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Standard of Living by Country | Quality of Life by Country 2024

Snapshot

  • Numbeo's Quality of Life Index, the U.S. News Best Countries Report, and the United Nations' Human Development Index provide distinct methodologies to measure and rank countries' quality of life or standard of living.

  • Norway, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, and Netherlands consistently ranked in the top 10 countries in terms of quality of life or standard of living according to the most recent data from all three mentioned institutions.

  • Safety, health care, economic factors (including affordability), and education are factors commonly used in assessments by Numbeo, U.S. News, and the United Nations.

Standard of living refers to the level of wealth, comfort, necessities, and material goods available to a particular geographic area. It is closely related to (and often used interchangeably with) quality of life, which is generally understood to include the same measures of prosperity as standard of living, but also incorporates physical and mental health and wellness. Because standard of living and quality of life are broad and slightly ambiguous terms, no universally agreed-upon technique exists for measuring them. So, statisticians invent all manner of interesting equations, systems, and surveys that attempt the unlikely task of boiling down quality of life (or on rarer occasions, standard of living) into a simple number.

The Quality of Life index

One of the most comprehensive equations is Numbeo's Quality of Life Index, which measures eight indices:

  • purchasing power (including rent)
  • safety
  • health care
  • cost of living
  • property price to income ratio
  • traffic commute time
  • pollution
  • climate.

Purchasing power, cost of living, and property price to income ratio are measures of the average citizen's financial wherewithal in a country, which connects directly to the standard of living. Traffic commute time is self-explanatory but vital (as any commuter will testify).

The safety index covers concerns about robberies, car theft, and other crimes, as well as the prevalence of drugs, property crime, violent crimes, and corruption and bribery. The health care index estimates the overall quality of the health care system, starting with costs to the patient and moving on to quality of care, equipment, doctors, and staff. The pollution index estimates the overall pollution in the country. Air pollution is given the greatest weight, followed by water pollution and access to clean water. The climate index is the climate likability of a given country. Countries with a climate index of 100 have moderate temperatures, low humidity, and no significant weather events or conditions. Here is the ordered list of countries based on these indices.

Top 10 Countries* with the Highest Quality of Life, mid-2023 - Numbeo

Country
QoL Numbeo
Netherlands200.1
Luxembourg200.1
Iceland191.1
Denmark190.6
Finland188.1
Switzerland185.8
Oman184.8
Austria183.3
Norway181.8
Spain177.7

*The full data for each list can be seen in the table further down this page. Clearly, Northern Europe is home to some very satisfied people. However, the Numbeo equation is far from the only one used to measure quality of life.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Quality of Life - U.S. News Best Countries Report 2023

The U.S. News and World Report's annual "Best Countries Report", assembled in partnership with the BAV Group and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, uses detailed surveys to track a similar, but different set of indicators. These include affordability, safety, the job market, level of income equality, economic and political stability, and the quality of public education and health systems. The Numbeo and the U.S. News lists include many of the same countries, but because of differences in either the survey questions or the methodologies, the countries are ordered differently on the two lists.

Top 10 Countries with Highest Human Development Index, 2021/2022 Report - United Nations

Despite its more academic name, the United Nations' Human Development Index (HDI) tracks many of the same factors as do Numbeo and the U.S. News to measure quality of life or standard of living. However, while most of the surveys on this page are based upon exactly that—surveys—the HDI is based more on empirical data, such as life expectancy, years of schooling, and GNI per capita. Nonetheless, many of the same countries appear in the top 10.

Source

While Numbeo and U.S. News largely rely on surveys and subjective perceptions to rank quality of living, the United Nations' Human Development Index (HDI) primarily uses empirical (objective) data, such as life expectancy and GNI per capita.

  • Data from Numbeo Quality of Life Index pertains to the year 2023 (mid-year)
  • Data from US Today Best Countries Quality of Life pertains to the year 2022
  • Data from CEO World Quality of Life Index pertains to the year 2021
  • Data from the UN Human Development Index pertains to the years 2021-22

