The best countries to live in are based on a number of factors, including healthcare, education, cost of living, safety, economy and freedom. Reports from the United Nations and Transparency International have consistently listed a number of countries whose citizens and residents enjoy a good quality of life.
- New Zealand. Made famous by the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, this small Asian Pacific country has consistently ranked high as one of the best places to live in. The Kiwi countryside is a beautiful mix of rolling hills and iced capped mountains, while its coasts and bays boasts of strong surfs from the Tasman Sea in Piha and pristine sailing conditions at Hauraki Bay. It is also one of those rare countries where cops do not carry guns.
- Australia. A-list Aussie celebrities grace Hollywood’s red carpet, from Nicole Kidman to Hugh Jackman while back in Australia, the low unemployment rate even in the height of the 2009 recession, as well as its excellent health care system and safe cities, makes it an ideal place to call home.
- Sweden. This Scandinavian country ranks in the top ten list of best countries to live in for being one of the least corrupt in the world. It is also neutral without a strong history of warfare and hailed by the World Economic Forum as an equitable country that supports the advancement of women.
- Canada. Often referred to in jest as the 51st US state, this North American country is renowned for its excellent health care system, unlike its American neighbor. Toronto and Vancouver are vibrant cities offering tons of cultural, entertainment, sports and music choices. The Toronto Film Festival is one of the most respected worldwide and Canada’s outdoors are diverse, offering activities for hiking, sailing, ice fishing and skiing.
- Germany. After the two Germanys united in 1989, the standard of living and employment opportunities have risen dramatically. Newsweek calls it as one of the best countries to live in for the quality of life enjoyed by its citizens and residents. Berlin and Munich have often been included on the list of most livable cities and cabs come in either a Mercedes or BMW.
- Finland. Finnish people value education and students enjoy the support of qualified teachers with Master degrees and a one-on-one tutorial session if needed. The Finnish education system is very laid-back and inclusive, based on the premise that everyone has something to contribute to society.
- Albania. This little known country actually has one of the highest literacy levels in the world, estimated to be 99 percent. Although relatively a poor country compared to its European neighbors, Albanians live longer, with the expected life expectancy for men at 78 years old and 81 for women.
- Poland. It joined the European Union in 2004 and has steadily joined the ranks of one of the best countries in the world. Poland has a retirement age of 60 years old for women and 65 for men, and is considered as one of the cheapest places to live in.
- Switzerland. Switzerland’s geography rendering it a landlocked country has not hindered its economic growth. It is home to some of the largest corporations in the world and Swiss banks enjoy a reputation that is between commendable and notorious, as it has been a favorite place for despotic leaders of other countries to funnel stolen finances. Health care standards and education rank high, and shares with Sweden the same neutral stand in global affairs.
- Norway. The discovery of oil and gas in the 1960s has afforded this small Scandinavian country the economic stability to provide a good standard of living for its citizens. Norway has consistently ranked high in the United Nations Human Development Report as one of the best places to live in for its beautiful landscapes, relaxed lifestyle and high life expectancy rate reaching 81 years old.
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