Special Report

Most Admired People of the Year

Who are the most admired men and women of the year? To answer that question, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the most recent survey data from two of the most widely cited admiration polls, YouGov and Gallup. Because these survey data were collected at the end of 2018, we exercised editorial discretion to take into account events in 2019, removing some names and adding others.

It is important to note that some of the world’s most admired individuals are not admired by all. U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who all made this list, enjoy enormous influence, support, and admiration, but they also have their detractors. The three leaders have been widely criticized, and large populations of people — both within their nations and around the world — disapprove of them.

Not all admired people stand at the head of their nations. Other most admired people on the list are politicians, actors, celebrities, entrepreneurs, sports figures, activists, jurists, and monarchs.

It will come as no surprise that, while polarizing politically and not liked by many in the United States, Barack and Michelle Obama are on the list and have been mainstays on most-admired lists since the Obamas occupied the White House in 2017. They remain in the public eye through speaking engagements and books they’ve authored. Obama, at age 58, will likely keep public profile for many years. Here are America’s five youngest presidents.

Actors such as Amitabh Bachchan from India and Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame have leveraged their celebrity to help improve the lives of the poor and empower women. Entrepreneur-turned philanthropist Bill Gates continues to raise health standards in impoverished nations through his foundation. 

At 86, Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues to burnish her progressive legacy on the Supreme Court despite a host of physical challenges, and 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II maintains a busy schedule as Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, now at 67 years. At the other end of the age spectrum, Greta Thunberg at 16-years-old is sounding the alarm over climate change, while Malala Yousafzai, the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17, continues to champion education for girls. These are 40 of history’s greatest women.

Click here to see the most admired people of the year