Youthink! The World Bank's blog for youth
Syndicate content

Do you know where to find the world’s best quality of life?

Nahla Benslama's picture

Any guesses? You may answer right away or you may be wiser and ask: “Best quality of life depending on what…?!” After all, ranking 192 countries (almost every country in the world) based on their quality of life is not a straightforward task!

The 2011 Top Quality of Life countries were named by International Living (IL), a publishing group founded in Baltimore, Maryland. When calculating the Quality of Life Index, the group considered nine categories: “Cost of living, culture, economy, environment, freedom, health, infrastructure, safety and climate” with the biggest weight given to cost of living (20% of the final ranking). For 2011, IL included brand new data sources in categories such as health, culture and environment. 

Now, back to the question “who is this year’s winner?” Statistically speaking, the winner is…the United States of America, scoring the highest (86 out of 100) because of “the size of its economy and the efficiency of its infrastructure.”

If this is not exactly what you were expecting as an answer, then you should know that IL has anticipated your “surprise” describing the US as, “a clear, if uninspiring, winner,” stating that the “result is based solely on numbers” and explaining which statistics put the US at the top of the list. Moreover, the group admits that “statistics don’t always reflect the reality.”

Malta and New Zealand are ranked second in the list. IL justifies this ranking by the attractive assets that each country is blessed with, describing New Zealand as “first-world retirement haven” and Malta as “a good place to start looking for a life overseas” with its “warm, dry Mediterranean climate, low crime rates, good medical facilities and English-speaking population.” 

The 2011 Quality of Life Index enabled many other countries to shine as well, such as Mexico (final score 67) scoring high in climate and culture making it “one of the culturally richest countries in the world.” Uruguay, with a final score of 71, gained good marks this year in infrastructure and health and has a “prefect” score in freedom and safety.

Other (good) surprises for this year’s ranking include Morocco with a total score of 60 (compared to 54 in 2010) and ranked on Top of Arab countries with a high score in safety and climate, earning solid marks in economy, cost of living and infrastructure.

If you are interested, take a look at the complete 2011 Quality of Life Index rankings and learn more details about the nine categories and “how ratings were determined.”

What do you think about IL’s 2011 ranking? Does the Quality of Life Index accurately mirror the “quality of life” where you live?