U.S. Slides on List of World’s Most Networked Economies

Europe is the most networked region in the world, with 12 economies ranked among the 20 top performers according to The Global Information Technology Report 2009-2010, from the World Economic Forum, a non-profit organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. Sweden, Singapore, Denmark and Switzerland were the top four countries followed by the U.S., which slid from third to fifth place in this year’s survey. China and India continued their upward march rising 9 and 11 places to 37th and 43rd, respectively.

The networked readiness ranking is significant because the ability to leverage information and communications technology (ICT) is critical to sustaining long-term economic growth, according to the report’s authors. Bloggers from various media outlets expressed concerns about the eroding U.S. ranking. Their sentiments are best summarized in a post by Laura Sydell writing for NPR. The U.S. was rated number one back in 2005, according to Sydell. She cites these factors from the report as some of the chief reasons for the U.S. slide:

The US ranked 22 among the percentage of people who have broadband subscriptions and number 48 on the quality of our science and math education. This seems rather distressing for a nation that invented the Internet. And one more zinger of a number: I know you think everyone’s chatting away on the cell in every car and every restaurant, but the US ranked 72 in the number of mobile phone subscriptions.

Here is a list of the top 10 countries, based on the Networked Readiness Index 2009-2010:

  1. Sweden ranked first in 2009-2010, compared to its 2nd-place ranking 2008-2009.
  2. Singapore ranked second in 2009-2010, compared to 4th 2008-2009
  3. Denmark ranked 3rd in 2009-2010, compared to being first in 2008-2009.
  4. Switzerland ranked 4th in 2009-2010, compared to 5th in 2008-2009.
  5. United States ranked 5th in 2009-2010, compared 3rd in 2008-2009.
  6. Finland ranked 6th in 2009-2010. It was was ranked 6th 2008-2009.
  7. Canada ranked 7th in 2009-2010, compared to 10th  2008-2009.
  8. Hong Kong SAR ranked 8th in 2009-2010, compared to 12th in 2008-2009.
  9. Netherlands ranked 9th in 2009-2010. It was ranked 9th in 2008-2009.
  10. Norway ranked 10th, compared to 8th in 2008-2009.

Are you surprised by these results? Are the researchers correct, has a lack of network readiness exacerbated our stalled economy?

Leslie Stevens-Huffman