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World Math Rankings By Country

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

Though the concept of mathematics is relatively the same worldwide, the general performance and attitude towards the subject differ from country to country.

Many researchers have embarked on an annual ranking for top scientists in mathematics, drawing the whole picture of how different countries perform in mathematics science.

The Purpose of Math Ranking By Country

Mathematics is the science and study of quality, structure, space, and change, either as abstract concepts (pure mathematics) or applied to other disciplines such as physics and engineering (applied mathematics).

The ranking of maths scholars in different countries is designed to offer the academic community more exposure and visibility to the influential contributions made by those at the forefront of mathematics.

The ranking also inspires researchers, decision-makers, and entrepreneurs around the world to find out where leading maths experts are heading. It’s a great opportunity to learn about leading experts in different countries, universities, and research institutions.

Math Rankings by Country

Mathematicians seek patterns, formulate new speculations, and establish facts by rigorous deduction from appropriately established formulas and definitions.

Apart from the historical reason, other factors like socioeconomic motives, the rigor of math, and the rise of the computer industry have influenced maths performance in different countries.

For the 2022 edition of the maths ranking by country, over 3,707 maths scientists were examined, with several indicators and metrics reviewed to consider each scientist’s inclusion in the ranking.

Scholars from the United States dominated the ranking, with 458 scientists representing 45.8% of leading mathematics scientists. Other countries with leading positions in the ranking are the United Kingdom with 6.3%, Germany with 6%, France with 5.3%, and China with 4.3%.

Top Ten Countries with the Highest Math Ranking:

  1. United States — 45.8%
  2. United Kingdom — 6.3%
  3. Germany — 6%
  4. France — 5.3%
  5. Canada — 3.8%
  6. Italy — 3.1%
  7. Australia — 3.8%
  8. Switzerland — 2.0%
  9. Australia — 1.8%

American universities led by Princeton University constituted 90% of the top 10 leading institutions in mathematics, the only non-American institution being Swiss ETH Zurich in the 10th position with 12 maths scientists.

Number of Leading Math Scientists by Country

Scientists from the United States dominate the list, with 458 scholars included in 2022, representing 45.8% of the full ranking. 7 out of 10 scientists in the top 1% were from the U.S., while the other three were from the United Kingdom, Israel, and Turkey.

The U.K ranked second with 63 scientists, and the third spot was taken by Germany, which produced 60 ranking scientists. The other leading countries were France with 53 scientists, China with 47 scientists, Canada with 38 scientists, and Italy with 31 scholars.

Comparison with 2021 Secondary Schools Maths Rankings by Country

In the 2021 ranking, the United States dropped from the second spot in 2020 to the third spot in 2021 in a ranking of secondary school students’ performance in international science and math competitions.

Behind China and Russia, the U.S ranked third in science and math competitions. China ranked first in 2021, and the Russian Federation moved up from the third spot to the second spot, swapping places with the U.S.

The U.S was followed in the rankings by TaiwanSingapore, the Republic of Korea, VietnamRomaniaHong Kong and Iran, respectively.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide study by OECD in nearly 80 nations of 15-year-old  students’ scholastic performance on mathematics, science and reading.

More about PISA

PISA 2018 – Average Score of Mathematics, Science and Reading:

1.China (Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang)578.7
4.Hong Kong, China530.7
7.South Korea519.7
United Kingdom503.7
15.New Zealand502.7
22. Switzerland498.0
25.United States495.0

What Is Pisa


The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students’ reading, mathematics, and science literacy every three years. First conducted in 2000, the major domain of study rotates between reading, mathematics, and science in each cycle. PISA also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies, such as collaborative problem solving. By design, PISA emphasizes functional skills that students have acquired as they near the end of compulsory schooling. PISA is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries, and is conducted in the United States by NCES. Data collection for the most recent assessment was completed in Fall 2018.

PISA 2018 assessed students’ science, reading, and mathematics literacy in about 80 countries and education systems. Reading was the focal subject of the 2018 data collection, as it was in 2009. PISA 2018 also included the optional assessment of financial literacy which the United States administered. Data from the core 2018 reading, mathematics, science literacy, and financial literacy assessment are now available.

The most recent PISA results are from 2018 and are available here. More information about PISA and resources, including the OECD’s PISA reports, PISA assessment frameworks, and international data files, are available at the OECD’s website.

