10 Countries With The Best Quality Of Life As Rated By OECD Better Life Index

04/11/2015 11:38 | Updated 04 November 2015

Quality of life can be determined by many factors and different countries succeed at individual characteristics, but these top ten have exceeded in well-being, wealth and eco-friendliness, according to the OECD Better Life Index.

Fundamental factors such as access to clean drinking water and the promotion of gender equality all add into the mix of the best places to live, so without further ado, here is the top ten:

10 - Denmark

Denmark ranks highly in the environmental category which is reflected by figures that 94% of people say they are satisfied with water quality in the country, higher than the OECD average of 81%.

Danes also get to enjoy five weeks of paid holidays a year - and rank 6th out of 36 on gender equality. Financially its inhabitants are in good stead too: Over 73% of people aged 15 to 64 in Denmark have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 65%.

9 - New Zealand
milford sound

New Zealand, known for its beautiful glaciers and quantities of sheep, ranks at the top in health status. It also scores above the average in environmental quality, civic engagement, personal security, housing, subjective well-being, education and skills, and jobs and earnings, but drops below average in income and wealth.

The country, bringing the Rugby World Cup home this year, also has a high sense of public morale. When surveyed, 94% of people in New Zealand said they believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, higher than the OECD average of 88%.

8 - Netherlands

A country with grand museums and a long reigning monarchy, the Netherlands also boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world.

This could be a reflection on its wealth too as the average household in the Netherlands, has a net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 27 888 (£18,000) a year, which exceeds the OECD average of USD 25 908 (£16,800) a year.

7 - Sweden

Sweden is the top performer in environmental quality, on the Better Life Index. One example of its work is its Environmental Code regulator, which measures the impact of agriculture on water habitats.

Another high-scoring factor is that only 1% of employees in the country work long hours, one of the lowest rates in the OECD where the average is 13%.

6 - Canada

Canada, ranking below its American neighbuor, scores above the average in housing, subjective well-being, income and wealth, social connections, education and skills, and civic engagement.

When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Canadians gave it a 7.3 mark, higher than the OECD average of 6.6.

5 - USA
grand canyon

The USA, perhaps unsurprisingly, comes out on top in wealth and housing. Its average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is a whopping USD 41 355 (£26,800) a year, making it the highest OECD figure, compared to the average of 25 908 (£16,800) a year.

In terms of quality of life the American dream doesn't sit at the number one spot. Its downfall comes in the category of work-life balance, for example, the US is the only OECD country without a national paid parental leave policy, although some states do provide leave payments.

Available unpaid parental leave in the country is short (12 weeks), and only covers some employees (those in companies with 50+ workers).

4 - Australia

Australia ranks at the top in civic engagement and above the average in environmental quality, health status, housing, personal security, jobs and earnings, education and skills, subjective well-being, social connections, but below average in work-life balance.

It also has an exceedingly high voter turnout, which was 93% during recent elections; this figure is the highest in the OECD where the average is 68%, but reflects the fact that voting is compulsory in Australia.

Its plethora of surfing beaches can't be a miss for its quality of life too!

3 - Switzerland

Switzerland which has one of the lowest crime rates of all industrialised countries also has one of the world’s lowest employment rates.

80% of people aged 15 to 64 in Switzerland have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 65%, and one of the highest rates in the OECD. Some 85% of men are in paid work, compared with 74% of women.

2 - Iceland

Iceland is famous for its stunning views and displays of the northern lights, but a little known fact is that it also boasts the cleanest tap water on Earth.

The country blessed with beautiful glaciers and snowy peaks, also has a pretty satisfied population. When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Icelanders gave it a 7.5 grade, compared to the average life satisfaction is 6.6.

1 - Norway

Norway, the worlds largest exporter of Salmon, came out at number one on the list.

With an average life expectancy at 82 years, Norwegians are expected to live two years more than the OECD average. Life expectancy for men is 80 years, compared with 84 for women.

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