Donald Trump has promised to “make America great again.”
Hillary Clinton thinks it’s already an “exceptional nation.”
How does the US measure up to the rest of the world on key issues that are important to voters? Here’s what we found:
The economy is the top issue for voters, according to a July survey from the Pew Research Center. But if high unemployment rates were an issue during the 2008 and 2012 races (6.1% and 7.8%), that isn’t the case this year.
America’s jobless rate is hovering around 4.9%. It’s the tenth best among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – a group that includes the world’s richest nations.
But if the jobless rate is declining, income inequality is on the rise.
The US scores an abysmal 0.39 on the Gini Coefficient, which measures how evenly income is distributed. According to this metric, a score of 0 would mean every person made the same amount of money – and a score of 1 would mean all the income was made by one person.
In simple terms: America’s rich are getting richer and its poor are getting poorer.
Health care is a key issue for many voters, and that’s no surprise – the US spends more on health care per person than any other high-income country in the world.
On average, Americans dish out $1,810 more per head than the next highest spenders in Luxembourg, twice as much as Canadians, and almost nine times more than Mexicans, according to our calculations based on OECD data.
However, the extra money doesn’t deliver better health-related outcomes. Studies have shown that Americans have a shorter life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic illnesses than citizens of most other wealthy nations.
An estimated 310 million guns are owned by American civilians, according to the US Department of Justice, while the US Census Bureau estimates the current population of the US at 324 million people.
The US has more guns per capita than any other country in the world – and one of the highest rates of death by firearm in the developed world, according to World Health Organization data.
Our calculations based on OECD data show that Americans are 51 times more likely to be killed by gunfire than in the United Kingdom.
The US is home to the most immigrants in the world – 19% of the world’s total.
But when it comes to refugees – last year 65 million people were displaced worldwide – countries in the Middle East and Africa take the most.
Of particular concern are the nearly five million Syrians who have fled since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011.
Many voters are worried about an influx of Syrian refugees, but the US has accepted far fewer refugees than other Western countries.
Germany has vowed to resettle one million Syrians. Canada said it would welcome 25,000. The US admitted just 1,900 Syrian refugees in the first four years of that country’s conflict, although the number was expected to increase to more than 10,000 by the end of the fiscal year.
Last December, 193 countries signed the Paris Agreement, a landmark deal that requires every country to reduce greenhouse emissions.
President Barack Obama called the treaty “a turning point for the world,” but his successor will have to take drastic steps to decrease the country’s huge carbon footprint.
China overtook the US as the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gasses nearly a decade ago – but in the developed world, the US is still the worst carbon polluter per capita, according to the World Bank.
Abortion is another hot-button issue for many voters.
America is one of around 60 countries that provides legal access to safe abortions. Although abortion has been legal since 1973, access to treatment depends on laws determined by each state.
Although it’s almost always a big issue in presidential campaigns, the number of abortions in the US has been generally declining since the 1990s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The terror threat also weighs heavily on the minds of many voters.
So how big of an impact does the threat of terror have on the US when compared to the rest of the world? Not very, according to the Global Terrorism Index.
Terrorism is highly concentrated in a small number of countries – and although the number of countries that have experienced a major terror attack is on the rise, the US still ranks low in both attacks and fatalities worldwide.
Victims of terror attacks are mostly from the Middle East and Africa.
Countries like India, Afghanistan and Pakistan have experienced terrorism over an extended period of time. Since 2000, the United States has only been featured once (in 2001) in the top ten countries most affected by terrorism.