Not all countries are created equal. Some people are destitute, while others are wealthy. The richest 195 countries have more than enough resources to rise to power.
The definition of power, according to social science, is “the ability to influence people’s conduct.” A powerful country may have indirect control over other countries throughout the world on a larger scale.
In essence, a country must have unique and rich resources to become one of the world’s most powerful nations. The world’s most powerful countries are frequently mentioned in news headlines. They have an impact on policymakers as well as global economic trends.
The rest of the world monitors the United States’ foreign policy and military spending. When the need arises, they typically offer help and support to poor or developing countries.
The World’s Best Countries in 2022
The BAV Group, a division of global marketing firm VMLY&R, has produced the world’s greatest countries rankings for 2022, in collaboration with The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
The top countries’ rankings are based on the findings of a survey of over 17,000 people from four distinct areas. The poll used 76 distinct metrics to assess their impressions of 78 countries.
Power is a sub-ranking in the 2022 Best Countries ranking, with an 8 percent weighting from the overall score. The power sub-ranking, which is based on weighted average scores, contains five distinct characteristics that relate to a country’s power. The country’s leader, economic clout, political clout, international alliance strength, and military might are all considerations to consider.
The Most Powerful Countries In The World
The top ten most powerful countries in the world have shifted slightly in the 2022 rankings.
However, there are some shifts in positions, except for the United States, which remains in the first place.
With a GDP of $21.4 trillion in 2020, America will continue to be the most powerful country in the world. The United States also has the largest military budget, spending $732 billion on military hardware and manpower in 2019.
China and Russia have swapped places in the sub-rankings of the world’s most powerful countries for 2022. In terms of military spending, China has moved up to the second place, while Russia has dropped to third.
Germany and the United Kingdom come in fourth and fifth place, respectively, below the top three countries. These two countries have large economies and give a lot of aid to other countries. Meanwhile, Japan climbs to No. 6 this year, passing France, which is now at No. 7.
In 2022, South Korea and Saudi Arabia both moved up one position, to eighth and ninth place, respectively.
This year, South Korea and Saudi Arabia both climbed one spot to No. 8 and No. 9, respectively. The United Arab Emirates climbed back to No. 10 from 11th place to complete the list of the world’s most powerful countries in 2022. Israel’s land has dropped three places to No. 11, from No. 8 to No. 11.
The Least Powerful Countries of the World in 2022
Countries with small to medium economies, on the other hand, are considered less powerful. Estonia, a small country in Northern Europe, is the world’s least powerful country. Previously, the country was a part of the Soviet Union.
Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia’s neighbors, are also in the bottom five. Slovenia, in South-Eastern Europe, and Slovakia, in Central Europe, are the other two countries.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the top ten most powerful nations in the world in 2022.
1. United States of America
In 1776, the rebel leaders declared independence after winning the Revolutionary War against the British Colony. As a result, the United States was born as a new country. It was established in 1783 as a constitutional republic with 50 states.
The population of the United States is currently 328 million people. With a gross domestic product (GDP) of $21.4 trillion, the North American country has the world’s largest economy. The GDP per capita is $65,280.
The country’s principal exports include computers, electrical gear, cars, and advanced military equipment, and it is recognized for its technological strength. It also exports food, chemicals, animals, and other things.
Furthermore, it boasts the world’s greatest coal reserves. People from all across the globe are influenced by the country’s pop culture, which includes music, movies, and television shows.
The military might of the United States is demonstrated. The country has already survived a civil war in the 1800s that nearly split the country in half. The United States and its allies won both world wars in the 1900s.
On September 11, 2001, the entire world watched a terrorist attack in New York, which took the lives of thousands of Americans in just one day. Since then, it has become more aggressive in combating terrorism around the world, launching the War on Terror.
The United States is one of the world’s leading countries when it comes to dealing with international concerns. Indeed, the country was instrumental in the establishment of international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank.
Millions of immigrants from Europe, Asia, and other countries have flocked to the country, making it a melting pot. This explains the rich legacy, diverse culture, and multi-racial backgrounds of its people.
The great African-American artist Louis Armstrong was born in the United States. Armstrong is widely regarded as one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time.
The world’s most powerful country also possesses top universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, and other Ivy League colleges are among them.
Even though the United States is undoubtedly the world’s most powerful country, it is plagued by domestic issues. Income inequality, racial conflicts, national security, and massive debt used to pay wars are just a few examples.
