What we believe about a place can often be more powerful than the hard facts. A country's reputation can influence everything from foreign policy to foreign investment – to whether or not people want to visit or live there. One recent study by the Reputation Institute, a consultant and advisory firm specializing in reputation, sought to quantify the idea of the most well-thought-of countries. They measured 16 different factors – including being a beautiful and safe place to visit, and having friendly and welcoming residents, progressive policies and an effective government – via an online survey with more than 48,000 residents in the G8 countries, representing the world’s eight leading industrialized nations. The 55 countries rated as part of the survey include those with the largest GDPs, largest populations, and countries with relevant events. Sweden Newly ranked as the most reputable country in the world (knocking out Canada), Sweden hits all the marks of being safe, welcoming and beautiful, according to its residents. The county is also unique in Western Europe, having been spared from much of the impact of World War II and remaining neutral today. Canada Despite dropping to second on the list, Canadians speak more positively than ever about their home country, especially as the government continues an "arms wide open" approach to Syrian refugees. Canada also scores high for being one of the world’s safest countries. That doesn't mean it's without its problems. "It isn't a utopia. We have crime. We have gangs," Arnold explained. "But we also have a strong social safety net and a shared commitment to values like mutual respect and joyful multiculturalism. Switzerland While natural beauty may be a matter of luck, factors like friendly residents and progressive policies come down to a country's wealth and culture, both of which Switzerland has in spades, explained Jason Li, who lived in Switzerland for three years and now lives in Canberra, Australia. "It’s needless to say that Switzerland is a wealthy country. It has a long tradition of organized hospitality ever since the days of the grand tours of the English aristocracy and Thomas Cook’s first organized tours of the country in 1841," he said. "Twenty percent of Swiss residents are expats, and tourism is a significant industry, so those who work in hospitality and tourism are accustomed to dealing with foreigners." Australia The land down under is loved by residents for its feelings of safety, security and peacefulness, driven in some part by the country's stance on firearms. "Australia banned guns few decades back, which means that gun violence is minimal," said Ganesh Krishnan, originally from India who currently lives in Melbourne. "Here in Melbourne we can be assured that we can walk free of fear anytime, night or day, on the streets." Norway As a safe and scenic country, Norway more than lives up to its reputation according to residents. "The prejudices about Norway are all true: the people are beautiful, gender equality is anchored in daily life and the natural scenery is breathtaking," said Barbara Schwendtner, an Oslo resident from Austria, and a guide for Your Local Cousin, a travel startup that matches travelers with locals. Norway is also a rich country, and is both investing oil money in development and saving in funds for future generations.