Saturday, December 15, 2007

Best Country to Live in? Depends on what you want...

Every year the UN comes out with a report on the Human Development Index (HDI) which is a measure of a country's life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living. However the countries in the list tend to have large social welfare system, which may not appeal to everyone.

Best countries to live 2007 (according to their HDI):

  1. Iceland

  2. Norway (winner 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001)

  3. Australia

  4. Canada (winner 2000,1999, 1998, 1997, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994)

  5. Ireland

  6. Sweden

  7. Switzerland

  8. Japan

  9. Netherlands

  10. France


However, maybe you are looking for the country with the happiest people? Adrian White did a study surveying 80,000 people from different countries. Click the following link download Adrian White's map of happiness (pdf) (a more informal showing of countries that are happy is the website Map of Happiness).

Happiest Countries in the World (2006)

  1. Denmark

  2. Switzerland

  3. Austria

  4. Iceland

  5. Bahamas

  6. Finland

  7. Sweden

  8. Bhutan

  9. Brunei

  10. Canada


With the increasing unrest about civil liberties, perhaps you are looking for the country with the most Economic freedom? Heritage.org has an index studies business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, gov't freedom, monetary freedom, , investment freedom, financial freedom, property rightes, corruption and labour freedom.

Top Ten Countries for Economic Freedom (2007):

  1. Hong Kong

  2. Singapore

  3. Australia

  4. United States

  5. New Zealand

  6. United Kingdom

  7. Ireland

  8. Luxembourg

  9. Switzerland

  10. Canada


Similar to above, what if all you are looking for is freedom and escaping the long arm of the government? The State of World Liberty site may be what you are looking for.

Freest Countries in the World (2006)




  1. Estonia

  2. Ireland

  3. Canada

  4. Switzerland

  5. Iceland

  6. Bahamas

  7. United Kingdom

  8. United States

  9. Cyprus

  10. New Zealand


Concerned for the environment? Perhaps the Happy Planet Index (HPI) is the measure you are looking for. The Happy Planet Index website provides information on the index which can be described as 'environmental efficiency of supporting well-being'.

Top 10 Best Countries to live based on Environment




  1. Vanuatu

  2. Columbia

  3. Costa Rica

  4. Dominica

  5. Panama

  6. Cuba

  7. Honduras

  8. Guatemala

  9. El Salvador

  10. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

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