In the modern world, migration is more common than at any other point in human history.More than ever before, we’re choosing to up sticks and relocate to a different environment in a different country.Sometimes we might do this in pursuit of an exciting new career opportunity; sometimes we might do it to enjoy a well-earned break in a more pleasant climate; sometimes we might simply do it for the sake of variety.
When considering possible destinations, would-be expats usually consider things like the local language, and the familiarity of the local culture, as well as the economic strength of the destination.But quality of life isn’t as easily defined as the average earnings of everyone living in a place.Fortunately, we’re able to compare how good it is to live in different countries according to something called a ‘quality of life index’ a figure which estimates the quality of life in a given area, based on factors like average purchasing power, the likelihood of suffering violence, and the cost of buying a house relative to the average income.When all of these things are factored in, some countries consistently perform better than their counterparts – even if those counterparts are just a few miles across a national border.
We should bear in mind some of the limitations of these sorts of studies.Firstly, the headline findings often conceal the variation one might find within a given country – the respective residents of Hackney and Mayfair, for example, might be said to enjoy entirely different qualities of life from the headline figure for the UK.Secondly, the various weightings given to the categories are entirely arbitrary – and so if average traffic commute time has a disproportionate effect on your happiness, then you might consider one country to be a better match for you than another, even if the other has a higher QOL index.
With that in mind, let’s examine the countries which prospective migrants might consider making the switch to.
Denmark, perhaps surprising, tops the list of the best places to live.Its citizens enjoy relatively lofty purchasing power, they’re safe, healthy and enjoy affordable housing.It’s the home of delicious pastry, it’s home to one of the oldest monarchies in the world, and it’s home to some of the most beautiful classical architecture on the continent.What’s more, the universities in Denmark are entirely free to attend, making it a great place for students.
As well as scoring highly on the quality of life index, Danes also consistently self-report as being happier than their counterparts elsewhere in the world.One paper concludes that this is down to the Dane’s low expectations of their own future – which leads them to be consistently surprised by how well things turn out!
Switzerland is famous for being one of the wealthiest nations on the planet.Thanks to its (in)famously attractive banking system, wealth consistently flows to this part of the world, and citizens enjoy per-capita income that’s far higher than those of neighbouring European states.Swiss citizens are famously responsible savers, and participate in frequent referenda to determine the future of the state – with around four being held each year.
Australia is the most popular destination for would-be British expats.Every year, millions of us choose to emigrate to Australia from the UK – and it’s little wonder.The nation is home to a wealth of natural beauty, it enjoys a pleasant climate, and its citizens all speak English.Statistically speaking, it’s a less safe place to live than any of the other destinations mentioned in this article – but, judged by those same statistics, it’s still a safer place to live than the UK!If you’re looking to move to Australia, then you’ll need to navigate the famous points-based immigration system – fortunately, there are plenty of jobs in Australia for UK citizens.
New Zealand is a near-neighbour of Australia, and enjoys many of the same qualities.It’s home to a wealth of beautiful landscapes, including therolling hillsides and mountains that formed the backdrop to the Lord of the Rings films.With English being the official language, New Zealand boasts much the same cultural qualities as you’ll find in Australia.
Germany has long established itself as Europe’s economic powerhouse.It boasts among the lowest rates of youth unemployment in the world, its home to the famous autobahn, and its cuisine is worth crossing continents for – but you needn’t do that, you need only hop on a plane to enjoy everything it has to offer!