Best Countries for Quality of Life (sources US News)
Beyond the essential ideas of broad access to food and housing, to quality education and health care, to employment that will sustain us, quality of life may also include intangibles such as job security, political stability, individual freedom and environmental quality.
What social scientists do agree on is that material wealth is not the most important factor in assessing a life lived well. The results of the Quality of Life sub-ranking survey reflect that sensibility.
The 2021 Best Countries rankings, formed in partnership with BAV Group and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, are based on a study that surveyed more than 17,000 global citizens from four regions to assess perceptions of 78 countries on 76 different metrics. The Quality of Life subranking is based on an equally weighted average of scores from nine country attributes that relate to quality of life in a country: affordable, a good job market, economically stable, family friendly, income equality, politically stable, safe, well-developed public education system and well-developed public health system. The Quality of Life subranking score had a 13.88% weight in the overall Best Countries ranking.
People consistently view a small group of nations as being best at providing for their citizens. For the sixth consecutive year, Canada ranks No. 1 overall for providing a good quality of life. Survey respondents rank the North American country as No. 1 for having a good job market, No. 2 for being politically stable and No. 3 for having a well-developed public education system, a perception supported by independent research. The North American country is seen as possessing the fourth-best developed public health care system. In fact, Canada is rated in the top 10 in all but one of the nine attributes, affordability, where Asian countries dominate.
Seven European countries are ranked in the top 10: Denmark, Sweden and Norway immediately follow Canada, with Switzerland, the Netherlands, Finland and Germany; Australia and New Zealand also finished in the top 10 countries in Quality of Life.
Countries perceived to provide a lower quality of life perform most poorly in areas concerning personal safety and economic opportunity. Iraq, Lebanon and Uzbekistan are at the bottom of the quality of life ranking, followed by El Salvador, Serbia and Azerbaijan. The Dominican Republic – which ranks 53rd for quality of life – finishes last for its public education system, while Colombia (60th for quality of life) places last for safety.