The US participates in international groups such as the G20, APEC, and the Council of Europe. It is also a member of the World Trade Organization and the Security Council of the United Nations.
In 2022, China is ranked second among the world’s top ten most powerful nations. The country is notable for having the world’s oldest civilization, which dates back over 40 centuries to 221 BC.
According to Chinese history, China was controlled by a long succession of ancient Chinese dynasties until 1912. The People’s Republic of China, founded in 1949, has been administered by the Communist Party since the late 1940s.
With a population of over 1.4 billion people, China has surpassed India as the world’s most populous country. Although the country includes hundreds of ethnic groups, Han Chinese make up over 90% of the population. Although China has around 300 spoken languages, Mandarin Chinese is the country’s official language.
In addition, China’s overall GDP is $14.3 trillion, with a per capita GDP of $10,217. It is the world’s second-largest country in terms of landmass, behind Russia. It is also the second-largest economy in the world, after the United States of America.
Under Deng Xiaoping, China’s former leader, important reforms took place in 1978. Within the previous 30 years, the Asian country has experienced exponential economic expansion.
As a world powerhouse in exports, it now has significant economic clout around the world. Today’s international markets are inundated with “Made in China” products. Economists predict that China’s economy will eventually surpass that of the United States.
In form of military might, China is known for possessing the world’s largest military. Hundreds of ships and aircraft make up the country’s naval forces, which are manned by over 200 active military personnel.
The country maintains its power by possessing nuclear weapons. China is also one of the nations with the world’s greatest military budgets. It has close links with Russia, another big country.
Since 1971, China has been a member of the United Nations Security Council as well as other international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
Nonetheless, the country’s rapid economic expansion has resulted in domestic issues. Income inequality, major population growth, and even air pollution are examples of such challenges.
China has the most carbon dioxide emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. The country has, nonetheless, made significant investments in renewable energy.
In 2022, Russia drops from second to third place on the list of the world’s most powerful nations. This country has been ruled by an autocratic government for over a thousand years.
It was once the Soviet Union’s largest republic. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia became an independent republic.
Russia is the largest country in the world, bordering 14 countries on both the European and Asian continents. Its population is estimated to be 144 million people.
Its current GDP is $1.69 trillion, with a per capita GDP of $11,498. Moscow, the country’s capital, boasts 74 billionaires, more than any other city on the planet.
Russia is home to 120 ethnic groups. This helps to explain why there are over 100 different languages spoken in the country.
In addition, Russia has made significant contributions to science and the arts. Russian astronauts were the first to complete a spacewalk and send a man-made spacecraft into orbit.
Furthermore, Russia has a massive natural resource base. It is one of the world’s largest economies, exporting natural gas, lumber, metals, and oil.
Furthermore, after the United States, Russia is the second-largest supplier of military hardware. So, the fact that Russia has the most nuclear weapons in the world, estimated at 8,400, makes it unquestionably powerful.
Due to political stability and increased demand for its products, the country has had a spectacular economic upturn since the early twenty-first century. Russia is still regarded as a global economic powerhouse.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and manufacturing are the country’s major industries. It imports food, pharmaceuticals, and textiles, on the other side.
Russia is a member of the G20, APEC, and the Council of Europe, among other international organizations. It is also a member of the United Nations Security Council and the World Trade Organization.
Russia, on the other hand, has been chastised for its autocratic regime and human rights issues. The US has also accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 presidential election in the United States.
Germany is ranked as the world’s fourth most powerful country. It is located in western-central Europe and shares borders with nine other countries. The country has a federal parliamentary constitutional republic as its form of government.
The history of the country is littered with wars, rebellions, and acts of violence. Following the country’s setbacks in World Wars I and II, the renowned Berlin Wall separated the country into East and West Germany. It wasn’t until 1990, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, that the country was reunited.
Since then, the German people have begun to establish a united and peaceful country. Germany has now established itself as a major political and economic force in Europe.
Germany has the largest population of the European Union’s member countries. It currently has an estimated population of 83.1 million people. The capital city of Germany, Berlin, has a population of 3.3 million people.
In terms of economics, Germany has one of the world’s greatest economies, with a GDP of $3.86 trillion in 2020 and a GDP per capita of 46,468. Since the country’s unification, the world market has been acutely aware of the country’s existence, both in terms of exports and imports.
The country in central Europe is ranked fifth in the world in terms of purchasing power. It is the world’s second-largest exporter of products and third-largest importer of goods.
