When it comes to standard of living, not all countries are created equal, and this is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a different country to live in. Before we move on to our top picks for the most liveable countries in the world, it’s important to remember that wherever you choose to live abroad for a few weeks or months, it’s vital to cover your entire travel period with a comprehensive travel insurance policy. Websites like InsureandGo.com.au offer a range of travel insurance options that can provide protection, just in case something goes wrong. Standard of living measures how well a country provides wealth and comfort to its citizens and residents. Factors that go into ranking a country’s standard of living include education, employment opportunities, healthcare, affordable housing, disposable income, safety, economic stability, and class disparity. Of course there are other factors that make a country exceptionally liveable and these quality of life measures include things like climate, activities offered, and personal freedom. So here’s our round up of the best countries to live in around the world, and, based on their high standard of living it’s no surprise that these are often the most sought after countries by expats.
Norway consistently offers one of the world’s highest standards of living thanks to great wealth and a low population. Norway is rich in natural resources such as petroleum and hydropower and its exports of oil and gas are what largely contribute to its wealth. Both the percentage of people in the workforce and household disposable income are well above the average for most nations and most residents complete secondary education. Wages are high, poverty is low, and residents enjoy a long life expectancy. Add to this a strong sense of community and abundant nature, and Norway is an extremely great place to live.
Denmark may have high tax rates, but it offers an equally high level of social welfare which provides free education and health care. Cost of living may be high, but large salaries easily offset this. When it comes to housing, Denmark offers some of the most generous living space per capita in Europe. The country is rather small, making travel distances very manageable, and this is enhanced by a great public transport system and extensive cycling infrastructure. Denmark’s culture is relaxed and informal, prioritising their time on leisure and family life. When it comes to work life, employees enjoy a positive, team-oriented work environment where everyone seems to have an equal say.
Citizens of Switzerland tend to have more say in political decisions since they enjoy a semi-direct democracy where both MPs and the people decide on legislation. The country’s public transportation is top-notch and cities are both safe and family friendly. Although Switzerland’s cost of living is one of the highest in the world, its people enjoy one of the highest rates of disposable income thanks to large salaries. They have also managed to steadily decrease the number of people living at or below the poverty line. The country is known for its cleanliness, having minimal air and water pollution and does their part to tackle climate change. Swiss university students enjoy low tuition fees and workers enjoy a pleasing balance between work and life, with most businesses closed on Sundays and holidays. Switzerland’s central location in Europe makes it easy to travel throughout the continent and of course the Alps and plenty of delicious chocolate doesn’t hurt either.
The Netherlands is a great country for families, offering very affordable child care and an exceptional education system. When it comes to employment, there is a nice balance between work and life, with most workers averaging a 33 hour work week. You also receive a generous amount of paid holiday leave. Expats are allowed a tax-free allowance on 30% of their gross taxable salary and salaries are highly competitive when compared to other countries. The Netherlands also offers some of the most prestigious universities in the world along with affordable housing and short commute times.
Finns are said to be some of the happiest people on earth, and with good reason since they tick a lot of boxes of what many look for when picking a country around the world to live. They rank extremely high when it comes to personal freedoms and gender equality, with women playing a strong equal role in the government. Finland offers one of the finest education systems and a literacy rate of nearly 100%. Nearly every family enjoys a personal computer with lightning fast internet, and Finnish libraries are some of the most utilised in the world. Enjoy virtually free education and healthcare as well as generous maternity/paternity leave and government assisted childcare. If that wasn’t enough, Finns enjoy an average of five weeks paid holiday leave annually. Tests have also shown Finns to be some of the world’s most honest people and even their government shows little signs of corruption. You’ll find more untouched forests and natural areas in Finland than any country in Europe and they are extremely concerned about protecting them. A great deal of their energy comes from renewable sources. So incredible is Finland, that even Santa himself was persuaded to live there.
Sweden is the best when it comes to sustainability and renewable energy. Couples looking to raise a child benefit from 480 days combined paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted. They are also allowed to reduce their working hours up to 25% until their child turns eight, without worry of losing their job. Taxes may be high but you get universal healthcare, free university, and subsidised childcare. The country is also very welcoming of immigrants and respects all religions and races. It is a country full of opportunities, especially in the tech-sector, with high productivity experienced despite low weekly working hours. Enjoy almost endless sun in the peak of summer, great musical talent, and plenty of natural spaces to keep fit and healthy.