18 Reasons Why America Is No Longer the Greatest Country in the World

Most Americans still believe that America is one of the greatest countries in the world, but it’s plagued by issues that threaten its reputation as “the shining city on the hill.” Polarization, eroding civil liberties, and deteriorating mental health are some of the 18 reasons why America may not be the greatest country in the world. 

Political Polarization

Photo Credit: Melnikov Dmitriy/Shutterstock.

America has suffered from an increasingly polarized political landscape over the last decade, especially since the 2016 election, which has decreased bipartisan cooperation. There’s a decline in trust in political institutions and elected officials. The Pew Research Center reported last year that public trust in the federal government is “near record lows.”

Deterioration of Infrastructure 

Photo Credit: Sergii Kuchugurnyi/Shutterstock.

America’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and public transportation, needs upgrades and repairs. The Biden administration has implemented billions of dollars of spending on infrastructure, but it is lagging behind America’s competitors, especially China. The recent collapse of the Key Bridge in Baltimore highlights infrastructure developed for smaller boats, trains, and vehicles. 

Declining Global Influence 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Other nations, notably China, challenge America’s dominance in global affairs and point to the country’s problems as a byproduct of dysfunctional democracy. America’s military interventions in the Middle East post-9/11 and its recent disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan have damaged its international reputation. 

Environmental Degradation 

Photo Credit: leolintang/Shutterstock.

America’s slow response to climate change and the skepticism of some Republicans threaten the global effort to combat rising temperatures. Urbanization and industrialization also threaten wildlife and biodiversity across the nation. 

Issues with Gun Control 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

America has a uniquely high rate of gun-related deaths compared to other developed countries. Suicides account for over half of these deaths, and the country struggles with school shootings more than any other country. 

Erosion of Civil Liberties 

Photo Credit: Wileydoc/Shutterstock.

Brookings notes that the country is experiencing “two major forms of democratic erosion in its governing institutions: election manipulation and executive overreach.” Since 2010, American state legislatures have passed laws that aim to “reduce voters’ access to the ballot, politicize election administration,” and shut down electoral competition with extreme gerrymandering. 

Challenges in Innovation and Technology 

Photo Credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.

Other countries are leading in emerging technologies, including 5G and renewable energy. While America is at the forefront of the development of AI, regulatory and financial hurdles are impeding the growth of startups and innovation that will push the industry forward. 

Social Fragmentation 

Photo Credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.

Over the past decades, divides based on race, religion, and political ideology have grown among some Americans. The increasing trend of working from home has also led to a declining sense of community and increasing social isolation. 

Decline in Educational Standards

Photo Credit: BearFotos/Shutterstock.

The Hill recently reported that hopes that K-12 math scores would rebound after plummeting during the COVID-19 pandemic “have proven vain.” They’re the “worst they’ve been since the 1970s.” America is lagging in STEM and data literacy rankings globally. 

Deteriorating Mental Health 

Photo Credit: Ground Picture/Shutterstock.

There has been an alarming increase in anxiety, depression, and suicide rates in America, with 50,000 Americans taking their lives in 2022. A lack of widespread access to affordable and effective mental health care, along with a persistent stigma, is hindering individuals from seeking help. 

Consumerism and Materialism 

Photo Credit: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock.

High consumption levels have been shown to lead to unhappiness in the U.S. Due to the culture of consumerism, Americans are widely accepted as living in debt, which has led to environmental degradation from unsustainable consumption patterns. 

Immigration Challenges 

Photo Credit: blvdone/Shutterstock.

Immigration, particularly illegal immigration at the southern border, is a highly divisive issue in America. Challenges in integrating immigrants and avoiding a rise in xenophobia are significant issues, as is reforming immigration policies when Democrats and Republicans can’t reach an agreement. 

Rising Income Inequality

Photo Credit: Mattia Menestrina/Shutterstock.

Over recent decades, the income disparity between the wealthiest and the poorest in America has grown significantly, as has the gap between poorer and richer areas. The U.S. Department of Commerce reported last year that “geographic income inequality has risen more than 40% between 1980 and 2021.”

Education System Inequities 

Photo Credit: BlurryMe/Shutterstock.

Unequal access to quality education for students in poorer, marginalized communities, particularly in inner-city areas, is a significant problem in America. Persistent underfunding of these schools and disputes over curriculum content also reflect broader cultural wars. 

The Opioid Crisis 

Photo Credit: Steve Heap/Shutterstock.

Widespread addiction to opioids has plagued America since the 1990s, and today, deaths from overdose are among the leading causes of injury-related casualties in the country. Aggressive marketing of opioids by pharmaceutical companies in the 1990s led to thousands of deaths and lives ruined by addiction. The rise of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, over the past decade, with imports from China and Mexico, has compounded the problem. 

Erosion of Healthcare Quality

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Despite high spending, the American healthcare system isn’t known for being the most effective and struggles with significant administrative overheads. KFF notes that in “2022, 25.6 million nonelderly individuals were uninsured,” primarily “because the cost of coverage was too high.”

Economic Vulnerabilities 

Photo Credit: Victoria Labadie/Shutterstock.

America’s persistent trade deficits with key global partners and adversaries, as well as a growing national debt and concerns over fiscal sustainability over the past decade, have led some to worry about economic vulnerability. However, the economy is doing well, with low unemployment levels, rising wages, and inflation falling. 

Media Polarization 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Over the past few decades, there has been increasing polarization within the media, with news outlets devoting more airtime to opinion shows catering to specific ideological audiences. The news media in America plays a significant role in shaping political views and is partly responsible for the polarized political climate.

Read More: 17 Things Society Can No Longer Do Because Gen Z Said So

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Gen Z, our digital-native, trendsetting generation, is making waves in the cultural sea, steering the ship of societal norms in fresh and unexpected directions. As they charter new territories, there are certain practices they’d rather we say goodbye to. Curious? Let’s take a look at 17 things the rest of us can no longer do because Gen Z said so.

17 Things Society Can No Longer Do Because Gen Z Said So

19 Big Mistakes People Make After Losing a Spouse

Photo Credit: Blue Titan/Shutterstock.

Losing a spouse is one of life’s most tragic experiences, and when we’re overwhelmed by grief, we might make some decisions that we’ll later regret. Here are 19 mistakes people make after losing their spouse.

19 Big Mistakes People Make After Losing a Spouse

20 Time-Honored Practices Our Grandparents Followed That We Should Bring Back

Photo Credit: Zoran Zeremski/Shutterstock.

Our grandparents had a far simpler life. There was no such thing as social media. Instead, there was more walking and meals were always fresh and homemade. With so many things keeping us busy nowadays, sometimes life would seem much easier if we lived the way our grandparents did.

20 Time-Honored Practices Our Grandparents Followed That We Should Bring Back

19 Common Behaviors of Highly Intelligent People

Photo Credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock.

Intelligent individuals often display a range of behaviors and qualities that set them apart from others. When exploring these characteristics, it’s crucial to comprehend that intelligence is a multifaceted attribute. Here are 19 essential behaviors and qualities frequently observed in highly intelligent people.

19 Common Behaviors of Highly Intelligent People

17 Things We Were Taught in High School That We Now Know Aren’t True

Photo Credit: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.

Well, this one may depend on when you went to high school, but for this millennial, these are the things we were taught in high school that have been proven not to be true. Personally, I still want to go back and correct every teacher who told me I wouldn’t always have a calculator in my pocket; the joke is on them.

17 Things We Were Taught in High School That We Now Know Aren’t True