It assures some social services because it uses open-market capitalism. Manufacturing is one of its main economic drivers. It is well-known for producing some of the world’s best automobiles, boats, and electronics.
Telecommunications, health care, tourism, and agriculture are all important contributors to the country’s economy. Natural resources such as copper, nickel, uranium, coal, and natural gas abound on the country’s soil.
The Germans have a good standard of living. A national health care system and a comprehensive social security system are available to all German citizens.
Notwithstanding its highly qualified and affluent workforce, Germany is confronted with a home challenge: an aging population. It is also one of the top immigration destinations in the globe due to its open-door policy. However, the open-door approach raises concerns about crime within the country’s borders.
In terms of culture, Germany has produced a lot of world-famous scientists and artists. The genius Albert Einstein and Ludwig van Beethoven were both born in this country. A total of roughly 100 Germans have won the Nobel Prize.
Germany is also a member of key international organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union, the G20, NATO, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
5. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is the world’s fifth most powerful country. England, Scotland, Wales, and the northern part of Ireland make up the United Kingdom, which is located in northwest Europe.
This country has a population of 66.8 million people. It has a total GDP of $2.83 trillion and a $42,354 GDP per capita.
The British Empire developed during the colonial era is responsible for the country’s economic and political clout in the worldwide community. The colonization persisted until the outbreak of World War II in the early twentieth century.
The United Kingdom was founded as a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy in the 17th century.
London, the capital of the United Kingdom, is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. Tourism and banking are two major economic growth drivers in the country.
Given the fact that the manufacturing of vehicle and aircraft products has declined since the industrial revolution, this industry continues to be a significant contributor to the UK economy.
Nuclear weapons exist in the United Kingdom, just as they do in France. The country also possesses the world’s most powerful naval forces. Not to add that London is home to the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, one of the world’s most powerful foreign intelligence agencies.
In addition, the country’s global influence in the arts and sciences has grown. Some of its outstanding scientists were responsible for the discoveries of gravity and hydrogen, as well as the development of medications like penicillin.
William Shakespeare, one of the greatest writers in the history of literature, was born in the United Kingdom. Other notable individuals include cosmologists Stephen Hawking and Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.
The country has also produced some of the top universities in the world, such as Oxford, Cambridge, and Imperial College London.
Since the dawn of time, the United Kingdom has been a popular destination for immigrants. Apart from Central and Eastern Europe, immigrants began to arrive in the second half of the twentieth century from South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. The United Kingdom and other European countries are currently dealing with immigration concerns.
In addition, the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union is set to take place later this month. The Brexit decision has raised some questions about the EU and its policies.
The United Kingdom, like the other great nations on this list, is a member of the United Nations Security Council, the World Trade Organization, NATO, the G20, and the World Bank.
In 2022, Japan will become the second Asian country to join the list of the world’s most powerful countries. It is now ranked seventh.
This archipelagic land is known as the Land of the Rising Sun. The country is made up of around 6,800 islands and has a population of over 126 million people. Tokyo, Japan’s capital, is home to almost 30 million people. Tokyo is regarded as one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in.
The power of this East Asian nation is exemplified by the fact that it has the world’s highest literacy rate, which is about 100 percent. It is also one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries. It has a large economy, with a total GDP of $5.06 trillion and a per capita GDP of $40,113.
Japan’s history may be traced back to the late fourth century B.C. The Japanese culture flourished from the seventh through the 12th centuries, while the following centuries saw military domination.
In the early 1900s, the government embarked on a bold plan to expand its borders by invading other countries. During World War II, however, it suffered a crushing loss.
Japan is currently governed by a parliamentary system with a constitutional monarchy. It signifies that the country’s emperor retains his title of national unity. Government personnel, on the other hand, have the authority to make decisions.
Japan is a market economy in terms of wealth and resources. Despite the horrific accident that hit in 2011, it has the world’s third-largest.
Although the big earthquake and tsunami-affected the manufacturing industry, the country’s economy has improved since then. Japan is currently one of the world’s leading producers of steel, electronics, and vehicles. It has an unemployment rate of less than 4%.
Japan is known around the world for its traditional arts, tea ceremonies, calligraphy, and flower arrangements. It’s also famed for its sculpture, haiku poetry, and enthralling zen gardens.
In terms of tourism, Japan is home to more than 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sushi is a popular Japanese dish that originated in this nation. Baseball and Sumo wrestling are two of the most popular sports in the country. Sumo wrestling is an ancient Japanese sport that dates back to the eighth century.
