We all want to live in the best possible place on the Earth, that’s why we decided to find the countries with the highest quality of life index. Although you may think that it is always debatable to say that some countries are better for life than the others as we all have a passion for different things, and not every environment suits us all, there are some factors that should always be considered when it comes to quality of life. I am sure there are some of you who can’t imagine their life far away from the mountains and skiing, just as there are those who can’t imagine living in a place without the ocean nearby, but we all also look for different things in one country. Some of those things are – standard of living, job opportunities, safety, quality of healthcare. These are the things we can all relate to, right?
I mean, I agree that living next to the ocean where the weather is perfect all year around sound like a dream come true, but if you can’t find a suitable job there, if there are no good schools your kid can enroll, then what are we talking about here? Like everything in life, it all comes down to a balance. You have to know what your priorities are. And we really tried to come up with a list that ranks the countries according to important parameters. That’s why we relied on three different rankings – OCED Better Life Index, Numbeo’s Quality of Life Ranking, and Social Progress Index.
When taking into account OCED Better life index we have selected all given categories as important – housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety and work life balance. Numbeo based its ranking on the purchasing power index, healthcare index, house price to income ratio, climate index, cost of living index, traffic commute time index, safety index, and pollution index. While Social Progress Index has taken into account Basic Human Index, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity. More about these categories that are not standard and commonly known, you can find here. To create our list using these sources, we first selected 25 countries with the highest quality of life ranking on Numbeo, and then used the other two sites to rank them and got the average ranking from all three sources.
What is interesting though is that not all the sources cover all the countries, but those that have made it onto our list are usually always at the top in every ranking. The only country in question is Iceland, which wasn’t included in Numbeo’s ranking, but got pretty good ranking on the other two sources. So, we searched a bit and found the quality of life index for the country’s capital, Reykjavik, which amounts to 163.06. If we are to take this as the index of the entire country, and calculate the average ranking for it, Iceland would be placed 13th on our list. In the end, we decided not to include it, but you may want to research further more about the standard of living in Iceland if you are attracted to its unusual and breathtaking nature.
When it comes to this type of lists it is always fun to compare them with previous years, and see if there are any drastic changes. If you want to know the countries with the highest standard of living in 2015, or in other words – countries with the best quality of life in 2015, then head on to our previous list of the countries with the highest quality of life index. It is always interesting to know the other side of the spectrum, countries with the lowest standard of living, which are (based on the Human Development Index 2016) Central African Republic, Niger, and Chad.
What about the previous year? Are the countries at the top always the same? More or less. I guess you all presume that on these types of lists, northern countries, for example, must be always present. And you are right. They just swap places from year to year. If we are to take a look only at OCED Better Life Index, countries with the highest standard of living 2016 were Norway, Australia and Denmark. And if, let’s say, we take into account only Numbeo’s quality of life index, then the countries with the highest standard of living 2017, are Austria, Germany, and Denmark. Since we wanted to find the best quality of life countries 2017, we thought it was better to combine all three rankings (mentioned, and explained above).
So, without further ado, let’s see which are the countries with the highest quality of life index, what are the average life expectancies of their residents, and how they rank in the World Happiness Report 2017. Starting with number 15.
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 166.9
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 15.33
Even though Irish people are known for their love for beer, that doesn’t seem to endanger their well being, as the average life expectancy in this country is 81.4 (among the first 10 in the world). When it comes to the satisfaction of its residents, Ireland is also among the first 20 on this year’s Happines Report, taking the 15th place.
14. United Kingdom
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 172.87
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 13.66
No surprise here, the UK has always been known as a country with a very high standard of living. Brits take the 19th place among the happiest people in the world, and their life expectancy is 81.2 or the 20th highest in the world.
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 183.65
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 13.33
Land of flamenco, music, fire, dance, or in other words – the land of passion, Spain takes the 13th place on our list of the countries with the highest quality of life index. When it comes to average life expectancy, its residents can boast about its average of 82.2 (sharing the 4th place together with Australia). And what about the happiness of its vibrant people? Believe it or not, they only take the 34th position, which is by far the lowest on our list.
12. United States
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 179.3
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 11.33
Considering the US obesity rates, and all that is widely known about their food and life habits, Americans life expectancy is not that bad, being 79.3 (31st place on the list). I guess other factors such as good economy and standard of living contribute to their life length. When it comes happiness they take the 14th place, which is very good.
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 190.37
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 10
I am sure everyone has expected to see this amazing country on this list of countries with the highest quality of life index. Austria has been known for a long time now, as a country with a great standard of living, and its residents are just a bit happier than those of the US, with Austria taking the 13th place among the happiest countries in the world. Average life expectancy here is 81.5, being among the first 20 (more precise 18th).
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 175.23
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 9.66
Oh, the land of tulips and bicycles. Maybe because of all this, or because of its slightly liberate drug laws, but the Dutch are among the happiest people on the planet – taking the 6th place in the World Happiness Report for the year 2017. They can also brag with its average life expectancy being the 14th highest in the world, with 81.9 years.
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 172.74
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 9.33
First of the northern countries on our list of countries with the highest quality of life index, but definitely not the last – Sweden. People in Sweden live 82.4 years on average, having a happy life, with Sweden taking the 9th place among the happiest countries in the world.
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 167.18
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 9.33
Of course, Canada. A country with amazing nature, great job opportunities, and a good standard of living. A place where many want to go, work and make a life. The only thing that can stop someone from trying to find a job and move to Canada is the weather (unless you enjoy winter sports), considering that it residents take the 7th place among the happiest people in the world, and that their life expectancy is 82.1 (12 highest), which is amazing.
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 189.74
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 9
A country known mostly for its great economy, the best in Europe and 4th in the world, Germany, takes the 7th place on our list of the countries with the highest quality of life index. I must admit I had some prejudice about Germany and its people, before visiting it. I thought they were cold, and that everything is so neat that is kind of unnatural, but I was completely wrong. I found Germans to be very kind and polite, and the environment so nice and beautiful, roads fantastic, everything just perfect. I was really impressed. Germans live 81 years on average (14th highest in the world), and they should be very pleased with their life, with Germany the 16th place among the happiest countries in the world.
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 165.93
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 8.33
This is the country where the happiest people in the world live. They maybe don’t live the longest, but what is more important – quality of life or its length? Either way, they live quite a lot with the average being 81.8, or 15th highest in the world.
5. New Zealand
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 184.74
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 7
All nature lovers are probably happy to see New Zealand on our list. If you are looking for a country that has great living conditions, but also amazing natural sceneries and a pleasant climate, then maybe you should consider New Zealand. Its residents should be very satisfied with their lives, as New Zeland ranks the 8th happiest country in the world, and the average life expectancy here is the 17th highest in the world, or 81.6 years, and 5th among the countries with the highest quality of life index on our list.
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 173.54
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 7
Talking about no surprises. Switzerland is known for its high standard of living, and a currency that is perhaps the most stable in the world, Swiss franc. This is maybe due to the fact that the country had very little conflicts in history, which allowed it to have the safest banks in the world, as well. I guess all this contributes to the fact that its residents live, on average 83.4 years, which is the second highest in the world. Only Japanse people live longer by 0.3 years on average. How happy are the Swiss? Very, being the 4th happiest residents in the world.
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 176.54
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 6.66
If you can bear their accent, there is not a single reason why you shouldn’t consider moving to this exquisite country. OK, there are many dangerous animals too. Kidding aside, people in Australia live a long life, on average 82.8, making them a country with the 4th highest average life expectancy. When it comes to happiness, the country also ranks solid, being the 9th happiest country in the world. It’s third on our list of countries with the highest quality of life index.
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 182.93
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 5.33
Expected. And now you can probably guess the first country on our list, considering that only one northern country haven’t showed up yet. Back to Finland. Interestingly, the country takes only 21st place when it comes to life expectancy, with the average life length of its residents being 81.1. But, as we’ve already explained it is not about the quantity, but the quality, and Finns should be very pleased with their life, as the country is the 5th happiest country in the world.
Numbeo’s quality of life index: 184.92
Insider Monkey’s average ranking: 2.33
Denmark is number one among the countries with the highest quality of life index, according to the rankings we have considered. I assume you are not surprised, as it is known for its high standard of living, and happiness of its residents, being ranked as the second happiest country in the world. As for the life expectancy, it takes 27th place, with the average life length of 80.6. Quite enough for a happy life, don’t you think?