In this article we take a look at the countries with the highest standard of living in the world. Click to skip ahead and jump to 5 countries with the highest standard of living.
In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be a need for a list of the 15 countries with the highest standard of living in 2020, but as 2020 has taught us time and again, in every conceivable way, the world is far from perfect. 2020 has changed the way we see things, but it has also absolutely ravaged hundreds of millions of people around the world. As lockdowns were enforced to try and contain the pandemic, the economy suffered a huge burden, and unemployment rose at levels no one could have even imagined just a few months earlier.
However, this doesn’t mean that all people were affected equally. No, we are not all in the same boat. In fact, the boat that the top 1% are on has steadily gotten bigger while ours has come close to sinking numerous times. Since March, billionaires have gotten richer by an astounding $637 billion, while the ordinary man has battled to even pay rent or buy groceries, as in the US alone, unemployment rose by 40 million people. As of writing this article, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos alone had gained $130 billion in their fortunes in 2020 (see the 20 richest people in the world).
What the above paragraph shows is that there is a stark gap in the standard of living of people within the same country, and while you’d expect such gaps to be present in developing countries or countries where corruption is rampant, the United States is one of the countries with significant gaps between the top 1% and the remaining 99%. However, the country still barely makes our list.
The countries with the highest standard of living provide a decent life to most of its citizens, rather than the uber rich. Most of these countries have social healthcare, free education, and well developed infrastructure, amenities that can be used by all of its citizens. In fact, it’s no surprise to see that most of the top countries in our list are Scandinavian countries, which are popular for also being the happiest countries in the world. Having visited a couple of them, I can personally vouch for the fact that living standards in such countries are extremely high.
To compile our list, we referred to the OECD Better Life Index. The index is interactive and allows you to set numerous criteria to calculate the index. We maxed out each criteria present, such as housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety, and work life balance to customize our ranking. We then combined this with Numbeo’s rankings, and calculated the average of both to come up with a more accurate and unbiased ranking. You will see some similarities in our list with the 25 countries with the best quality of life in the world, while you can also compare it to an older list 11 countries with the highest standard of living in the world in 2017, to see if there are any significant movements. So let’s take a look at our list, with number 15 taking us off:
While income may be on the lower end in the country, ranking well in every other faucet has allowed for a decent standard of living in Estonia.