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Global Cultural Influence Survey – Top 5 Countries

World influence depends on many things and countries are globally recognized in different ways. Some states are distinguished in terms of tourism, economic strength or perhaps global cultural influence.

Recently, the U.S. News & World Report ranked the top countries in the world based on their cultural impact on global society. The magazine looked at factors that influenced global cultures such as fashion, fine dining, quality of lifestyle and the extent to which music and entertainment from that country found its way into other cultures.

The magazine partnered with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the BAV Group to undertake a survey of 21,000 people from 80 countries spread over four regions of the world.

It takes time to develop a good reputation, and it is not surprising that Europe continued to lead the rankings in many ways. Italy came in as the top-ranked country due to its influence concerning food, fashion and classical art. Following Italy in the top five were France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Splitting the European countries and coming in at No. 3 was the United States. The bottom half of the top 10 included Japan, Switzerland, Brazil, Australia and Sweden.

Unsurprisingly, countries that had dictatorships or totalitarian regimes in power fared very poorly in the survey. It is highly unlikely that countries such as Iran and Algeria would be able to influence world culture.


When examining the top five countries, it is clear that the people who live there are very patriotic. Italian designers such as Armani, Valentino and Versace undoubtedly pushed Italy’s score regarding fashion and being trendy very high. This score would have been closely followed by their food score.

Almost every country in the world has a little Italian restaurant and pasta is a universal staple. Italian design for everything from furniture to automobiles is well known all over the world.


Second on the list was France. Again, fashion placed high on the list, as every lady aspires to be dressed by a French fashion house. Chanel and Dior are synonymous with style all over the world.

Chefs have aspired to reach the pinnacle of French cooking and restaurants worldwide offer this type of cuisine. French wines sell very well and winemakers in other countries use French wines as their benchmark for excellence. Not only is France well known for its food and fashion, but its history and art collections are unrivaled elsewhere.

United States of America

Coming in at No. 3 was the United States. The influence of American culture on the world stretches from blue jeans to hamburgers and almost everything in between. The power of dreaming of improving one’s situation, the so-called ‘American Dream,’ is not only restricted to people who live in America and is often heard where anyone aspires to a better life.

The music coming out of America, as well as the influence that Hollywood has on the world, cannot be underestimated — even people living under strict control in individual countries will listen to illicit radio stations playing American music and aspire to own consumer items made famous in America.


Next was Spain. This country was one of the significant colonizers of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and its influence was spread all over the world by the conquistadors — especially in South America and the East Indies. Spanish is the second-most commonly spoken language across the world, and Spanish movies and music are consumed seemingly everywhere.

Spanish food, especially tapas, has spread globally and the concept of small nibbles on a plate has gained popularity with countries adding their own delicacies to this form of eating.

The Spanish way of life, with long lunches and the concept that family and friends are the most essential part of one’s life, is admired globally and slowly gaining acceptance in those countries with a faster-paced lifestyle.

United Kingdom

Position No. 5 belongs to the United Kingdom. From this country, the world has received a strong work ethic, creativity, innovation, bravery and a never-give-up attitude. The influence of the English language as a de facto global business language has had a significant impact on global culture.

London remains one of the world’s major financial and business centers, and its museums, concert venues and theatre district all strongly influence world culture. Not only is England accepted as a world leader, but Scotland and Wales are also influential.

Culture is flexible and morphs and develops over time. Countries that influence world culture are those that set trends regarding education and support of their people. If people are well educated and happy, they will naturally gravitate toward creativity and things like art and music will expand. These will naturally lead to higher standards in other spheres. Soon, the world takes notice and those ideas begin to be copied around the globe.