Join

Enter Details

Comment on stories, receive email newsletters & alerts.

@
This is your permanent identity for Business Insider Australia
Your email must be valid for account activation
Minimum of 8 standard keyboard characters

Subscribe

Email newsletters but will contain a brief summary of our top stories and news alerts.

Forgotten Password

Enter Details


Back to log in

The 15 Countries With The Highest Quality Of Life

girl hood happy

For a good chance at a happy life, head to Australia, which one again topped the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development‘s Better Life Index, which looks at the quality of life in member countries.

The (OECD) — an international economic organisation — analysed 34 countries in 11 categories, including income, housing, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety, and work-life balance. (You can read the full methodology here.)

We looked at the countries with the highest overall scores, and highlighted a few of the criteria on the following slides.

#15 Ireland

Average household disposable income: $24,104

The Irish have a strong sense of community -- 96% of people believe they know someone they could rely on in a time of need (higher than the OECD average of 90%).

They also rate highly in work-life balance, where the average employee works 1,543 hours a year, less than the OECD average of 1,776.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#14 Luxembourg

Average household disposable income: $23,047

Luxembourg rates well in both health and environment, with an average life expectancy of 81 years and a low level of atmospheric PM10 -- tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs.

Citizens also have a high participation rate in the political process, with 91% of the population turning out for recent elections.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#13 Austria

Average household disposable income: $28,852

Austria has a high rate for education. 82% of Austrian adults ages 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high school degree.

Austrians also have a strong sense of community, with 94% of the population reporting they know someone they could rely on in a time of need.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#12 Finland

Average household disposable income: $25,739

Finland performed extremely well on the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment -- the average student scored 543 in reading literacy, maths, and science, whereas the average OECD score was 497.

They also have a high level of life satisfaction with 82% of the population saying they have more positive experiences than negative ones in an average day.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#11 New Zealand

Average household disposable income: $21,892

New Zealand has one of the best rates of renewable energy of any OECD country with 36.47%.

Students also scored 524 in reading literacy, maths, and science on the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment -- higher than the average of 497.

And New Zealand girls outperformed boys by 15 points, higher than the average OECD gap of 9 points.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#10 United Kingdom

Average household disposable income: $23,047

85% of the English population say they have more positive experiences in an average day than negative ones.

They also have a high life expectancy of 81 years, and 97% of the people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#9 Iceland

Average household disposable income: $23,047

Iceland has high levels of civic participation -- 98% of people believe they know someone they could rely on in a time of need.

97% of the Iceland population are also extremely satisfied with their water quality, and Iceland has less air pollutant particles per cubic meter than the OECD average.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#8 Netherlands

Average household disposable income: $25,493

People in the Netherlands only work 1,379 hours a year, significantly less than the OECD average of 1,776 hours.

They also test extremely high on the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment with an average of 519 (the OECD average is 497).

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#7 Denmark

Average household disposable income: $24,682

Denmark has one of the highest life satisfaction rankings, with 89% of the population reporting they have more positive experiences in an average day than negative ones.

The Danish also know how to balance their work life with their personal life -- only 2% of employees say they work very long hours, much lower than the OECD average of 9%.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#6 United States

Average household disposable income: $38,001

The U.S. has the highest average household disposable income on the list at $38,000 a year -- much higher than the OECD average of $23,000.

It also ranks as one of the best countries for housing conditions, with good basic facilities and general feelings of safety and personal space.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#5 Switzerland

Average household disposable income: $30,060

86% of adults in Switzerland have earned the equivalent of a high school degree, and students scored 517 on the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment -- higher than the average of 497.

The Swiss also have a high life expectancy at 83 years of age, and 95% of the population say they are satisfied with the quality of their water.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#4 Norway

Average household disposable income: $31,459

There is a strong sense of community and high levels of safety in Norway, where 93% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need.

Norwegians also tend to have a good work-life balance, with only 3% of employees working very long hours, compared to the OECD average of 9%.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#3 Canada

Average household disposable income: $28,194

Canadians work only 1,702 hours a year -- less than the OECD average -- with 72% of the population working at a paid job.

There is little difference in voting levels across society too, suggesting there is broad inclusion in Canada's democratic institutions: Voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is 63% and for the bottom 20% it is 60%, a much smaller difference than the OECD average gap of 12 percentage points.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#2 Sweden

Average household disposable income: $26,242

Having a good education is extremely important in Sweden, where 87% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high school degree.

They also ranked highly in all environmental categories. Their level of air pollutant particles is 10 micrograms per cubic meter -- considerably lower than the OECD average of 21 micrograms per cubic meter -- and 95% of the population is satisfied with their water quality.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

#1 Australia

Average household disposable income: $28,884

For the second year in a row, Australia is the number one happiest country in the world. And it's not hard to see why --they rank extremely well in health, civic engagement, and housing.

The life expectancy at birth in Australia is 82 years, two years higher than the OECD average.

Australia also has exceptional voter turnout at 93% during recent elections, which is far above the OECD average of 72%.

Researchers compared data from 34 countries that are members of the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. They based the rankings on 11 factors including income, safety, life satisfaction, and health, and then rated each country on a 10-point scale. Income is net-adjusted and in USD.

America ranked highly for happiness, but what about health?

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn