10 Best Countries to Live In
In the past I’ve reported on various rankings of countries including the smartest countries, the happiest countries, the best countries for entrepreneurs, the most competitive countries for business, the most peaceful countries in the world and even the most reputable country and today I’m adding to this list with the best country to live. The determination for this list of the best countries to live in is by citizen satisfaction. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released their Better Life Index and MSN.comused that report as the basis of this top 10 ranking. The OECD used the following 11 variables to ascertain a comprehensive look at citizen satisfaction in this Better Life Index: housing, income, jobs, community, education, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety, and work-life balance. The top ten countries in order are:
- 10. Luxembourg, ranked 11th last year. It seemed that a strong sense of community and active citizen participation is what brought up the ranking of this nation with a population of 509,000.
- 9. New Zealand, ranked 4th last year. Though they have an employment rate of 72% (higher than the OECD average of 66%), their after tax average income of $18,601 is $5,000 less than the OECD average.
- 8. Netherlands, ranked 10th last year. While some surveys have proved that finances are not the key to happiness, the Netherlands are certainly trying to become the exception. The average household wealth is $61,157, which is way above the OECD average of $36,238.
- 7. Switzerland, ranked 8th last year. Education and employment seem to be why the Swiss are happy. 87% of citizens have at least a high school diploma and 79% of workers under 64 are employed, and they earn $5,000 more than the OECD average. Their happiness is not all based on money as 76.4 % of citizens say they have more positive than negative experiences each day which is also above the OECD average.
- 6. Canada, ranked 2nd last year. Even with the drop to number six, Canadians have a lot to be proud of including health care, community and environment but what really sets Canada apart is its safety. 87% of Canadians say they feel safe walking alone at night where as the OECD average is 67%.
- 5. Denmark, ranked 6th last year. Citizen ranked their general satisfaction with life a 7.8 out of 10, where as the OECD average was 6.7.
- 4. Sweden, ranked 3rd last year. What allowed Sweden to rank this high on the list is its environment. They have the best air quality on the OECD list. Not to mention, 96% of citizens were happy with their water quality when the OECD average being 84%.
- 3. United States, ranked 7th last year. When it comes to the American dream, money seems to be the key. Surprisingly, Americans have the largest amount of disposable income on the list. The average American makes $38,000 after taxes, where as the OECD average is $22,387.
- 2. Norway, ranked 5th last year. Norway really doesn’t believe money doesn’t buy happiness as the average citizen rates their happiness a 7.6 out of ten (one of the higher rates in the OECD), yet the average household worth is $6,197. This number is below the OECD average of $36,238.
- 1. Australia, ranked 1st last year. It seems that a sense of community is what makes Australians happy because they spend an average of six minutes a day volunteering well above the OECD average. Also, 65% of citizens have helped a stranger, which is above the OECD average of 47%.
This list proves that no one factor is the key to happiness. Canada may have ranked second last year but being in the top ten is quite an achievement. We’ll get back up there next year.
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