Japan, as powerful as a country may be, is confronted with a significant home challenge. According to experts, due to lower birth rates, the country’s population will decline sharply through 2060. With over 50,000 Japanese residents above the age of 100, Japan currently possesses the world’s oldest population.
The nuclear missile program of North Korea has also raised considerable worries in the East Asian region. Leaders in Japan are calling for changes to the country’s postwar pacifist constitution.
Japan is a member of the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank.
The world’s seventh most powerful country is also one of the world’s oldest and largest in the European Union. France accounts for almost one-fifth of the EU’s overall area.
France is widely regarded as Europe’s wealthiest country. France is also the world’s fourth wealthiest country, with a total GDP of $2.72 billion and a GDP per capita of $40,380.
Before becoming a unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic, the country had come a long way. In the medieval period, France was a monarchy, then an empire, before becoming the republic it is today. France features a president and prime minister working together, as well as a parliament, senate, and national assembly.
The country’s impact today extends beyond its borders and across the globe in a variety of areas, including politics, economics, culture, science, and the arts.
France is noted for being the world’s greatest nuclear power user. Nearly 80% of the country’s electricity is generated by nuclear power. It is also one of the world’s leading weapons exporters.
The French have an exceedingly high level of living due to their wealth. Social services, such as education, health care, and retirement schemes, are backed by the federal government.
Its economy is made up of both private and public businesses. There are 2.5 million private companies in the country. Meanwhile, the number of state-owned businesses is declining.
This European country has acres of fruitful land, which is why it is the world’s third-largest exporter of agricultural products. Its wine sector thrives and makes a significant contribution to the country’s economic development. Bordeaux wines and champagnes are exported to almost every country on the planet.
Tourism increases France’s GDP by a factor of ten. Nearly 80 million people visit the country each year, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet.
The history of French culture is extensive. Fine arts, dancing, films, and music have been celebrated in France since the Middle Ages. The country is known for having a collection of the world’s top artworks for tourists to see. It is also famed for its exquisite cuisine and world-class wine.
France, like other major countries, faces several domestic difficulties, including how to tackle terrorism. Earlier in 2015, a satirical journal reported that the country has succumbed to the fangs of terrorism. Then there was the November incident in Paris, which killed 130 people.
In addition, the country’s young adults are experiencing rising unemployment as the economy slows. As a response, the French government has stepped up its efforts to restructure the country’s labor market.
France is a member of the United Nations Security Council and is one of its founding members. The World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and NATO are all members of this great country.
8. South Korea
In 2022, South Korea will become the newest member of the world’s most powerful countries. The Republic of Korea is the official name of the country, which is located in East Asia.
The country had a long history of conflict that drew the Korean Peninsula’s attention. After World War II, it was liberated from Japan in 1945. North Korea’s communist soldiers, on the other hand, invaded a few years later.
The United Nations attempted to bring an end to the three-year war between the two countries. The United Nations-supported South Korea in its democratic transition. The two countries in the region have remained split until now.
South Korea was exposed to authoritarian government decades after regaining independence. It is currently governed as a unitary presidential constitutional republic with a president and prime minister.
The country’s first free national elections to pick a president were held in 1987. Park Geun-Hye, the country’s first female president, was embroiled in a corruption scandal that rocked the country in 2016. In 2017, she was removed from office.
Ban Ki-Moon, the former United Nations Secretary-General, was born in South Korea. Ki-Moon has been named on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful men.
South Korea currently has a population of over 51 million people. It is the world’s 27th most populous country. Seoul, the capital, is the most populous city in the country.
With a GDP of $1.5 trillion and a GDP per capita of $39,548, the East Asian nation has become one of the world’s wealthiest nations.
South Korea has a service-based economy that is technologically advanced. It has cutting-edge technology and, on average, the world’s fastest internet speeds.
Electronics, telecommunications, automobiles, and steel are among its primary industries. Samsung, as well as automakers Hyundai and Kia, have their headquarters in Seoul. Rice, barley, and root crops are among the agricultural items produced. Agriculture, on the other hand, contributes barely 2% of the country’s GDP.
South Korea has experienced exponential economic growth and poverty alleviation since the 1960s. The country is now the 11th largest economy in the world and the seventh-largest exporter.
South Korea, like Japan, has the difficulty of an elderly society. The government does provide universal healthcare as well as compulsory education up to the eighth grade. Enrollment rates in the country are at 100 percent.
