Happiness. Philosophers throughout history have deemed happiness the highest human good, and most people’s deepest desire in life is ‘to be happy’. The country a person is born in (or lives in) can have a huge effect on their happiness. The entries on this list (collected by the United Nations in the World Happiness Report) probably won’t surprise you; these countries are known for their great life expectancy, education, healthcare, and overall quality of life. As such, they’re very popular destinations for expats. Living in one of these countries is sure to put you in good stead to achieve happiness, whatever that means to you.
Sun, sea, sand, big cities, and a spectacular outback. Australia has is all. Its weather is reliably splendid and the way of life is generally laid-back, it’s no wonder that Australia has made this list. Our guess as to why it isn’t ranked higher is the apparent abundance of man-eating creatures!
The first of five Nordic countries to make this list, Sweden is a socially progressive nation with a mixture of beautiful rural areas and buzzing cities. It’s one of the largest countries in Europe and has one of the lowest population densities, meaning there’s plenty of space for everyone. It had risen one place since last year, demoting Australia.
8. New Zealand
Beating its Southern Pacific neighbour, New Zealand is next on this list. As with most other entries, New Zealand boasts lots of freedom and social progressiveness. Having a natural landscape straight out of the movies (literally, being featured in the likes of The Lord of the Rings and Avatar) helps boost happiness in the locals too.
Often seen as the United States’ calm and friendly neighbour, Canada scores highly across the board - welfare, life expectancy, job opportunities, big-city living, natural wonders, and social progressiveness. It’s enough to make one exclaim “Oh, Canada!”.
Europe’s low-lying, liberal gem perhaps embodies European bohemian culture at its finest. The Netherlands boasts a very laid-back society and many opportunities, ideally located amongst a number of other EU countries, living in the Netherlands means you’re only a train ride away from Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, France, and the UK.
Switzerland boasts the highest life expectancy on the list, with the average being over 83 years old. The landscape is the stuff of legend, the economy is booming and, compared with others on this list, tax rates are relatively low. This gem in central Europe has consistently been one of the happiest nations on Earth.
The least densely-populated country in Europe and one of the least densely-populated countries in the world, Iceland is almost other-worldly. A virtually untouched Eden, Iceland’s natural wonders are an inspiration, as evidenced by one in ten residents being published writers (the highest number of published writers per capita in the world). How could you be unhappy here?
Denmark is one of the world’s flattest countries (with just 178m between the lowest and highest points - for context, the lowest and highest points of the UK have a 1349m elevation difference). It has the best score in the perception of political corruption category, meaning trust is sky high between politicians and the people - a sure-fire contributor to happiness. Add to that a beautiful natural landscape and solid scores across the board for education, freedom, and GDP, it’s no wonder why Denmark has been in the Top 3 for the past three years.
Last year’s winner, Norway, has so much going for it. It has the highest GDP per capita on the list, scores highest in terms of personal freedom, and was voted Europe’s most beautiful country, boasting unparalleled views of the Northern Lights! It seems almost unfair that one country has so many feathers in its cap. There really isn’t much you could improve about Norway, and it’s no wonder that its residents are so happy.
And Fin-ally (sorry!), officially the happiest country in the world: Finland. As with all others on this list, Finland scores highly across all categories and boasts the highest standard of education on the list. With its high environmental standards, low crime rate, progressive society, and the most forest per square mile of any European country, Finland is the closest thing to a modern paradise.
As you can see, Europe, more specifically the Nordic countries, are clearly doing something right! Frankly, as we started off saying, whichever country you live in from this list, you’re unlikely to be disappointed with your living conditions. If you’re planning to move abroad to find your Happily Ever After, you’re going to have currency requirements. That’s where we can help. Whether it’s paying for a house, paying for ongoing maintenance or rent, or even having your salary transferred to your new overseas bank account, Currency UK can take care of it all.
Posted in Expat Resources on May 25 2018