International Living has just published its annual Quality of Life Index for 2011. The Index ranks most countries in the world (192) in nine different categories to come up with overall ratings for their comparative qualities of life.
The nine Quality of Life Index categories are: cost of living, culture, economy, environment, freedom, health, infrastructure, safety and risk, and climate.
According to Eoin Bassett, Editor of International Living magazine, the criteria for this year’s Quality of Life Index has been revised and updated.
“Over the 30 years we’ve been producing the Quality of Life Index, we’ve adjusted our categories and data sources several times as technologies, infrastructure, and other factors have changed.
The numbers tell their story. On a macro level, it’s this: The U.S. has more paved roads than anywhere else, more airports and a lot of cell phones, It’s got good Internet access, the world’s biggest economy (though not necessarily the best), and it’s got tens of thousands of doctors and hospitals (if you can afford them). The numbers say: The United States has a convenience that’s hard to match.
Of course, thousands of satisfied expats are living proof that, in return for sacrificing a little of that convenience, a truly healthy, happy and more affordable life overseas is possible.
But, said Bassett, the Index isn’t just about numbers. “If like us, you eschew convenience for opportunity, then study our Quality of Life Index with your priorities in mind, and you’ll find out a lot of what you need to know.
“Our 2011 Quality of Life Index can’t tell you where to find a midnight steakhouse, a 24-hour convenience store or a mall with everything under one roof. What it can tell you is that with a warm, dry Mediterranean climate, low crime rates, good medical facilities and English-speaking population, Malta is a good place to start looking for a life overseas.
“Or that New Zealand is a first-world retirement haven. It tells you that you can find an amazing climate in Mexico, and that it’s one of the culturally richest countries in the world in addition. It shows you that Uruguay, 22nd this year, earns solid marks in infrastructure and health (which is partly why more and more wannabe expats consider it an attractive option).”
“And for the record,” said Bassett, “we’re biased. Our sources, staff, and contributing editors are all influenced by a Western bias. We have definite, preconceived ideas about what constitutes a high or low standard of living, what constitutes culture and entertainment, and what climate is the most enjoyable. We also consider the world from the point of view of the majority of our readers—Americans spending U.S. dollars. So there definitely is a subjective factor to the Index that, I hope, makes it more meaningful and accessible to the majority of our readers and subscribers.”
See here for more information on the 2011 International Living Quality of Life Index, along with links for complete ratings for all countries and an explanation of how Quality of Life Index scores are calculated.