News: Usual suspects dominate QoL survey

A recent international study has revealed Europe rules in the worldwide quality of life stakes...

According to International Living magazine's comprehensive analysis, France again offers the greatest quality of life of any country, while war-torn Iraq remains in last place.

Despite high taxes, bureaucracy, and a high cost of living, France is once again in pole position after taking over the top slot last year.  And it's even relatively affordable in some regions too.  Outside of Paris, the cost of living is significantly lower and livable homes are selling for less than $100,000. France has benefited from its best-in-the-world health care system, legendary cultural amenities and safety, IL reports.

"France has a good climate, unspoiled countryside, and great health care.  And its capital, Paris, is arguably the world's most beautiful and romantic city on earth," said Laura Sheridan, Managing Editor of International Living magazine, who conducted the study. "Add to all this the world-competitive infrastructure and you can understand why we'd name France the world's best place to live."

To produce the annual index, International Living considers nine categories: Cost of Living, Culture and Leisure, Economy, Environment, Freedom, Health, Infrastructure, Safety and Risk, and Climate.  International Living uses statistics from a number of official government, non-profit, and media sources for much of the number crunching. IL also includes the input from International Living's extensive roster of correspondents from around the world.

The fall and rise of the United States

The United States - which had ranked at the top of the charts for an impressive 21 consecutive years until being dethroned in last year's survey - regained its footing somewhat, climbing up to the number 5 slot from number 7 in last year's survey. The United States' improvement was fueled by a significant improvement in its Cost of Living score. The United States' fall in the rankings last year was due to a decline in its Freedom score. That score remains significantly lower than its peer countries at the top of the chart, and is one of the primary reasons it is not higher in the rankings.

Six of the top 10 positions in this year's survey were taken over by European countries. Argentina rose to number 10 in the rankings. Many of the countries that showed the greatest increase from the 2006 International Living study were from Latin America.

International Living's 2007 Quality of Life Index highlights:

  • Leaders: 1. France, 2. Australia, 3. Netherlands, 4. New Zealand, 5. United States
  • Bottom Five: 195. Iraq, 194. Somalia, 193. Yemen, 192. Sudan, 191. Afghanistan
  • Other Notables: 8. Italy, 11.  Germany, 22.  Canada, 25.  Mexico, 34.  Panama, 37.  United Kingdom, 108. Cuba, 116. China, 116. Russia

Other Highs and Lows:

  • Lowest cost of living: Nauru (it's an island in the Pacific)
  • Best Infrastructure: United States
  • Most Corrupt: Haiti
  • Best for culture: Italy
  • Best climate: Zimbabwe
  • Best to register a new company: Australia
  • Longest life expectancy: Andorra

Fastest Risers:

  • Dominican Republic: Up 50 positions
  • El Salvador: Up 49 positions
  • Vietnam: Up 46 positions
  • Botswana: Up 42 positions
  • Kuwait: Up 42 positions
  • Costa Rica: Up 38 positions

Falling Behind:

  • Iran: Down 43 positions
  • Russia: Down 43 positions
  • Swaziland: Down 43 positions
  • Papua New Guinea: Down 38 positions
  • Israel: Down 37 positions

You can find the complete chart at www.qualityoflife2007.com.


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