Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden

11 countries with the best quality of life in the world

Leanna Garfield
Sunday 13 November 2016 16:57

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently released its 2016 Better Life Index of countries with the best quality of life.

To do this, the OECD studied 34 countries across 11 parameters of well-being, including work-life balance, financial wealth, safety, education, and environmental quality. It uses data from the United Nations, National Statistics Offices, and the Gallup Organisation.

Check out the countries that scored the highest across every category.

11. Netherlands — This country boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world. The OECD found that students in the Netherlands score above-average in math, science, and reading comprehension tests.

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10. Iceland — The country fell eight spots from last year's index. The percentage of Iceland's labor force that has been unemployed for a year or longer is at nearly 0.7%, lower than the OECD average of 2.6%.

9. The United States — Though it fell four spots from last year's Index, the US comes out on top in areas of housing, income, and wealth. The average household disposable income is $41,071 per year, the highest in OECD's study.

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8. Finland — In Finland, 4% of employees work long hours, which is much lower than the OECD average of 13%.

7. New Zealand — Rising two spots this year, New Zealand prioritises the environment. Greenhouse emissions are relatively low in the country, mainly due to its low population.

6. Sweden — People in Sweden have a high level of civic engagement. In the most recent election, 83% of residents turned out to vote for its parliament.

5. Canada — This country ranks high in affordable housing. In the 2000s, Toronto and Vancouver's government rezoned all single family neighborhoods, so that homeowners could rent out extra rooms (thus increasing the amount of affordable rent available).

4. Switzerland — The unemployment rate in Switzerland hovers around 3.1%, one of the lowest in the world.

3. Denmark — The country jumped 7 spots from last year's index, and ranks high in paid vacation time, averaging 5 weeks off per year. On average, full-time workers report devoting 66% of their days to "personal care" (i.e. not working).

2. Australia — Although Australia ranked as number one for 2013 and 2014 (then fourth in 2015), it is second in this year's index. The OECD found that people feel a strong sense of community in Australia: 95% of Australians believe they know someone they could rely on.

1. Norway — The country also scored highest last year. People are living their best lives in Norway, where a majority have paid jobs, a high level of education, and live an average of 82 years.

Aurlandsfjord, Norway

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