Great Examples: My Top 10 Countries To Live In
Posted July 15, 2011on:
Though it scores well on a range of OECD measures – 91 per cent of country residents said they were satisfied with their lives, for instance, much higher than the survey average of 59 per cent – two employment figures are telling for the Netherlands . According to the OECD’s Better Life Index, the average Dutch household earned a higher-than-average $25,997 of post-tax, disposable income in 2008, despite working 1,378 hours that year, lowest of all surveyed nations.
Like the Dutch, Finns don’t earn like Warren Buffett: according to the OECD, the average Finland household brought home $24,246 of disposable income in 2008, a higher-than-usual sum but a modest one, nonetheless. But the Finnish enjoy a cross-the-board quality of life rivalled by few nations on earth, including top global rankings in environment, education and work-life balance. Crime-wise, by the OECD’s numbers, a miniscule two per cent of Fins said they had fallen victim to an assault over the previous 12 months.
Remarkably, the Swiss – a legion of Europeans known for their sophistication and forward-thinking – show a low level of civic participation, by the world’s standards. According to the OECD, just 48 per cent of Swiss voters turned out during the most recent elections, the lowest of all surveyed nations. Still, it would be tough to fault the Swiss for not challenging its government leaders. Switzerland , among other impressive measures, boasts a life expectancy of more than 82 years, nearly three years above the OECD average.
On the surface, the U.S. appears to be a fractious nation. According to the OECD, only 70 per cent of Americans said they were satisfied with their life, a measure that perhaps preceded the sky-high 90 per cent voter turnout in the latest Yankee elections. But Americans earn, at least, and they work for their dough. The average U.S. household brought home $37,690 in disposable income in 2008, working just under 37 hours a week based on a 48-week work year. Compare that to the Netherlands , where, by the same employment schedule, workers were on the job less than 29 hours every seven days.
Everything appears just honky-dory in Demark these days. When asked, 90 per cent of the Danish said they were satisfied with their life, much higher than the OECD average of 59 per cent. It’s also a case of know thy neighbour, love thy neighbour. According to the OECD’s survey, 97 per cent of Danes believe they “know someone they could rely on in a time of need,” a corny score, perhaps, but one that ranks near the top in the world by such a measure.
You’re not likely to find a much safer place on earth than Norway : the nation’s homicide rate of just 0.6 per 100,000 residents is one of the lowest of all OECD member countries. And where other puny measures are concerned, Norwegians are also among the fittest people in the world. Norway ‘s adult obesity rate of just 10 per cent in 2008 was less than half of what it was in the U.S. , where 27.5 per cent of adults were classified as obese that year.
For a country scoring this high on the OECD’s quality of life index, it may seem odd that New Zealanders only earned $18,996 in household disposable income in 2008, less than the average of the watchdog’s member countries. Of course, money can’t buy happiness, and New Zealand excels in other categories, including community, environment and housing. Where labour is concerned, while about 72 per cent of the nation’s population aged 15-to-64 has a paid job (seven percentage points higher than the OECD average), unemployed Kiwis also rebound quickly. According to survey numbers, only 0.6 per cent of unemployed New Zealanders have been out of work for a year or longer, much lower than the OECD average.
The highest-ranking North American nation, Canada is a model country by many OECD measures. In addition to a high education rate (87 per cent of adults aged 25-to-64 have the equivalent of a high school diploma, much higher than the survey average) Canucks also enjoy a nation of low crime; only one per cent of Canadians said they’d fallen victim to an assault over the past year. If there is one area we must grow, however, it’s in voter turnout, which is low in Canada . Four elections in seven years doesn’t help, but Canada ‘s 60 per cent voter turnout during recent polls is a much lower rate than the OECD average of 72 per cent.
If we’re to find one fault in Australia ‘s quality of life, it lies within the nation’s obesity rate, which has been increasing faster than any other OECD country over the past 20 years. Yet while one in two Australians is obese by the OECD’s measure, plenty of chunky Aussies know how to live. Australia is the top-rated surveyed country in reading literacy and voter turnout, where mandatory voting laws have ensured near everyone Down Under has a say in democracy. The nation’s voter turnout was 95 per cent in the most recent elections, the highest in the world.