In this article we are going to list the 21 Best Quality of Life Countries in 2021. Click to skip ahead and jump to 10 Best Quality of Life Countries in 2021. There are close to 8 billion people in this world. However, the quality of life afforded to these people varies significantly, often depending upon their country, town, suburb or city. The vast majority of the global population lives in undeveloped or developing economies, with only a few lucky enough to live in truly advanced countries and not having to worry about where the next meal will come from, or how they will be able to afford even basic necessities.
I live in a country which is categorized as a developing economy, and where nearly a quarter of the population lives in poverty, with many homeless and not even able to afford the most basic of meals, let alone any other necessity. While I've been lucky enough not to have to go through that, I know that the quality of life for most people in developing economies is not even close to adequate, with lack of infrastructure being a major reason behind this. Many experts believe that developed infrastructure is a direct link to the quality of life enjoyed by the people. For example, in Europe, you will see quality roads, underground utility cables protecting them from any adverse weather or events, and excellent public transportation systems which are accurate and on time. But you will be hard-pressed to find any of this in developing countries, home to billions of people.
The gap in the quality of life enjoyed by people in different countries became even more apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has claimed nearly 3 million lives with the virus infecting around 136 million, and has particularly hit developed countries, including the United States and Europe, particularly hard, though this may also be because these countries maintain transparency and proper record collection. But when lockdowns in these countries were instituted, most employees who were earning below a certain threshold were furloughed which meant 80% of their wages were being paid by the government. In developing countries, no such security was provided, which resulted in an exponential increase in poverty. In fact, many countries couldn't afford to institute lockdowns, because of the devastation that it would wreak on their economies, and the subsequent impact on its citizens.
I think it's quite clear that quality of life varies significantly across country and regions. Therefore, to find out which countries exactly are at the top of the pile, we referred to a study conducted by BAV Group, VMLY&R and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where the rankings have been based on different metrics including affordability, job market, economic stability, family friendliness, income equality, political stability, education system and public health system.
Even though the developing countries are seeing a rise in income and average spending power, improvements in quality of life remain slow. People compete with each other in spending on luxuries like importing cars made by Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) and General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) but basic facilities like healthcare, education and clean water remain scarce. Data shows that out of the $23.2 billion spent on imports of electric cars internationally in 2019, Asia made up 16.7%. While the elite can afford quality of life and luxuries like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) or General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) cars, thousands find it difficult to make a bare minimum wage.
People often believe that the presence of international services like Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE: UBER) are signs that the quality of life is increasing across the board. But that is not the case. While people are beginning to spend their disposable income in subscription-based entertainment services like Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) or using an Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE: UBER) instead of public transport, the quality of life indicators are still rooted in the basics like ease of access to quality education, infrastructure, basic healthcare, quality of environment, crime rate and rule of law.
Best Quality of Life Countries in 2021
While I have my qualms about some of the countries ranking high in this list, I will mention them as we go through the countries with the highest quality of life in the world, starting with number 15:
Total GDP of the country (in billions of dollars): $69.5
GDP per capita of the country (in dollars): 106,372
The disposable income per capita in Luxembourg is $39,264 which is significantly higher than the OECD average.
20. South Korea
Total GDP of the country (in billions of dollars): $1,600
GDP per capita of the country (in dollars): 43,290
It is one of the most advanced Asian countries in the world, and far outperforms its neighbors and other geographically close countries.
Total GDP of the country (in billions of dollars): $1,400
GDP per capita of the country (in dollars): 40,172
Spain has one of the biggest economies in the world, though it still needs to do more to improve its ranking among the highest quality of life countries in 2021.
Total GDP of the country (in billions of dollars): $455.7
GDP per capita of the country (in dollars): 52,172
Austria is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and among OECD members, ranks above average in most metrics including income, housing, security, environmental quality and education.
Total GDP of the country (in billions of dollars): $2,100
GDP per capita of the country (in dollars): 39,676
Italy has high average income for its residents but is also below average among OECD in terms of environmental quality, jobs, personal security and housing.
Total GDP of the country (in billions of dollars): $364.2
GDP per capita of the country (in dollars): 101,387
Singapore is a global business center, which has allowed it enough money to improve its standard of living incredibly. However, it is also important to note that homosexuality is banned in the country and is punishable by law, so quality of life for LGBT people is not quite as good.
Total GDP of the country (in billions of dollars): $13,600
GDP per capita of the country (in dollars): 18,116
China may be the second biggest economy in the world, but experts remain skeptical about the human rights conditions in the country, amid torture on Muslims, and mass surveillance of people by the authorities.
Total GDP of the country (in billions of dollars): $274
GDP per capita of the country (in dollars): 46,596
Finland stands out in terms of all metrics being considered in our report, and was recently voted the happiest country in the world according to Gallup. In fact, it topped the list for the fourth consecutive year and is known for its education system, with its students ranking among the best in the world.
Copyright: scanrail / 123RF Stock Photo
Total GDP of the country (in billions of dollars): $352.1
GDP per capita of the country (in dollars): 52,279
Scandinavian countries are known for their quality of life, so its no surprise that Denmark makes to our list of highest quality of life countries in 2021.
Copyright: scanrail / 123RF Stock Photo
Total GDP of the country (in billions of dollars): $2,800
GDP per capita of the country (in dollars): 45,893
It is the most visited country in the world, and also provides an excellent standard of living for its citizens.
11. New Zealand
Total GDP of the country (in billions of dollars): $205
GDP per capita of the country (in dollars): 40,096
New Zealand has been an excellent country to live in for a while now, but it has perhaps taken on a new level since Jacinda Arden became the Prime Minister, and even though New Zealand is geographically favorable to staving off a pandemic, credit must be given to the government for strict and timely actions because of which less than 3,000 cases and 26 deaths were recorded.
Please continue to see the 10 countries with the highest quality of life.
Disclosure: No positions in Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), General Motors Company (NYSE: GM), Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE: UBER). 21 countries with the highest quality of life is originally published at Insider Monkey.