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Australia is a top 20 country

Australia is renowned as a country that punches well above its weight across a broad range of measures against global counterparts. The material below provides quantification that Australia really is a top 20 country across a wide range of indexes including the economy, international trade and investment, education and other global indexes.


  • Australia is in its 27th consecutive year of annual economic growth, one of the few economies in the post‑WWII period to achieve this – (2017-18) (Australian Bureau of Statistics)
  • Australia is the 2nd wealthiest nation in terms of wealth per adult after Switzerland – (2017)
    (Global Wealth Report, Credit Suisse)
  • The Australian dollar is the 5th most traded currency – (2016) (Bank of International Settlements)
  • Australia has the world’s 6th largest pool of investment funds under management (US$2.1 trillion). However, within Asia Australia is ranked 1st – (2017) (Investment Company Institute)
  • Australia is estimated to have the world’s 13th highest GDP and 11th highest GDP per capita (in US dollar terms) – (2017) (International Monetary Fund)
  • The Australian Stock Exchange is the 16th largest stock exchange in the world (by domestic market capitalisation) – (2017) (World Federation of Exchanges)

International trade and investment

  • Australia is the number one global exporter of iron orecoal and unwrought lead, the 2nd largest exporter of aluminium ores and the 3rd largest exporter of copper ores and zinc ores (by value) – (2017)
    (United Nations Comtrade database)
  • Australia is the 4th largest global exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) (by quantity) – (2017)
    (United Nations Comtrade database)
  • Australia is the 3rd largest global exporter of zircon and pearls and the 7th largest exporter of gold (by value) – (2017) (United Nations Comtrade database)
  • Australia is the 2nd largest exporter of beef and lentils, the 3rd largest exporter of and sugar, and the 5th largest exporter of wine (by value) – (2017)
    (United Nations Comtrade database)
  • Australia is the largest global exporter of wool and 2nd largest exporter of cotton (by value) – (2017)
    (United Nations Comtrade database)
  • Australia is the 9th largest global exporter of vegetables, 10th largest exporter of oleaginous fruit and 12th largest exporter of dairy products (by value) – (2017) (United Nations Comtrade database)
  • Australia is the 15th largest exporter of orthopaedic appliances (by value) – (2017)
    (United Nations Comtrade database)
  • Australia receives the 10th largest international tourist spend from overseas visitors – (2016)
    (United Nations World Development Indicators)
  • Australia attracted the 13th largest amount of inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Australian investors contributed the 17th highest amount of outward FDI globally (based on FDI stocks) – (2017)
    (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development – UNCTAD)

Doing business

  • Australia is ranked equal 2nd (with Japan) on the Web ParticipationIndex – (2016)
    (World Wide Web Foundation)
  • Australia is ranked 5th for economic freedom – (2018) (Index of Economic Freedom)
  • Australia is ranked 5th on the Global Entrepreneurship Index – (2018)
    (The Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute)
  • Australia is ranked 8th on economic resilience – (2018) (IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook)
  • Australia is ranked 11th on the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (Sydney is ranked 20th) – (2018)
    (Global Talent Competitiveness Index Report)
  • Australia is ranked 12th on business environment for 2018-22 – (Economist Intelligence Unit)
  • Australia is ranked 14th on ease of doing business – (2018) (World Bank Group)
  • Australia is ranked 15th on world digital competitiveness – (2017)
    (IMD World Digital Competitiveness Rankings)
  • Australia is ranked 19th on world competitiveness (2018) (IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook)
  • Australia is ranked 19th on world talent (2017) (IMD World Talent Ranking)

Education and training

  • Australia is the 3rd largest destination for international students(tertiary) behind the United States and the United Kingdom – (2016) (UNESCO)
  • Australia has the 4th highest number of universities in the world’s top 100 (University of Melbourne ranked 39th, University of Queensland 55th, Monash University 78th, University of Sydney 83rd, University of Western Australia 91st, Australian National University 97th) – (2017)
    (Academic Ranking of World Universities)
  • Australia is ranked 4th on secondary education enrolment rates – (2017-18)
    (World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index)
  • Australia is ranked 5th on internet access in schools – (2017-18)
    (World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index)
  • Australia has the 8th highest proportion of 25-64 year olds with tertiary qualifications – (2016)
    (OECD Education at a Glance 2017)

Health and lifestyle

  • Australia is ranked 1st for well-being with six states in the top 10 regions (ACT ranking 1st, WA 2nd, QLD 3rd, VIC 4th, NSW 6th and SA equal 9th – (June 2016) (OECD Regional Well-being)
  • Australia is ranked 2nd on the Youth well-being Index (2017) (International Youth Foundation)
  • Australia has 3 cities in the world’s top 10 most liveable cities ranking (Melbourne 1st for the seventh consecutive year, Adelaide equal 5th and Perth 7th) – (2017)
    (Economist Intelligence Unit Global Liveability Ranking)
  • Australia’s capital, Canberra, is ranked 3rd as one of the top cities to visit – (2017)
    (Lonely Planet, Best in Travel 2018)
  • Australia is ranked 3rd on the digital life index – (2016) (Telefónica Index on Digital Life)
  • Australia is ranked 7th on the Travel & Tourism CompetitivenessIndex ( 2017) (World Economic Forum)
  • Australia is ranked 9th globally on prosperity – (2017) (Legatum Institute)
  • Australia is ranked equal 6th (with Greece and Belgium) on the Passport Index – (2018) (Henley & Partners)
  • Australians have the 10th highest life expectancy – (2016) (World Bank World Development Indicators)
  • Australia is the 12th most instagrammed country of all time on social media site Instagram (with 23.5 million posts so far of Tourism Australia’s @Australia account) – (2016) (Business Insider)
  • Australia had highest medal tally at the 2018 Commonwealth Gameswith 80 gold medals – (2018)
    (Gold Coast 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games)

Governance and human development

  • Australia is ranked equal 1st on customs transparency – (2016)
    (World Economic Forum Global Enabling Trade Report)
  • Australia is ranked equal 2nd (with Switzerland) on the UN’s Human Development Index after Norway (2015) (United Nations Development Programme)
  • Australia is ranked 3rd on efficiency in enforcing contracts – (2016)
    (World Economic Forum Global Enabling Trade Report)
  • Australia is ranked 4th on legal rights – (2017-18) (World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index)
  • Australia is ranked 9th on the Inclusive Development Index– (2018) (World Economic Forum, the Inclusive Development Index)
  • Australia is ranked 10th on the Rule of Law Index – (2017-18) (World Justice Project)
  • Australia is ranked equal 13th  (with Hong Kong and Iceland) on transparency (low incidence of corruption) – (2017) (Transparency International)

Global citizenship

  • Australians are the 6th most generous private donors in the world – (2016)
    (Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index)
  • Australia is ranked 8th globally on the Soft Power Index – (2017) (Portland Communications)
  • Australia is the 11th largest financial contributor to the United Nations peacekeeping budget and the 12th largest contributor to the United Nations regular budget – (2017) (United Nations)
  • Australia is the 14th largest country donor for Official Development Assistance (ODA) – (2016) (OECD)

Geography and biodiversity

  • Australia’s search and rescue region comprises 10% of the earth’s surface
    (Australian Maritime Safety Authority Corporate Plan)
  • Australia has the world’s 3rd largest marine jurisdiction of 13.86 million square kilometres
    (Department of Industry)
  • Australia has the 6th largest land size – (2017) (World Bank World Development Indicators)
  • Australia is home to between 600,000 and 700,000 species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world (Department of the Environment and Energy)

Sources: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 

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