Download Table Data

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Country
QoL Numbeo
QoL US News
QoL CEO World
HDI-UN
Switzerland185.8594.40.96
Norway181.8496.750.96
Iceland191.184.960.96
Hong Kong105.584.640.95
Australia165.7688.230.95
Denmark190.6298.130.95
Sweden174.8396.150.95
Ireland153.21587.760.94
Germany176991.260.94
Netherlands200.1793.690.94
Finland188.1899.060.94
Singapore153.21687.640.94
Belgium156.41296.530.94
New Zealand170.91086.020.94
Canada156.4190.30.94
Liechtenstein84.750.94
Luxembourg200.185.080.93
United Kingdom164.21490.680.93
Japan175.51391.230.93
South Korea138.11889.670.93
United States1732089.110.92
Israel147.23684.430.92
Slovenia169.35476.770.92
Malta121.883.040.92
Austria183.31188.520.92
United Arab Emirates173.82483.790.91
Spain177.71987.620.91
France153.21792.080.9
Cyprus146.583.390.9
Italy140.32286.850.9
Estonia176.44882.870.89
Greece128.92683.390.89
Poland139.62581.820.88
Saudi Arabia150.73377.750.88
Lithuania160.45677.550.88
Bahrain76.760.88
Portugal166.52186.380.87
Latvia152.65080.680.86
Croatia161.63780.110.86
Andorra0.86
Chile99.14377.420.85
Qatar166.63482.240.85
Slovakia148.24681.080.85
Hungary131.63083.260.85
Argentina110.25981.930.84
Turkey118.34078.720.84
Montenegro38.560.83
Kuwait129.779.390.83
Russia104.23182.060.83
Romania129.94479.080.82
Oman184.87076.320.82
Bahamas0.81
Kazakhstan96.57175.450.81
Costa Rica76.460.81
Uruguay136.25576.560.81
Belarus1177276.460.81
Panama116.86277.950.81
Malaysia123.42882.340.8
Serbia113.17474.130.8
Georgia11668.730.8
Mauritius72.950.8
Thailand98.52982.690.8
Albania68.960.8
Bulgaria131.44279.460.8
Grenada0.8
Barbados0.79
Seychelles34.740.79
Sri Lanka76.55873.160.78
Iran77.673.080.77
Ukraine107.36178.860.77
North Macedonia109.472.020.77
China105.12382.80.77
Dominican Republic530.77
Moldova72.030.77
Palau0.77
Cuba72.740.76
Peru80.35778.770.76
Armenia61.620.76
Mexico1254181.460.76
Brazil106.85282.380.75
Colombia99.26077.160.75
Maldives67.650.75
Algeria80.960.74
Azerbaijan108.57371.010.74
Turkmenistan70.550.74
Tonga0.74
Ecuador119.86575.520.74
Mongolia63.840.74
Egypt88.65177.280.73
Tunisia6679.540.73
Fiji0.73
Suriname36.650.73
Uzbekistan7674.790.73
Jordan116.36871.150.72
Dominica34.190.72
Libya70.310.72
Paraguay73.590.72
Palestine0.71
Saint Lucia0.71
Guyana37.560.71
South Africa136.977.940.71
Jamaica65.010.71
Samoa0.71
Lebanon82.47776.770.71
Gabon68.060.71
Indonesia923578.860.7
Vietnam89.33278.490.7
Philippines82.13982.480.7
Botswana68.580.69
Bolivia0.69
Kyrgyzstan44.810.69
Venezuela74.473.660.69
Iraq7874.890.69
Tajikistan41.60.69
Morocco104.74779.690.68
Belize34.780.68
El Salvador7568.990.68
Nicaragua0.67
Bhutan80.780.67
Bangladesh69.577.220.66
Marshall Islands0.64
India116.13882.950.63
Ghana72.030.63
Micronesia0.63
Guatemala6474.110.63
Kiribati0.62
Honduras0.62
Namibia62.250.61
Laos0.61
Vanuatu0.61
Nepal75.660.6
Eswatini37.770.6
Equatorial Guinea56.80.6
Cambodia4969.180.59
Zimbabwe70.640.59
Angola72.570.59
Myanmar6771.380.58
Syria31.550.58
Cameroon70.610.58
Kenya103.56974.80.57
Zambia0.56
Solomon Islands0.56
Papua New Guinea0.56
Comoros33.140.56
Mauritania38.080.56
Ivory Coast70.140.55
Tanzania75.110.55
Pakistan101.457.180.54
Togo40.950.54
Nigeria49.575.490.54
Haiti46.910.54
Rwanda51.260.53
Uganda73.210.53
Benin53.410.53
Lesotho0.51
Malawi42.250.51
Senegal0.51
Djibouti35.390.51
Sudan31.670.51
Madagascar59.950.5
Gambia34.740.5
Ethiopia73.050.5
Eritrea43.950.49
Liberia35.610.48
Afghanistan68.50.48
Sierra Leone37.30.48
Guinea60.960.47
Yemen69.430.46
Burkina Faso64.420.45
Mozambique64.710.45
Mali68.090.43
Burundi36.550.43
Central African Republic35.130.4
Niger49.430.4
Chad58.230.39
South Sudan35.520.39
Taiwan144.9
Czech Republic162.3
showing: 178 rows

Which country has the best standard of living?

The country with the highest standard of living based on the Quality of Life Index is Netherlands. Switzerland has the highest Human Development Index, which measures similar factors.

Which country has the worst standard of living?

South Sudan has the world's worst standard of living based on the Human Development Index. Nigeria has the lowest Quality of Life Index rating among countries scored by Numbeo.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources