There are many different reasons why people choose to relocate permanently, from job prospects and education to just overall quality of life; but which countries are really the best to relocate to? The United Nation’s annual Human Development Report, which looks at nearly 200 countries and many different categories including financial wealth, gender equality, life expectancy and education, currently ranks Norway as the best country in the world to live in.
This is the 13th consecutive year in which Norway has ranked highest in this report for overall standard of living. It has a very high average life expectancy of 82 years, and a highly-ranked education system, where all children undergo an average of 12.7 years of schooling. The country is renowned for its strong public healthcare system, and it also has extremely generous parental leave policies where mothers can take up to 35 weeks at full pay, and fathers can take up to 10 weeks. If that wasn’t enough, the average income per person is an impressive $67,610.
While Norway sits at first overall, the other individual categories of the HD report reveal other great places to live. If you’re looking for a high average income, then Singapore is a fantastic place to consider relocating to, where the average income per person is $78,160. Singapore was tied in 5th overall position in the report with Denmark in the report, and has been a long-time favourite with expats. Singapore is especially appealing for relocation due to government intervention to slow down rising house prices, despite rising salaries. Denmark, however, has a far better gender wage gap, sitting at just 7.8% for full-time employees – for comparison, the gap in the USA is 17.9%.
It will come as no surprise to many that both Germany and Switzerland are also within the top five. For Germany, education is impressive where universities are free for all residents and international students, and over 96% of the population has secondary education. Switzerland also has a fantastic education system, but the jewel in its crown is the overall health of its population; not only is the average life expectancy an impressive 83 years, but Switzerland also has low risk for diseases like malaria, HIV and tuberculosis.
There may be some who are surprised as the report’s second overall ranked place of Australia. Australia is extremely popular with many young British expats who see the country as a haven for both career progression and that famously relaxed Aussie lifestyle, but for families with children its education system is also brilliant, where most students are in education for a total of 20 years.
All of these countries are ranked highly because they contain what the UN considers to be essential factors of a good society including good health, access to education, strong human rights and security, non-discrimination and, above all, capabilities and opportunities for all individuals. Whatever the reason for relocation, these countries are most definitely a good place to start.