Moving to a foreign land is no easy feat – there are plenty of factors that you must consider before arriving at your decision. No matter where you decide to go, essential comforts such as healthcare, safety, ease of making money, language, local communities, et cetera, are some of the few things that you ought to look into. However, doing this kind of research will prove to be a cumbersome task. So, to help you in your endeavour, we have compiled here a list of 25 best countries to live in the world in 2018.
To put your mind at ease, we have prepared this list based on several important variables like life expectancy, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, safety, happiness, population, climate, corruption, and cost of living. This list also takes in data from the United Nations Human Development Index and the World Happiness Report. So, without any further delay, let us get started.
#25 – Panama, Central America
[Capital: Panama City, Currency: United States Dollar, Balboa]
Panama, officially known as the Republic of Panama, is a small country in Central America bordered by Costa Rica and Colombia. For years now, this country has served as the primary choice for property investors, retirees, and second-home buyers. The country boasts of a rich biodiversity – it has an abundance of flora and fauna and is home to many exotic species. Even geographically speaking, the country is quite diverse – it is tropical rainforests, mountains, and picturesque sandy beaches. The economy of Panama is based primarily on the service industry which, in turn, is reliant upon tourism, banking, and commerce. Its banking system is one of the most developed ones in the world. It also generates revenues through the Panama Canal. It is worth mentioning that this canal, spanning across 80 kilometres, separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific Ocean.
#24 – Czech Republic, Europe
[Capital: Prague, Currency: Czech Koruna]
The Czech Republic may have come into existence only in the early 1990s but it has a history that can be traced back to the 6th Century A.D. In a short span of time, it has quickly moved up to become a developed nation with a high income, export-oriented economy. Science and technology have played an important role in the country’s economy with its main exports being machinery, precision equipment, electronics, and medical supplies. It is a welfare state that follows the European Social Model which, in turn, includes universal healthcare, free education, and labour protection. The Czech Republic has been often ranked as one of the safest and most peaceful places to live in the world. The quality of life is high here and at the same time, it is fairly affordable for many. The country also boasts of a rich history and has an extraordinary cultural landscape.
#23 – France, Europe
[Capital: Paris, Currency: Euro]
It is a well-known fact that France is one of the world’s top tourist destinations – no matter when you go to Paris, you will always find that city filled with tourists. However, from the perspective of an expat, France does have many wonderful opportunities. As a highly developed nation, it ranks very well in the international rankings of education, life expectancy, healthcare, and human development. It is also a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Its citizens are welcoming and friendly and the country yields an important influence on the rest of the world through science, politics, and most importantly, culture. It is one of the first countries in the world to recognise the rights of the individuals. As for its economy, it is a harmonious mixture of private and government enterprises with tourism being a major contributor.
#22 – Chile, South America
[Capital: Santiago, Currency: Peso]
Chile is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable countries in South America. The country’s capital – Santiago, is dotted with quaint cafes, boutiques, shops, and restaurants, marked by a backdrop of tall, modern buildings. A walk through the streets of Valparaiso will take you to another dimension where everything is good and perfect in the world. Once you are there, you will not want to leave – the country is that beautiful and its people are that friendly. Chileans are known to be hardworking and have contributed significantly to make Chile one of the most livable countries on the continent. They are content with what they have and it is a joy to be with them. Chile’s Human Development Index is exceptionally high – it is the highest in all of South America.
#21 – Malta, Europe
[Capital: Valletta, Currency: Euro]
Malta is an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea located just south of Italy. Being in the southern part of Europe, the weather here is comparatively better than its northern counterparts. It is never too cold and it is always sunny for most of the year. Malta has a rich history dating back to thousands of years ago, the traces of which can be seen in the country’s megalithic temples. Its history has also been touched upon by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Arabs. The country’s economy is very advanced and depends on banking, finance, and tourism. In the 2018 Human Development Index, Malta ranks higher than the likes of Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Poland, and Portugal. It has outranked these countries in the World Happiness Report as well. These facts imply that the economy of Malta is growing, thus making it a preferred country for foreigners.
#20 – Belgium, Europe
[Capital: Brussels, Currency: Euro]
Belgium is the land of chocolates, waffles, beer, and excellent food. If you move to Belgium, don’t be surprised if you end up gaining a couple of pounds over the first few weeks there. It is a developed country that ranks fairly high in the Human Development Index. Just like many European nations, it has a high standard of living, an excellent education system, and a near-flawless healthcare system. It is also one of the safest and most peaceful countries in the world. Over the years, it has attracted plenty of expats. The country’s nominal GDP as of 2018 is approximately $512 billion and through the course of the year, it has recorded a GDP growth of 1.9%. In addition to this, the Belgians are known to be quite friendly and helpful. If you do move there, you will get to benefit from its impeccable work-life balance.
