Pope Francis was the sole religious leader on YouGov’s “Most Admired” lists for 2021.

He was the 16th most admired man this year – up three spots from his 2020 ranking in which he was also the only religious leader.

Surveying over 42,000 people in 38 nations, respondents were presented with an open-ended question: “Thinking about people alive in the world today, which [man or woman] do you most admire?”

The results were divided into two top 20 lists – one for the most admired men and another for the most admired women. Rankings were based on the people receiving the highest number of nominations when they appeared on a list in at least four of the surveyed countries.

The top five women in 2021 were Michelle Obama, Angelina Jolie, Queen Elizabeth II, Oprah Winfrey and Scarlett Johansson, while the top five men were Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Xi Jinping, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jackie Chan.

The top four women were unchanged from 2020, with Scarlett Johansson rising two spots to fifth spot and Jennifer Lopez (number five in 2020) dropping out of the top 20.

On the men’s side, the only change in the top five was Ronaldo rising two spots to number four, replacing Narendra Modi (who dropped to number eight in 2021).

Gates was the most admired man from 2015-2019, dropping down to the number two spot in 2020, while President Obama held the number two spot from 2015-2019, before rising to number one last year.

Michelle Obama ranked fifth in 2015 and 2016, rising to number two in 2018, and then retaining the number one spot since 2019, while Jolie was number one from 2015-2018 before dropping to number three in 2019 and then rising to number two in 2020.

Of the top 20 women, eight are film or TV celebrities, seven are politicians and two are musicians.

Of the top 20 men, seven are politicians, five are celebrities from film or TV and three are athletes.

The full report is available here.

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