1. What subject areas are assessed in PISA?

PISA measures student performance in reading, mathematics, and science literacy. Conducted every 3 years, each PISA data cycle assesses one of the three core subject areas in depth (considered the major or focal subject), although all three core subjects are assessed in each cycle (the other two subjects are considered minor domains for that assessment year). Assessing all three subjects every 3 years allows countries to have a consistent source of achievement data in each of the three subjects while rotating one area as the primary focus over the years. In addition to the core assessments, education systems may participate in optional assessments such as financial literacy and problem solving. More information on the PISA assessment frameworks can be found at:

In 2018, reading literacy was the major subject area, as it was in 2009 and 2000. In addition to the core assessment in science, reading, mathematics literacy, the 2018 cycle included an optional financial literacy assessment. The United States participated in this optional assessment.

PISA administration cycle

Assessment year2000200320062009201220152018
Subjects assessedREADING
Problem solving
Problem solving
problem solving
Financial literacy
Financial literacy

NOTE: Reading, mathematics, and science literacy are all assessed in each assessment cycle of the Program for International Assessment (PISA). A separate problem-solving assessment was administered in 2003 and 2012, and financial literacy in 2012, 2015, and 2018. The subject in bolded all capital letters is the major or focal subject area for that cycle. As of the 2015 cycle, PISA is administered entirely on computer.


2. What are the components of PISA?

PISA 2018 consisted of a computer-based assessment of students’ science, reading and mathematics literacy. Countries could also opt to participate in an assessment of financial literacy. In each participating school, sampled students sat for a two-hour computer-based assessment that included a combination of science, reading, and mathematics items. A subsample of students who sat for the main assessment was asked to return for a second session in which they completed a computer-based assessment of financial literacy.

In 2018 PISA offered the following questionnaires:

  • Students completed a 45-minute student questionnaire providing information about their background, attitudes towards reading and learning strategies and experiences.
  • Students who were sampled to take the financial literacy assessment were asked to complete a separate questionnaire about their financial literacy background and experiences.
  • The principal of each participating school completed a 30-minute school questionnaire providing information on the school’s demographics and learning environment, among other topics.
  • A sample of teachers within each school were selected to complete a teacher questionnaire, designed to provide information on teachers’ backgrounds, education and professional development, and teaching practices. Ten language arts teachers and 15 non-language arts teachers eligible to teach the modal grade in which 15-year-olds are enrolled (10th grade in the United States) were sampled in each school. The teacher questionnaire was optional for countries. The United States implemented this questionnaire in 2018.
  • PISA also includes a questionnaire for students’ parents or guardians, though the United States has not administered this questionnaire.

The program for International Student Assessment or PISA is a highly revered examination globally. This assessment examination enables the politicians and policy makers of the state to assess the education system of their individual countries and also compare the same with the education system of other countries. Last year’s PISA results clearly point to the fact that UK’s reputation of being the most educated is at risk. UK thus currently ranks 25th for reading, 28th for maths and 16th for science. Poland however has a far better performance than UK, while Norway surpassed Poland’s results in academic standards.

Top 10 countries Best at Reading

  1. South Korea with an OECD score of 539
  2. Finland with an OECD score of 536
  3. Canada with an OECD score of 524
  4. New Zealand with an OECD score of 521
  5. Japan with an OECD score of 520
  6. Australia with an OECD score of 515
  7. Netherlands with an OECD score of 508
  8. Belgium with an OECD score of 506
  9. Norway with an OECD score of 503
  10. Estonia with an OECD score of 501

Top 10 countries Best at Mathematics

  1. South Korea with an OECD score of 546
  2. Finland with an OECD score of 541
  3. Switzerland with an OECD score of 534
  4. Japan with an OECD score of 529
  5. Canada with an OECD score of 527
  6. Netherlands with an OECD score of 526
  7. New Zealand with an OECD score of 526
  8. Belgium with an OECD score of 515
  9. Australia with an OECD score of 514
  10. Germany with an OECD score of 513

Top 10 countries Best at Science

  1. Finland with an OECD score of 554
  2. Japan with an OECD score of 539
  3. South Korea with an OECD score of 538
  4. New Zealand with an OECD score of 532
  5. Canada with an OECD score of 529
  6. Estonia with an OECD score of 528
  7. Australia with an OECD score of 527
  8. Netherlands with an OECD score of 522
  9. Germany with an OECD score of 520
  10. Switzerland with an OECD score of 517

Based on the literacy figures of the nations as estimated by PISA, the nations are categorized as literate nations or illiterate nations and based on which they are further categorized as, developed and underdeveloped nations.

Each country participating in the PISA assessment aims to deliver the best so that the overall picture of country becomes good. From the above data it is lucid that South Korea is best in reading as well as Mathematics, but Finland is the best in Science. However, from the bottom it appears that Estonia and Germany stand at last ranks in the top 10 list for Reading and Mathematics respectively whereas, Switzerland is at 10th rank of Science.