Best Countries to Live in for Quality of Life in 2024

Choosing where to live can be life-changing, and finding the best countries to live in is key. Our comprehensive 2024 rankings analyze factors like quality of life, stability, and opportunities to bring you the top contenders.
April 23, 2024
Best Countries to Live in for Quality of Life in 2024
Ana Fankhauser
April 23, 2024

Choosing where to live can be life-changing, and finding the best countries to live in is key. Our comprehensive 2024 rankings analyze factors like quality of life, stability, and opportunities to bring you the top contenders. Dive into our concise guide to understand which countries lead the pack and the reasons behind their rankings.

Key Takeaways

  • Sweden, Norway, and Canada are highlighted as the top three countries for quality of life, with strong social systems, economic stability, and a focus on healthcare, safety, and equality.
  • A diverse array of countries across different continents stand out for their high living standards, opportunities, and specific strengths, such as the Netherlands for work-life balance, Germany for thriving job markets, and Taiwan for healthcare.
  • Countries offer various unique aspects beneficial to specific groups, including family-friendly environments in Sweden and Norway, hotspots for digital nomads like Spain and Portugal, and those focusing on green living like Sweden and Japan.

Top 10 Countries for Exceptional Living Standards

People Drinking Coffee

Determining the best countries for exceptional living is a complex task. It requires considering a variety of factors that contribute to life quality, such as:

  • quality of life
  • life expectancy
  • political stability
  • work-life balance These factors are essential in calculating the overall score for each country.

According to recent studies and a global report, while the final countries list varies depending on the particular criteria, there are some nations from various countries that consistently perform at the top of the global average.

Some countries that have been acclaimed for their high quality of life in the William Russell happiness report, also known as the happiness index, are:

  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

Slovenia is also a top country, boasting a high standard of living and well-developed infrastructure. Australia deserves a mention too, known for high job opportunities and peaceful environment.

Let’s delve deeper into the top three.

First Place: The Best Country Overall

Sweden proudly holds the first place for the best country overall in terms of quality of life. But what makes Sweden top the list of best countries? Aside from its picturesque landscapes and progressive society, Sweden excels in providing high-quality public services, including healthcare and education.

This Nordic nation is a beacon of social equality, boasting one of the highest levels of gender equality in the world. Its cities blend historical charm with modern amenities, offering residents a high standard of living while preserving their rich heritage.

Second Place: A Close Contender

Just behind Sweden, Norway is a close second in ranking for quality of life among the best countries to live in, even surpassing Latvian quality. But what makes Norway a close contender for the top spot?

Norway is known for:

  • Its robust social welfare system
  • Emphasis on outdoor activities
  • High quality of life
  • Stable economy
  • Excellent education
  • Progressive societal values
  • Breathtaking landscapes, from fjords to forests

All of these factors contribute to making Norway more than just a close contender, but a top choice for many.

Third Place: Another Excellent Option

Sitting comfortably in third place for quality of life is Canada. What makes Canada another excellent option? Canada’s appeal lies not just in its vast wilderness, but also in its cultural openness. Due to its robust economy, extensive healthcare system, and emphasis on multiculturalism, this North American country offers a high standard of living. Its cities are diverse and dynamic, offering a blend of cultures that make Canada not just another excellent option but a truly welcoming home for its residents.

Regional Standouts: Top Countries by Continent

The top countries for exceptional living standards aren’t confined to one region; they span the globe, showcasing regional standouts that offer their residents high quality of life and opportunities. These countries are identified based on factors such as:

  • purchasing power
  • commute times
  • environment
  • Human Development Index
  • Economic Freedom Index
  • Government Effectiveness ratings

In Europe, countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Finland, Iceland, Austria, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Estonia, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom stand out as some of the top European nations when it comes to providing a high quality of life. As members of the European Union, these countries work together to improve the overall quality of life for their citizens. In Asia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia are recognized for providing a high quality of life, with Oman and the United Arab Emirates also being part of the Middle East. African leaders in providing an improved quality of life to their residents include South Africa, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, and Côte d’Ivoire.

Thriving Economies: Countries with Strong Job Opportunities

Countries with Strong Job Opportunities

A thriving economy with strong job opportunities is a crucial factor when considering which country to call home. After all, economic stability leads to better living standards.

Countries like New Zealand, the Netherlands, South Korea, Germany, Brazil, Denmark, Botswana, Canada, and Singapore offer booming job markets across various sectors such as tourism, teaching English, engineering, agriculture, finance, and healthcare. These countries not only offer employment opportunities but also additional perks like work-life balance in the Netherlands, competitive wages in South Korea, and overall increased earnings and balance in Canada. As a result, expatriates in these thriving economies report improvements in their quality of life and career prospects.

Health and Wellness: Nations with Outstanding Healthcare Systems

Health and Wellness

Health and wellness are integral to a high quality of life, making the quality of a country’s healthcare system a crucial consideration. A strong healthcare system not only ensures the well-being of its residents but also reflects the country’s overall development and priorities.

According to the 2024 CEOWORLD magazine Health Care Index, the top countries with the best healthcare systems in the world are:

  1. Taiwan
  2. South Korea
  3. Sweden
  4. Ireland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Germany
  7. Norway

These rankings are based on healthcare infrastructure, the competence of healthcare professionals, cost, quality medicine availability, and government readiness.

