LONDON — The countries with the best quality of life in the world have a good work-life balance, access to quality healthcare, education, and infrastructure, as well as cost of living and career opportunities.
Warm weather also helps.
In a new survey by InterNations, the world’s largest network for people who live and work abroad, the company asked 12,500 expats, representing 166 nationalities and living in 188 countries or territories, to rate 43 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of 1 to 7.
From this, InterNations calculated the scores to reach an overall average.
The Quality of Life index took into account factors such as:
- Leisure Options;
- Personal Happiness;
- Travel & Transport;
- Health & Well-Being;
- Safety & Security.
A destination needed at least 75 respondents to feature in this index. Here are the top 17 countries.
Lianna Brinded contributed to an earlier version of this report.
17. Netherlands — Netherlands scored particularly highly for Travel & Transport (7th). In other subindexes, it scored relatively poorly, ranking 47th for Leisure Options and 25th for Personal Happiness.
16. Finland — Finland scored below 16th in every major subindex apart from Health & Well-Being, where it ranked fifth, one place behind Scandinavian neighbour Sweden and two places behind Denmark.
15. New Zealand — New Zealand falls two places from last year, but high scores on the Personal Happiness subindex (10th) and Leisure Options subindex (9th) keep it relatively near the top of the list.
14. Sweden — The Scandinavian country offers expats high wages and a generally high quality of life. It scored highest in the Health & Well-Being subindex (4th), coming one place behind neighbouring Denmark.
13. Canada — Canada has two major financial centres, Vancouver and Montreal, which attract large numbers of expats. It fell one place from last year, scoring 7th on the Safety & Security subindex.
12. Denmark — Denmark climbed up the rankings from last year, when it came 21st. It is often described as the happiest country in the world. It came third in the Health & Well-Being subindex.
11. Luxembourg — Luxembourg, which has a population of 580,000, scores particularly highly on the Safety & Security subindex (5th). It climbed far up the rankings from last year, when it ranked 17th.
10. Germany — Germany, which is currently trying to lure financial workers from London to its Frankfurt hub, scored highly on the Travel & Transport subindex (5th) and Health & Well-Being.
9. Costa Rica — Costa Rica has barely seen any change in expat feedback since 2016, when it ranked fifth. it’s not that survey respondents view local life more negatively, but several other countries simply outperform it in 2017.
8. Switzerland — Switzerland attracts many expats to Zurich, its financial hub. It scores first on the Safety & Security subindex, and third for Travel & Transport.
7. Austria — Austria lost ground in all subcategories. It scored particularly highly on the Health & Well-Being subindex (2nd) and the Travel & Transport subindex (8th).
6. Japan — The country sunk from 3rd to 6th this place this year. Japan lost some ground in all subcategories, although it is still going relatively strong in those that earned it last year’s ranking: the Health & Well-Being (7th) and Travel & Transport subcategories (9th). Japan excelled with regard to safety and security too (4th).
5. Czech Republic — The country did particularly well because it scored 4th on the Travel & Transpoort subindex. It ranked comparatively low on other subindexes, including Leisure Options (18th), Personal Happiness (20th).
4. Singapore — The city-state rose from 8th to 4th this year. It came first on the Travel & Transport subindex, and third for Safety & Security.
3. Spain — Spain, known for its temperate climate and cultural attractions, scored highest on the Leisure options subindex and also ranked highly (6th) for personal happiness.
2. Taiwan — Last year’s winner dropped by one rank, but it still impressed with high ratings in the Health & Well-being and Travel & Transport subcategories, coming 1st and 6th out of 65 respectively.
1. Portugal — Having gained 13 places since the Expat Insider 2016 survey, Portugal is not only the second-biggest winner in the Quality of Life Index, but also made the most significant gains in the overall ranking. Its popularity among expats — at least when it comes to quality of life — is largely due to its temperate climate and widely available leisure activities.
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