#19 – Republic of Korea, Asia
[Capital: Seoul, Currency: South Korean Won]
The first thing that comes to mind when we think of South Korea is Samsung, Gangnam Style and kimchi. However, there is a lot more to this country than yummy food and fun people. South Korea, officially known as the Republic of Korea, is a developed country highlighted by its high-income economy. It has the third largest economy in all of Asia and 11th largest in the world. It is a global leader in science and technology and it prides itself on being a major exporter with emphasis on robotics, electronics, automobiles, ships, and machinery. Needless to mention, if you are a technology junkie, then there is no better place for you than South Korea. Apart from this, South Korea is also known for its diverse culture, breathtaking environment, and a thrilling nightlife. Furthermore, despite being a highly developed nation, the cost of living is comparatively cheap in South Korea when compared to other developed nations.
#18 – Luxembourg, Europe
[Capital: Luxembourg City, Currency: Euro]
Luxembourg is a small landlocked nation in Western Europe with an area of 2,586 square kilometres. With a population of a little over 600,000, it is one of the most densely packed countries in all of Europe. Interestingly, half of its entire population consists of foreign nationals. It is one of the most developed nations in the world and the people there enjoy a high standard of living. Its economy is marked by a high level of innovation and knowledge – the country is home to the European headquarters of Amazon, Paypal, Rakuten, Skype, and Ferrero. It is rightfully known as the ‘Heart of Europe’ and its capital – Luxembourg City, is one of the three official capitals of the European Union. Apart from being an important banking hub, it is also a picturesque country and has many hidden jewels that not many tourists know about.
#17 – Hong Kong, China (Special Administrative Region)
[Currency: Hong Kong Dollar]
Hong Kong is a specially administered territory in Southern China. Spread over a territory of 1,104 square kilometres, it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. It hosts roughly 7.5 million people of various nationalities. The city is a global powerhouse for trade and finance – the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is the seventh largest exchange while the Port of Hong Kong is one of the busiest container ports in the world. It has a very high human development index and a gross national income per capita although, it suffers from severe income inequality. Hong Kong’s economy is dominated by the service sector and is characterised by low taxation, an established international financial market, and minimal government intervention. Tourism also contributes significantly to the economy. It is also one of the best countries in the world to do business, according to the Ease of Doing Business Index.
#16 – United States, North America
[Capital: Washington D.C., Currency: United States Dollar]
The United States of America is often considered to be one of the greatest countries on Earth. It emerged as a superpower after the World War 2 and is a permanent member of the United States Security Council. The country has been built by immigrants from all across the world. Every year, thousands of people flock to the U.S to chase the ‘American Dream’ and many of them do make it. In every sense of the word, it is a land of opportunities. The Americans enjoy their freedom – they have freedom of speech, religion, press, and expression – this is, in fact, the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. It is a highly developed country – its economy is the largest in the world in terms of nominal GDP. The standard of living is high and the country ranks relatively high when it comes to crucial socio-economic performance indicators. The education and healthcare are also excellent although, at times, they may prove to be rather expensive.
#15 – Israel, Middle East
[Capital: Jerusalem, Currency: New shekel]
Israel is considered to be the most advanced nation in the Middle East when it comes to science and technology, and industrial and economic development. It has developed state of the art technologies in the field of software, mechanical engineering, life sciences, and communications. This is mainly owing to the high quality of education offered by the Israeli universities – this, in turn, has led to a highly educated and motivated populace that are contributing heavily to the country’s remarkable economic development and technology boom. Apart from this, Israel itself has a very rich history and culture; people from various religions live here peacefully. It is definitely an exciting place to live in, especially if you are a tech entrepreneur.
#14 – Austria, Europe
[Capital: Vienna, Currency: Euro]
Just like Sweden and Switzerland, Austria is considered to be one of the richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita. Its capital, Vienna, is the largest city in the country and is an important hub for art, finance, and politics. It is also remarked for its musical legacy and a rich cultural heritage. The Vienna State Opera is one place that you should definitely visit while in the city. While Austria ranks on the 20th place in the 2018 Human Development Index, it certainly ranks considerably higher when it comes to safety and happiness. The weather is brilliant throughout the year and winters can be particularly charming and mesmerizing. In fact, the country has many winter tourist cities which attract thousands of visitors every year. The economy of Austria is an industrialised one with Germany being its main trading partner, although it is dependent on tourism services, and other segments too.
