When it comes to choosing the best country to live in, the answer you come up with might differ from the answers of other people, especially because it all depends on what you are using to define a country as being the best. Whether it’s happiness levels, overall financial stability, type of climate, or something completely unrelated to any of these suggestions, the definition of the number one country to live in is entirely subjective.
That said, there have been many surveys conducted regarding the overall consensus as to which countries are superior in terms of livability. Various news outlets and data collectors have unveiled their findings as to which countries people view as being the best to call home.
You may have heard of the method of conducting surveys of this magnitude before, but just in case you are less familiar with it, let’s review the process of figuring out which countries are the best ones to reside in, according to a variety of factors.
Arguably the most comprehensive and practical analysis of which countries are best to live in comes from the Human Development Report. Composed by the United Nations, this annual report expresses global satisfaction with life, offering an overview of what it's like to be alive on Earth in this day and age. It is easily one of the top resources for determining which countries have the happiest, healthiest, and most stable populations compared to everywhere else in the world. Essentially, the Human Development Report summarizes how people feel about our planet as a whole, and then it goes on to discuss, in detail, which countries are best to live in, thus comparing the most satisfied populations with the most unhappy countries in the world.
The variables that this official UN report takes into account include equality among genders, literacy, average life expectancy, and financial stability. For the sake of this article, we will abide by the regulations put forward by the United Nations in drafting and publishing this report on the best countries to live in around the world. If you have other factors that you deem to be important to consider, then by all means come to a conclusion of your own. These are the claims of one report, but that does not mean other countries are not amazing as well.
Without further ado, here are the top places to live according to the United Nations' Human Development Report, in descending order:
So, the report determines that the best country to live in is Norway! Let’s talk about all the reasons why each country made the list, as well as the primary factor that sets Norway apart from all other countries around the globe.
The United Nations listed Norway as the best country to live in primarily because all of the factors the researchers took into consideration were good marks on behalf of Norway. The European country excels in all the areas that the UN looked at, which you could say is purely based on luck. However, even so, Norway is a good fit for the credentials that the United Nations took into account, which is impressive altogether. People in Norway live to be upwards of eighty-two years old, on average.
The UN attributes this wonderful statistic to the healthcare system that is in place in Norway. Norwegians are covered by a healthcare system funded by the general public, so unlike places such as the United States, residents of Norway receive healthcare and medical attention no matter what. It is not a burden or a privilege for people in Norway to get the professional help and annual checkups that are so necessary for overall health, leading to a higher life expectancy overall.
2 (tie). Ireland
Ireland is an amazing place to live because it is one of the safest countries around the world. The levels of criminal activity in Ireland are lower than ever, and the prevalence of homicidal behavior is at a bare minimum.
2 (tie). Switzerland
The health of people who live in Switzerland is outrageously impressive. Like Norway, Switzerland’s life expectancy was a factor the United Nations applauds Switzerland for, particularly due to the lack of fatal diseases present in the residents of Switzerland. Surprisingly, even though Switzerland was beat by Norway for the title of the number one country to live in, Switzerland’s life expectancy is slighter higher than that of Norway. People in Switzerland live to be about eighty-three years old. Switzerland is a prime example of how taking care of yourself will result in wondrous things, but this is a privilege that not all countries award their citizens.
4 (tie). Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong is a major international financial center with a high quality of life. Hong Kong has very low taxes, the highest income tax at 17%, making it attractive for businessmen. Additionally, like many of the other countries on this list, Hong Kong has very low crime rates despite being a very densely populated urban area. Many believe that Hong Kong is the perfect blend of East and West cultures with colonial buildings, temples, and ancient traditions and festivals living side-by-side with modern public transportation and tall glass skyscrapers.
4 (tie). Iceland
Iceland bodes well in terms of life expectancy and healthcare accessibility. The average lifetime of citizens in Iceland is around 83 years of age. There are still some places around the world where people do not live beyond forty years old, so Iceland is impressive for having a life expectancy of nearly double that of other countries.
Something that stands out a lot about Germany is that the country places an emphasis on education. Much like Australia, Germany values the education of its citizens. Nearly the entire population of Germany has received higher education, with only four percent of people in Germany having not endured college classes or post-graduate schooling.
Sweden has a strong social welfare system, providing strong healthcare and free education. Sweden’s social model focuses on growth, equality, freedom, and security. Sweden also has great conditions for workers, such as a minimum of five weeks vacation and a government organization that supports entrepreneurs looking to start a company. Lastly, like the other Nordic countries, Sweden has very low rates of violent crime (1.14 incidents per 100,000 people) and ranks well for overall health and wellbeing.
8 (tie). Australia
As the eighth best country to live in according to the Human Development Report, Australia is praised by the United Nations for its emphasis on education and the importance of going to school. There is a healthy level of pressure to not only attend school, but to perform exceptionally and take pride in academic marks.
The average number of years that Australians attend school for is roughly twenty years old, meaning most Australian children remain enrolled in the education system until they graduate from an undergraduate college. As with every situation, there are exceptions, but the education in Australia accounts for more than five percent of the country’s GDP, so that’s something for which Australia deserves to be recognized.
8 (tie). The Netherlands
The Netherlands compares to Denmark in the sense that the Netherlands does not have as high of a wage gap as many countries around the world still do. In fact, the inequality rate among wages in the Netherlands is roughly 12.4% which sounds high, but if you return to the data about the wage gap percentage of the United States, you’ll find that the Netherlands still out does the USA in terms of fair pay across the board.
Denmark rounds out the top ten countries to live in, and it's easy to see why. For starters, "social trust", which measures people's trust in one another, their government, and public institutions such as police and hospitals, is very high in Denmark. Moreover, health care and education (even college) are completely free to all citzens. While Denmark is a global leader in industries including shipping, design, and architecture, it is also a green-forward country. Even in the capital city of Copenhagen, bikes often outnumber automobiles, and the country is constantly developing new methods of living cleaner and greener. Finally, the Danes have given the world the concept of "hygge" (pronounced "hooga"), a warm, very human term for time spent away from the hustle and bustle, peacefully relaxing and appreciating life's smaller joys, often with family and/or friends.