology, ranking #51-75. Beyond this one study, the University of Basel is ranked among the world’s 100 to 150 best universities.

Mercer’s Quality of Living: #10

Mercer’s Quality of Living ranking is an annual survey that evaluates and compares the living conditions in cities worldwide. It evaluates factors like political stability, healthcare, education, crime, recreation, housing and environment.

Basel’s #10 ranking reflects its great living conditions, excellent healthcare services, well-maintained urban environment, high standards of safety and education as well as its rich cultural scene.

IESE’s Cities in Motion: #29

The IESE’s Cities in Motion index evaluates cities globally based on their level of sustainability according to factors like human capital, social cohesion, economy, environment, governance, urban planning, international outreach, technology, mobility and transportation.

Basel’s position at #29 shows its commitment to urban development and sustainability. The city’s efforts in fostering a smart urban environment through innovative technologies, efficient transportation systems and sustainable practices showcase Basel as a progressive city moving towards a more connected and sustainable future.

The most innovative region in Switzerland

In 2023, Basel-Stadt is in the second position in the Locational Quality Study 2023 by Credit Suisse. The study considers Basel-Stadt one of the most attractive Swiss locations for companies. The ranking is based on seven criteria: tax burden on private individuals and legal entities, availability of highly qualified and skilled professionals, population accessibility, employee accessibility and access to airports.

Basel-Stadt’s above-average competitive position is also backed up by UBS’s Cantonal Competitiveness Index 2023. In this year’s edition, Basel-Stadt proudly secured the second position, only 0.8/100 points behind Zug — and 5.6/100 points ahead of Zürich. This report uses a comparative analysis of eight components: economic structure, innovation, human capital, labour market, accessibility, catchment area, cost environment and government finances. The Canton of Basel-Stadt is ranked first in human capital and accessibility. Thanks to the EuroAirport, the city of Basel has excellent international connections. The airport also benefits the catchment area, which is positively influenced by Basel’s geographical location and the large number of cross-border commuters. As a university location, the Canton of Basel-Stadt also has access to significant human capital.

Europe’s prime life sciences location

The pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland provides over 82,700 life science jobs to its residents. This accounts for over 40% of all Swiss exports. Over 32,500 of those jobs come from more than 700 life sciences companies in the Basel Area, making it Switzerland’s powerhouse in life sciences.

The Basel Area is home to giants like Roche and Novartis but also provides fertile ground for startups and SMEs. Basel-based startups regularly win awards for their performance and innovation in life sciences.

With its rich biopharmaceutical expertise, local watchmaking tradition and strong industrial sector, the Basel Area is also the perfect breeding ground for everything related to medtech.

No wonder the region is growing more rapidly than any other life sciences hub in the world, with a recorded growth of 9.3 % per year from 2010 to 2020.

Regarding productivity, the Basel Area is steaming ahead of the international competition like the San Francisco Bay Area, Øresund, Singapore, Boston, London, Paris and Munich.

Source: InterPharma Report, data from BAK Economics

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