# 13 – Sweden, Europe
[Capital: Stockholm, Currency: Swedish Krona]
Sweden is a Scandinavian country that has done well over the years to earn the reputation of being one of the most livable countries in the world. Its nominal GDP as of 2018 is a little over $600 billion dollars, making it the seventh richest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. Consequently, its citizens experience a high standard of living. Sweden’s economy relies heavily on foreign trade with its engineering sector accounting for approximately 50% of overall exports. It is home to many popular companies like Volvo, Ericsson, IKEA, and Electrolux. The country is home to a little over 10 million people, most of whom are residing in the southern part. Its population density is quite low – 22 inhabitants per square metre making it a perfect country for those who don’t like crowded places. Plus, forests cover roughly 70% of the entire land in Sweden! How is that for getting in touch with nature?
#12 – New Zealand, Oceania
[Capital: Wellington, Currency: New Zealand Dollar]
New Zealand is an awesome little island that has done well to become one of the most developed countries in the world. The standard of living, just like the rest of the countries in our list of best places to live in the world in 2018, is quite high. It has a world-class education system, a well-designed healthcare structure, and economic freedom. However, more than this, the country is known for its phenomenal landscape and a rich biodiversity. It is quite popular among tourists – in fact, international tourism plays an important part in the country’s economy. It is one of the best places on Earth for adventure sports as the country has a bit of pretty much everything you can ever ask for. The country is also environmentally friendly – as of 2015, more than 40% of its total energy demand was met by renewable energy.
#11 – Canada, North America
[Capita: Ottawa, Currency: Canadian Dollar]
Let’s face it – all of us have heard about the hospitality of Canadians. They are considered to be the friendliest people in the world and are known to be highly polite and kind. Their friendly nature defines the character of the entire nation. Canada, as a country, is exceedingly welcoming of people from all around the world. It has a multicultural population whose economy is growing and is willing to accept skilled workers – it is one of the few countries in the world that allows you to immigrate there without a job offer in hand. Apart from this, the country has an incredible landscape and nature. Being the second largest country in the world by land, there is a lot here to see and do and rest assured, your wanderlust will be satisfied here.
#10 – The Netherlands, Europe
[Capital: Amsterdam, Currency: Euro]
The Netherlands may be a small country but when it comes to important parameters such as human development, quality of life, healthcare, and education, the country boasts of a strong performance. The country ranks among the highest in several international indices and the reason for this lies in its generous welfare system. It is a country where tradition and innovation come together to give rise to something wonderful. The Dutch people are known to be quite straightforward, honest, and direct but don’t let it deter you. Once you have broken the ice, you will see how fun and friendly they can be. Additionally, they prefer using public transport and bicycles rather than their cars and why wouldn’t they – the country has a well-developed infrastructure to support the same!
#9 – Singapore, Asia
[Currency: Singapore Dollar]
It is absolutely fair to say that Singapore is one of the leading destinations in the world when it comes to finance, education, healthcare, innovation, logistics, trade, entertainment, and transport. It is a smart city where technology has been implemented in every sphere of life to make things run like clockwork. Year-after-year, the city has topped various international rankings and is undoubtedly one of the most preferred locations for expats from around the world to move to. In fact, among its population of 5.6 million people, roughly 40% of them are foreign nationals. Whether you are looking to start a business or giving your career a much-needed depth, Singapore is the place to be – especially if you are a tech guy. However, remember that the people there are highly competitive and you should be willing to work hard and smart to stand out in the crowd.
#8 – Australia, Oceania
[Capital: Canberra, Currency: Australian Dollar]
Australia – the land down under and without a doubt, one of the most developed countries in the world. In this years Human Development Index ranking, the country has bagged the third place. It is known for its world-class universities, a good standard of living, a breathtaking scenery and of course, an exotic wildlife. Its economy is dominated by the service sector and interestingly enough, it is the second wealthiest nation in the world in terms of wealth per adult, right after Switzerland. Furthermore, despite being the sixth largest country in the world, it is not as populated as one may imagine it to be – its population is a little over 25 million. So, if you are the kind of person who values peace and loves quaint, charming towns, then this country is for you.
