There is a moment in the hit TV series “The Newsroom” when national TV anchor Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, appears as part of a panel about America held in a college auditorium. Each panelist is asked, “Why is America the greatest country in the world?” The two other panelists give trite answers. After being pushed hard by the moderator, McAvory says America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. He then gives a litany of factual reasons why.
America lags other nations in the world in a large number of areas, from infant mortality and crime rates to median income and gross domestic product per capita. Politicians, doctors, public policymakers, economists and academics have tried to narrow these gaps for years. Largely, they have been unsuccessful.
24/7 Wall St. looked at a very wide range of metrics across which countries can be ranked. Some of these include over 150 nations, which is much of the world’s 195 countries. Other comparisons involved fewer than 40 nations, in most cases those in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
What has emerged is largely a picture of mediocrity. America is nowhere close to being the best-educated nation in the world. It is a major polluter and has high crime rates, and it has a high percentage of people who live in poverty. It also has bad health outcomes, due in part to bad health habits, which created conditions like obesity.
Here are 20 reasons America is no longer the greatest country in the world.
In terms of infant mortality per 100,000 live births, the United States ranks 34th out of 44 countries.
In median household income, America ranks fourth out of 36 countries.
The murder rate per 100,000 people puts America at 89th out of 230 countries.
America is the second worst of 20 countries when it comes to share of CO2 emissions.
America’s health care costs are the highest out of 48 countries.
Life expectancy in the United States ranks 46th out of 193.
In student math performance, America comes in at number 39 out of 71 countries.
As for doctorates per capita, its rank is fourth of 35 countries.
The country does rank second out of 154 countries in international patent applications.
And in number of people in the military, it ranks third out of 149 countries.
Ninth of 26 countries is the rank in suicide rates per 100,000.
But the percentage of people living in poverty puts America at number 127 out of 172.
America’s crime rate is 56th out of 137 countries.
In reading, the United States ranks 24th out of 71 countries.
In terms of happiness, America’s rank is 24th out of 95.
In export sales, America is second out of 231 countries.
The country ranks 12th out of 180 in terms of internet speed.
America is the second-largest car market out of 10.
In obesity, the U.S. rank is 35th out of 44 countries.
And it ranks 71st out of 134 in terms of the safest countries.