Bill Gates and Michelle Obama top global list of most admired people in the world

U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on stage after delivering his farewell address at the McCormick Place, on January 10, 2017 in Chicago, United States.
Bilgin Sasmaz | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

After an international book tour that took her around the world promoting her bestselling memoir, "Becoming," it's hardly a surprise that former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama tops the list of the world's most admired woman in 2019.

International market research firm YouGov published its annual study of the most admired public figures in the world earlier this month.

Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Queen Elizabeth II and Emma Watson made up the world's top five most admired women. Bill Gates, former President Barack Obama, Jackie Chan, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese businessman Jack Ma are the top five most admired men in the world. Gates holds his No. 1 spot as the world's most admired man for the fifth year in a row.


YouGov conducted its poll in 41 countries with over 42,000 interview participants. Online surveys asked respondents to choose those they most admired from a list of 30 people, all of whom had received the most nominations from a previous online survey, and then to choose one person they most admire. The final figures were ranked by calculating the percentage share of admiration each public figure received.

The list of the top 20 most admired men saw two new additions, Indian actors Shah Rukh Khan (No. 16) and Salman Khan (No. 18). But the top 20 most admired women saw five newcomers in 2019, including Melania Trump (No. 19) and Ellen DeGeneres (No. 15). Entertainers – actresses, singers and television personalities – made up majority of the world's most admired women, while politicians, businessmen and athletes dominated the world's most admired men.

When surveying the most admired men and women in the U.S., political figures made up the majority. The Obamas remained in first place, followed by President Donald Trump. Ruth Bader Ginsburg moved up to No. 2 on the nation's most admired women list.

The Obamas were also the most admired people in countries other than the U.S., including Germany, France, Mexico and Singapore.

Democratic presidential contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders made it into the top 10 most admired men in the U.S., while Elizabeth Warren ranked No. 13 among the most admired women in the U.S.

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