Cultural Richness: Countries with Diverse and Vibrant Cultures

Cultural Richness: Countries with Diverse and Vibrant Cultures

Culture is the soul of a society, reflecting its history, values, and way of life. Countries with diverse and vibrant cultures offer residents a richer living experience, a sense of belonging, and a deeper understanding of the world through cultural influence.

Countries like Greece, Spain, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, France, and Turkey are renowned for their cultural richness. These countries offer a unique blend of history and modernity, tradition and innovation. Their cultures have shaped global trends in:

  • arts
  • philosophy
  • science
  • politics

Making these countries exciting and enriching places to live.

Safe Havens: Countries with High Safety Ratings

Safety is a fundamental human need and a key factor in a country’s living standards. Countries that prioritize safety provide their residents with peace of mind, contributing to their overall well-being and quality of life.

The top 5 safest countries in the world are:

  1. United Arab Emirates
  2. Qatar
  3. Taiwan
  4. Norway
  5. Singapore

These countries showcase a diversity of safe locations across different continents. Seven out of the top ten safest countries in 2024 will be in Asia, reflecting the region’s commitment to safety.

Countries such as Sweden, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Singapore, Japan, and Slovenia are also recognized as particularly safe for women, reflecting broader safety narratives.

Family-Friendly Destinations: Ideal Countries for Raising a Family

Raising a family comes with its own unique set of considerations, and certain countries offer more supportive environments for families than others. These family-friendly destinations prioritize policies and practices that support parents and children, making them ideal for raising a family.

Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, and Portugal stand out for their family-friendly policies, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding support, and access to affordable, high-quality childcare and preschool education. Countries like Italy also offer excellent international schools and cultural centers, providing valuable educational opportunities for families. These countries not only provide a supportive environment for raising children but also foster cultural practices that promote family cohesion, such as shared mealtimes in Norway and a supportive expatriate environment in Sweden.

Digital Nomad Hotspots: Top Countries for Remote Workers

The rise of remote work has led to the emergence of digital nomads—professionals who work online while traveling the world. For these digital nomads, certain countries stand out as hotspots due to their supportive policies, reliable infrastructure, and welcoming communities.

Top destinations for digital nomads in 2024 include:

These countries offer a unique blend of lifestyle benefits, supportive policies for remote workers, affordable cost of living, and flourishing expat communities. They not only provide a conducive environment for remote work but also offer a unique cultural experience, making them ideal for digital nomads.

Green Living: Environmentally Conscious Countries

In an era of increasing environmental consciousness, countries that prioritize sustainable practices and green living stand out. These countries not only strive to preserve their natural environment but also encourage their residents to adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives.

Countries recognized for their commitment to green living and sustainability include:

  • Sweden
  • Japan
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • the Netherlands
  • Canada

These countries integrate sustainability into their policy-making, infrastructure, and societal norms, offering residents an opportunity to contribute to global sustainability efforts while enjoying a high standard of living.

Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Countries with Great Potential

While the best-known countries often dominate the spotlight, there are many lesser-known countries that offer great potential. These hidden gems may not make the headlines as often, but they offer unique opportunities and experiences for those willing to explore off the beaten path. Some of these lesser-known countries include:

  • Bhutan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Namibia
  • Slovenia
  • Uruguay

These countries may not be on everyone’s travel radar, but they are definitely worth considering for your next adventure.

Andorra, Panama, Serbia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Mexico are some of these hidden gems, each offering unique advantages. Some of the advantages include:

  • Andorra: the world’s safest country
  • Panama: an affordable retirement destination
  • Serbia: a budget-friendly lifestyle
  • Malaysia: a diverse living environment
  • Thailand: a popular tourist destination
  • Mexico's rich culture and history

These countries offer something special, making them worthy of consideration.


In summary, the best countries to live in offer more than just beautiful landscapes or bustling cities; they provide high living standards, safety, opportunities, and unique cultural experiences. Whether you’re seeking a country with a thriving economy, outstanding healthcare, a vibrant culture, high safety ratings, family-friendly policies, or a commitment to green living, there’s a perfect country out there for you. So, as you consider your next move, remember to look beyond the surface and dive deeper into what each country offers. After all, the world is a vast place filled with endless opportunities for those willing to explore!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top three countries for exceptional living standards?

Sweden, Norway, and Canada are the top three countries for exceptional living standards.

Which countries are known for their strong job opportunities?

New Zealand, the Netherlands, South Korea, Germany, Brazil, Denmark, Botswana, Canada, and Singapore are known for their strong job opportunities, making them attractive options for job seekers.

What are some of the best countries for healthcare?

Taiwan, South Korea, and several European countries are among the best in terms of healthcare, with Taiwan and South Korea as the top choices.

Which countries are considered safe havens with high safety ratings?

The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Taiwan, and Norway are considered some of the safest countries with high safety ratings.

Are there lesser-known countries that are great to live in?

Certainly, lesser-known countries such as Andorra, Panama, Serbia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Mexico offer great potential for residents seeking a new place to live. These nations often have diverse opportunities and unique cultural experiences that appeal to many expatriates.

Share this post
Share tips, news, insights with the Movingto community on Slack. It's completely free.
Join our Slack Group
Check it out