Top 5 Best Countries To Live In - Does Your Country Rank?
Often while traveling to other countries we'll find ourselves wondering how our lives would differ if we just decided to stay, permanently. They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but how much can you really know about living in a country by just a short visit, usually experiencing only the best the country has to offer?
So we decided to really get into the thick of things, and pit the world's countries against each other in an attempt to find the 5 best countries to live in. Of course, there'll always be that smart alec that'll point out that our list is quite subjective, and not necessarily true for everyone since, for example, having friends and family in a particular country would make it much more attractive to live there.
Our decisions into which countries to include are based mainly on quality of life, economy, safety, and recreational opportunities. You know, things you can actually measure and put a number to. So without further ado...
United States of America
If you're yearning for a culture of creativity, industriousness and the diversity of cultures brought about by the influx of immigrants from around the world, then the United States is the place to be. Residents of the USA are privileged in having front-row seats to the greatest free market system in the world, resulting in mega-corporations, an abundance of products and services leading to amazing convenience in all walks of life, and the highest GDP in the world. Promoting scientific and technological development almost religiously, the country has become a hub for high-tech and military development, and is still considered the land of opportunity when it comes to finding a job. Finally, the US has a wealth of natural beauty and national parks - in fact, it could take a lifetime to see all the wonders the US has to offer.
Norway is a real gem, combining immense natural beauty with a relaxed and healthy populace, high standard of living, and an equal opportunity job market, stable economy and a particularly strong welfare system. The wages in Norway are considered very high, with the whole population sharing in the economic prosperity of the country - every working person has enough money to be able to pay for all needed living expenses and then some, which is very impressive - despite the country being relatively expensive, with high taxation to support the welfare system. The beautiful mountain ranges, fjords, forest, glaciers and lakes make Norway a particularly spectacular country, and travelers are often awe-struck by the beauty they discover on their travels.
Home to some of the most fabulous Pacific beaches on earth, Costa Rica emerges as a leader when it comes to sustainable ecological development. Popular as a vacation spot, this country is definitely one of the best places to live in with its tropical forests, surf breaks and, although it might seem weird, the carbon neutral pledge. Caressed by pleasant climate and awe-inspiring scenery, the country boasts a high quality of life for its residents at affordable costs, more so because of a robust public health care system. The country prides itself on a stable democracy, and even went so far as to abolish its army in 1949, since it wasn't needed. So whether you want to spend some sun-drenched days or are looking to retire permanently, Costa Rica is the place to be.
There are lots of misconceptions surrounding the land down under: that it's far away on the other side of the world, made up of desolate deserts, and full of poisonous killer animals. In fact, Australia was recognized as the world's happiest country in 2013 by the OECD, and you can't be that happy while being chased by killer snakes in the middle of the desert. Other than its thriving economy and extremely low unemployment levels, Australia enjoys just the right blend of natural resources and market potential, and the country seems to attract many industrial players and a wealth of foreign investment. Australians are very warm and friendly people, happy to lend a hand when needed, or make fun of you for the laughs. There are plenty of places to visit in the country, from the world-famous Great-Barrier reef, to Tazmania and Uluru - there's never a dull moment.
Considered one of the top countries for a healthy work-life balance, New Zealanders (or Kiwis, as they often refer to themselves) enjoy an extremely high quality of life due to their high GDP, relatively low inflation, free hospital system and their fantastic social welfare system. The crime rate in New Zealand is very low and in 2013 the country was recognized as the world's safest country. It also scores high in terms of political stability and effectiveness of foreign policy. And, that's not all; the country offers 4 weeks of paid vacation every year. Couple all this with some of the most beautiful nature and landscapes in the world, a peaceful countryside with low pollution, and a relatively small population, and it's easy to see why we consider it one of the best countries in the world to live in.