Finding the best place to live depends on what you are looking for.
If it’s financial, The Economist had the answers. Meanwhile, the UN named the happiest places and the World Economic Forum took us to gender equality.
Best Places to Live
The Economist gathered data from 34 relatively high income countries. Focusing on five categories, predictably, they included the change in the GDP and two inflation metrics: its change and its breadth. With breadth they just meant the proportion of a market basket hit by higher prices. Then, their last two categories were stock market performance (did it go up?) and government debt (did it go down?).
Computing all for 34 countries, they wound up with Greece in the top spot and Estonia, last. As you can see, after Greece, we had Portugal, Ireland, and then, tied for #4, Israel and Spain. Britain was #13 and United States, #20:
In its “Average Life Evaluation,” the World Happiness Report 2022 used six criteria. Explaining their data, they said they relied on self-reported life evaluation, positive emotions, negative emotions, A 7th purple bar, Dystopia, is the name of a hypothetical country they used as a benchmark. In addition, the entire fourth category refers to the freedom to make key life choices like helping strangers and other benevolent acts:
In the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022, they move from four general categories to a list of specific subindexes. Through its four categories of indicators, the Report compares men and women. A score displays the extent to which the gender gap has been closed. As a result, a country’s number reflects the distance to parity that it has achieved. Assume for example that college enrollment is 100 percent for men and for women in Country A and 60 percent for both in Country B. Though the numbers are very different, the 100 and 60 each show men and women at the same level. Consequently, Countries A and B would have a similar rank. They both display parity.
These are the four categories:
- Economic Participation and Opportunity
- Educational Attainment
- Health and Survival
- Political Empowerment
Among the 10 countries with the smallest gender gap, Iceland has topped the list for 13 years:
Our Bottom Line: Does Happiness Matter?
As a final step, we could say that the country that scored high for all three ranking categories could be called the best place to live. So, to summarize, I listed The Economist’s top five and then added the happiness and gender ranking. After that, I included Iceland because of its elevated happiness and gender numbers.
Returning to our title, how much does happiness matter? Which would you choose?
Or maybe, as economists, we can just conclude that we always return to tradeoffs.
My souces and more: To see how nations ranked financially, we used The Economist’s criteria. Next, for happiness, the UN’s World Happiness Report is always a pleasant destination as was the CNN summary. Then finally, we needed the gender perspective from WEF’s Global Gender Report 2022.