There’s no denying that our quality of life has taken a hit over the past couple of years, with the onset of the global pandemic putting a stop to many of our freedoms and leaving us all feeling our day-to-day existence left a lot to be desired. But despite this brief hiccup, things are already improving once again, with life returning to what many of us would call normality.
Although we might have begun to think that our overall quality of life is on the decline, the good news is that, when looking at the bigger picture, the opposite is actually true – and with more people enjoying an abundant income and a luxurious lifestyle than ever before, the evidence is undeniable.
Nevertheless, according to the late Swedish academic Hans Rosling, many of us remain oblivious to the gains being made around the world, with the doom and gloom of the media leading us to believe that things are worsening. When you consider that every day, more than 200,000 people globally are being elevated above the $2 a day poverty line, and that hundreds of thousands more are gaining access to clean water and electricity for the first time in their lives, though, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that in spite of the catastrophes, wars and famines happening around the world, things are, on the whole, far better than they were just decades ago.
Globalisation is a touchy subject for some, and there’s no denying that middle class families have felt the pressure on their wages – but it has also helped to improve poverty levels, particularly in Asia.
The number of high-net-worth individuals is growing, too. Defined as someone with assets exceeding £1 million, HNWI wealth grew by an eye-opening 7.6 per cent in 2020 in spite of the pandemic – while the ultra high-net-worth population, comprising those with assets in excess of £30 million – also surged by an impressive 6.3 per cent.
Of course, both fortunes and quality of life are impacted heavily by where in the world you live, with some countries considerably more privileged than others – and those who can afford to do so are increasingly looking to make strategic moves and relocate in order to reap the benefits of the best of them. The question is, which nations are they?
To determine which countries are the most privileged, researchers recently looked at 19 influencing factors in a study to find the luckiest people in the world. Focusing on the 37 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, as well as Argentina, Bulgaria, Brazil, India, Russia, Singapore and South Africa, it uncovered some interesting results – so if you’ve been planning to relocate yourself this year, then take note.
Based on the data collection spanning career opportunities and freedom, health and safety, financial independence, education systems, employment rates, income distribution, advancement opportunities, human rights, freedom of voice and gender equality, these are the most privileged nations in the world – and some of them might surprise you.
With a higher number of millionaires per 1,000 than any other country, Switzerland has long been recognised as one of the world’s wealthiest nations, and today, it remains a front-runner in terms of personal finance, scoring the maximum 100 points in this area of the study. But it’s not just money that sets this mountainous nation apart from the crowd, with its population also enjoying a stable life satisfaction score and some excellent opportunities when it comes to career and education. In terms of liberty and overall life satisfaction, the country scored an impressive 97.96, with safety and health coming in only slightly lower at 96.3.
A breath-taking scenic nation that is home to huge glaciers and show-stopping volcanoes, the Icelandic population is certainly well placed when it comes to natural beauty – but citizens are also the second most privileged group in the world. Scoring highly in each of the four main factors considered by researchers, the country offers great career opportunities, with the numbers coming in at a cool 93.81 out of a total 100. For liberty and life satisfaction it scores 94.17, while safety and health sits at 91.33 – with finance coming in at a slightly lower but still highly respectable score of 72.49. All things considered, it scored 91.49 out of 100 overall – the only thing you might have to compromise on here is sunshine.
With lower rates of unemployment and inequality, plus high social mobility, Norway is another nation scoring well in the study, and came in at the top of the leader board in terms of opportunities and third place overall. Perhaps most notably of all, though, was the fact that it scored an incredible 100 on both liberty and career, with safety and health coming in at 97.34. So, what was it that let it down in the end? Finance, where it scored just 47.11 – giving it a final score of 89.39 out of 100 when all factors are considered.
The wealth of this tiny, landlocked city state is no secret – but despite being one of the world’s most privileged nations, it finished in fourth place overall. Scoring most highly in liberty and life satisfaction at 98.18, safety and health is a fairly close second at 87.03, while finance – perhaps surprisingly – comes in at just 68.31. Overall, Luxembourg scored a cool 89.31 out of 100.
Known as one of the happiest countries on earth, the Danish enjoy excellent levels of freedom and on the whole, are highly satisfied with their quality of life. Offering excellent career opportunities for citizens, it scored highly in this department at 99.85, with 88.35 for health and safety. Despite a slightly lower score of 44.04 for finance, it finished triumphant in fifth place overall, with a total score of 84.91.
If you’re looking to relocate in 2022, then these five countries are your best bets, offering an excellent standard of living all round. They might not be the warmest nations in the world, but they clearly have plenty to offer besides – so if you’re eager to uplevel your overall satisfaction and live an even more privileged life from this year onwards, then look no further.