#7 – Ireland, Europe
[Capital: Dublin, Currency: Euro]
Ireland – an island that is known for its amazing castles, breathtaking scenery, and fascinating folklore. The country is home to some of the friendliest people in the world – you will never feel alone there! You will always have someone to talk to or have a drink with. And when you are not busy chasing leprechauns or drinking Guinness, you can immerse yourself in the country’s nature. In addition to this, working in Ireland is quite remarkable – their economy is growing and by law, the employees are required to avail their 20 days of leave every year. Like many European nations, Ireland is quite safe to live in and its healthcare system is funded largely through public taxes.
#6 – Germany, Europe
[Capital: Berlin, Currency: Euro]
Germany – the land of beer, cars, bratwurst, and world-class industries. It is one of the best places to live on Earth – the country has been ranked at the fifth place in the 2018 Human Development Index. It boasts of a high quality of life, of being the fifth largest economy in the world, and of providing an impeccable quality of education. In fact, its economy has been designed in such a way that it establishes both – fair competition within the markets and a welfare state. The Germans love their football as well – the country is full of die-hard supporters of their local clubs. Year-after-year, it continues to attract expats from all over the world and there is no reason why you shouldn’t go there.
#5 – Finland, Europe
[Capital: Helsinki, Currency: Euro]
Finland is considered to be one of the cleanest countries in the world and all for the right reasons – the country has put environmental-friendly policies in place to protect and preserve its nature. If this alone isn’t enough to convince you to move there, it will also interest you to know that Finland has been ranked No. 1 as the happiest country in the world. Furthermore, it is one of the safest countries to live in. Finns are honest, modest and quiet, and usually, they don’t initiate conversations with strangers. However, once you break the ice, you will be surprised to see how friendly they are.
#4 – Iceland, Europe
[Capital: Reykjavik, Currency: Icelandic Krona]
Iceland is a tiny island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean with a size no bigger than that of the State of Kentucky. However, this sparsely populated country in Europe ranks quite high when it comes to several important indices that deal with human development. The quality of life here is above par in comparison with some of the most developed nations in the world. Not only this, it is also a land of geological extremes – the summer days see 24 hours of sunshine whereas, in winter, the sun is out for barely three hours. Also, the Northern Lights are visible for eight months in a year so, after a long day, you can be rest assured to be mesmerized by the sheer beauty of its night sky.
#3 – Denmark, Europe
[Capital: Copenhagen, Currency: Danish Krone]
Denmark, officially known as the Kingdom of Denmark, is among the happiest and safest countries in the world. It is an archipelago that comprises more than 100 islands with a population of a little over 5.5 million. The country is known for its flawless beaches, deserts, and of course, an impeccable architecture. Bicycling is quite common throughout Denmark and why wouldn’t it be – it is healthy and good for the environment. In fact, the country has twice as many bicycles as cars, making it one of the greenest countries in the world. The country also boasts of high employment rates and a particularly high standard of living; it is among the highest in Europe. As an immigrant, you will always feel welcomed in Denmark and rest assured – once you are here, you will not want to leave.
#2 – Switzerland, Europe
[Capital: Bern, Currency: Swiss Francs]
Switzerland is among the most expensive countries in the world; however, all things considered, it is definitely a price worth paying. Often dubbed as ‘Heaven on Earth,’ Switzerland will offer you everything you can ever imagine. From hot chocolate fondue and cheese to marvellous mountains and picturesque views, Switzerland is truly one of the best countries to live in. The Swiss Government is highly transparent, people-friendly, and efficient. In addition to this, Swiss neutrality is one of the main aspects of its foreign policy. It means that Switzerland is not to be involved in armed conflicts with other states. The country also boasts of an excellent healthcare system, beautiful weather throughout the year, and of course, its wealth.
#1 – Norway, Europe
[Capital – Oslo, Currency – Norwegian Krone]
Norway – the land of fjords, trolls, midnight sun, and most importantly, aurora borealis. The true beauty of Norway lies in its Northern region, although it isn’t to say that the Southern part is any less beautiful! Many expats who have travelled to Norway prefer living in South in the picturesque cities of Oslo, Stavanger, and Bergen. The scenery in this country is impeccable and you will always find yourself awestruck by the sheer beauty of this country. It is exceptionally clean and to add to this, in 2016, it became the first country in the world to completely ban deforestation.
Furthermore, Norwegians are known for their positivity, happiness, and honesty all around the world. They are the happy-go-lucky kind who will be more than glad to make your acquaintance. All of this coupled with excellent employment benefits, breathtaking surroundings, and a great social welfare model truly make Norway the best place to live in the world.