South Korea is a member of the United Nations, the Group of 20 (G20), the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the World Trade Organization.
9. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is ranked ninth among the world’s most powerful countries this year. The immense landmass and wealth of the Arabian Peninsula’s giant country.
Saudi Arabia is the fifth-largest country in Asia, with an area of around 830,000 square miles. It is located in the western section of the continent. It is also the world’s second-largest Arab country, after Algeria.
Saudi Arabia has a population of 34.3 million people. About half of the population is under the age of 24.
The Fertile Crescent, the cradle of civilization, used to be at the center of this mighty Arab country. Agricultural and technological growth had occurred in the arc-shaped region, including the utilization of irrigation as well as the invention of writing, glass, and other items.
Saudi Arabia is distinguished from other countries by its arid climate and deserts. Overflowing oil deposits were discovered in the country’s deserts. It holds around 22% of the world’s oil reserves.
Oil is one of the few finite resources that keep the planet going. Saudi Arabia has now become a major oil exporter, resulting in tremendous economic expansion.
Saudi Arabia now has a $793 billion GDP and a $23,140 GDP per capita. Oil accounts for over half of the country’s GDP.
In addition to its oil reserves, the country holds the world’s sixth-largest gas reserves. Saudi Arabia has also entered the concrete, steel, car parts, and construction materials industries.
Saudi Arabia is currently constructing the Jeddah Tower, formerly known as the Kingdom Tower. The 1,000-meter-high, 3,280-foot-tall structure is slated to open in 2020. By that time, the Jeddah Tower will have dethroned Dubai’s Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest structure.
Saudi Arabia has a unitary Islamic absolute monarchy as its system of governance. There are three princes in the kingdom: the monarch, the crown prince, and the deputy crown prince. The Islamic State’s king is a direct descendent of the kingdom’s foundation from 1932. His formal title is “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,” and he is assisted by 12 ministers who have been nominated by him.
The inhabitants of the country have a diverse culture and background. They are also more devout in their faith. There are four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country.
Every year, millions of Muslims from all over the world go to Mecca to participate in the annual pilgrimage. The prophet Mohammed is widely believed to have been born in Mecca, the birthplace of Islam.
Saudi Arabia also has to deal with local issues as well as threats from neighboring countries. Due to the crisis in Yemen, it is currently erecting a fence along its border. The wall also aids in the prevention of ISIS members infiltrating the nation.
The rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are reverberating across the Middle East. In addition, the country is engaged in an internal conflict with extremist groups and reform-minded demonstrators. Despite this, the kingdom restricts freedom of expression, tortures its detainees, and conducts public executions.
It has a significant source of crude oil. The Islamic State, on the other hand, is looking for new ways to minimize its reliance on oil.
The country is presently implementing its most recent policy, dubbed Saudization. The ministry of labor stipulates that a specific percentage of a company’s workers be Saudi citizens to combat high unemployment rates.
Saudi Arabia is a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). As the World Trade Organization’s newest member, the country has opened its doors to foreign business.
10. United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is once again among the world’s top ten most powerful countries this year. After falling to 11th place in the previous ranking, the UAE has regained its position in 10th place.
The UAE is made up of emirates in the Arabian Peninsula’s southeast end, with Abu Dhabi as its capital. After a series of agreements with Great Britain in the 19th century, the emirates known as the Trucial States arose. Six of these nations merged in 1971 to become the UAE, with the seventh emirate joining in 1972.
The country has a total land area of 83,600 square kilometers and a population of 9,770,526 people. The country’s natural terrain comprises marshes, waterless mountains, and stony deserts, and it is sandwiched between Saudi Arabia and Oman. Its shores go along the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
Notwithstanding its traditional roots, the UAE is regarded as one of the most liberal countries in the Middle East. Its constitution guarantees religious freedom. Despite being a federation of monarchs, the country’s legal system is a mix of Islamic and civil law.
The United Arab Emirates has a gross domestic product (GDP) of $421 billion. According to the CIA’s World Factbook, the country’s GDP per capita of $69,958 is comparable to that of Western European countries.
Furthermore, the UAE has been voted the most competitive economy in the Arab world by the World Economic Forum. Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the two major cities in the country, attract millions of tourists each year.
Dubai, the country’s regional business center, is known around the world for its gleaming skyscrapers. In addition, the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, is located there. The Federal National Council, on the other hand, is headquartered in Abu Dhabi.
The United Arab Emirates is also a member of the UN, OPEC, and the World Trade Organization.