Where Should I Live?

Where Should I Live?

If you had unlimited money and unlimited resources, where would you live?

Think about it for a second. If you could live anywhere on the planet, regardless of the cost or the hassle it would take to get there, where would it be? For some people, a return to their home country or hometown is ideal. Other people reject the place of their birth in search of new opportunities and experiences. Still others want to live in a certain place because of its creature comforts . . . white sand beaches or easy access to skiing or other winter sports.

The best way to figure out where you should live is to answer the first question I asked–where would you live if money andWhere Should I Live?

other concerns were of no object? That’s the place you should live.

The Best Places to Live in the World

Opinions on the best place to live in the world are as numerous as there are places. Every city, no matter how out of the way, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, has its fans.

The United Nations runs an annual report on the “best places in the world to live.” This poll really only takes one thing into account–the standard of living afforded people by a country, as determined by asking people from every country about their standard of living. This annual report has become a list of the best places to live over time, with countries taking a place in the top ten very seriously. Countries are ranked according to life expectancy, literacy rates, school enrollment and economy.

Here is the most recent annual UN report on the best places to live in the world.

10. Japan

Low interest rates offset the sometimes high cost of living in Japan, and even though things like industrial population and population density are a real problem there, a solid economy and many decades of growth after World War II regularly earn Japan a spot in the top ten places to live according to the UN.

9. Switzerland

The “most competitive economy in the world” means that citizens of Switzerland earn about $90,000 a year on average. Big paychecks, an unemployment rate of just 0.7%, and some of the best schools in the world mean that the Swiss have a lot to love about their home nation.

8. France

It just plain costs less to live in France than it does in most other parts of the world. The average wage compared to the cost of living makes for cheap and good living. Widespread unionization and dirt-cheap college tuitions along with a good median income and a prideful population are the reasons that France is on this list.

7. Sweden

The longest life expectancy of any country in the world (84 years) and all-encompassing social welfare programs (including drug legalization and gay marriage) combined with a worldwide tradition for neutrality means Sweden will always have a place on this list.

6. Netherlands

For a country with such a large percentage of its people living below the median income, the Netherlands still makes a strong show when it comes to this UN poll. Yes there are problems in the Netherlands, both political and economic, but a long life span (80.4 years per citizen in the Netherlands) always pushes a country high up on this UN list.

5. Ireland

A surprise entry for many people is Ireland–ravaged by economic woes, this small nation in the UK still ranks high because of the love the Irish people have for their home country. A long life expectancy and good job prospects are enough to rank Ireland in the top 5 best places to live according to the UN.

4. Canada

America’s neighbors to the north are usually a bit higher on the list–for many years in the 1990s they held the number one spot. A median income of $63,900 beats out America’s own median by twenty thousand dollars or so, indicating that Canadians are simply doing better financially than Americans. Recent economic and political troubles have earned Canada only the fourth spot on this list, but they are among good company.

3. Iceland

Though Iceland’s economy is even rockier than America’s, they still perform well in this poll. People in Iceland still enjoy equivalent income to nations like Canada and the United States, but spend less of it on things like health care which is provided by the government. Icelanders have a healthy understanding of their own history and heritage, which always makes for a happier population.

2. Australia

Australia always performs well in this poll, thanks in large part to a happy populace, but an average household income of nearly $70,000 doesn’t hurt either. To put it short–Australia simply hasn’t had the economic troubles of the rest of the world. With most of the population living with miles of a beautiful shoreline, life in Australia is that much sweeter.

1. Norway

The discovery of offshore gas and oil deposits in the 1960s is really starting to pay off for this Northern European nation. A 37.5 hour work week means more free time for citizens who enjoy the highest pay rates in the world. An average annual income of $38,000 may not sound impressive, but with services like health care and government-sponsored vacations, your money goes much further.

If you’re wondering who came in dead last in this latest poll, the landlocked African nation of Niger is dead last. Any country in which almost everyone faces starvation on a daily basis is sure to rank near the bottom every time.

As for the United States? We placed 13th, a respectable show for a country that is often heavily criticized by the UN for its recent economic woes and large gap between rich and poor.