Best countries to live in 2020

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Every year a dozen studies are made to find out which are the best countries to live in and this year is not an exception. Thanks to surveys from 2020 and the results we can conclude that the Scandinavian nations are good countries to live in, in many aspects. According to the U.S. News, Sweden, Norway and Denmark are all at the top of many of the ranking lists.

In MediCarrera we work with recruitment of medical specialists who want to grow their careers in Scandinavian healthcare. These countries are all known for having well-structured and high-quality healthcare. Even if work is the main reason why specialists move to these countries, there are many more aspects to be vital for a great life.

What is important for a specialist depends on their personal situation. If the specialist is relocating together with children, family-aspects are of great importance, and questions regarding kindergarten or education can be crucial.

So, which are the best countries to live in 2020? We will take a closer look.

What are the rankings based on?

To take a closer look at the results, we will first learn a bit more about the sub ranking lists and what the requirements to be on top of them are. In the study, several country-attributes that describe a nation were identified, and the participants later assessed how they associate each of them with the countries.

All the sub rankings are based on equally-weighted average scores from various country attributes relating to a specific subject. In the text, we will mention all the country-attributes that were considered for every sub ranking.

Quality of Life

Talking about life-quality is not easy, as people from different parts of the world associate it with different things. One thing that social scientists do agree on is that material wealth might be important but it is not the most important factor when it comes to assessing if a life is lived well.

The following, are the nine country-attributes considered in the sub ranking for quality of life: affordable, a good job market, economically stable, family-friendly, income equality, politically stable, safe, well-developed public education system and well-developed public healthcare system.

In countries where it is perceived as though they provide a lower quality of life the problem is concerning personal safety and economic opportunity, it usually seems as their performance is not good enough.

Raising Children

The Nordic countries are known for having generous parental leave policies and according to the study, these countries are the best place to raise children.

Eight country-attributes were considered in the sub ranking for best countries for raising children: human rights, family-friendly, gender equality, happy, income equality, safe, well-developed public education system and well-developed healthcare system.

Citizenship

Nations that care about human rights, gender equality, and religious freedom are the countries with reliable academics, advocates and other people worth taking after. These citizens inspire pride in their country through the people and the civil society leaders among others. 

These are the eight country-attributes considered in the citizenship rankings: care about human rights, care about the environment, gender equality, progressive, religious freedom, respect property rights, trustworthy and well-distributed political power.

At the top of the list, all countries have relatively generous social safety nets and offer affordable education and health care. These nations are also among the world’s wealthiest, and more importantly, they are all democratic. People around the world seem to agree that “The Nordic model” is one of the most sustainable ways forward. The model is known to promote social justice and progressive causes.

At the end of the list, you find countries that tend to be led by authoritarian and oppressive regimes, rulers who violently silence dissent and severely limit the rights of women.

Cultural Influence

Food, fashion, and easy-living often symbolize countries that have some cultural influence. Those countries set the trends, and products manufactured there tend to fly off the shelves in stores. Not only products from those countries become attractive to other cultures, but also their music, television, and movies.

The seven country-attributes considered in the cultural influence ranking are: culturally significant in terms of entertainment, fashionable, happy, has an influential culture, modern, prestigious and trendy.

The study shows that countries with little influence are those with authoritarian regime tendencies.

“The Nordic countries are known for having generous parental leave policies and according to the study, these countries are the best place to raise children.”

Education

The future belongs to today’s youth and in just a few decades, they will govern  countries. Their way of acting and relating to things will be shaped by what they know and what they have experienced. To invest in education is therefore crucial and one of the best predictors of a nation’s future success.

These are the eight country-attributes considered in the educational ranking: well-developed public education system, would consider attending university there, and provides top-quality education.

Countries with a mix of fairly run and decentralized education systems rank highest.

Green Living

Countries with healthy environments contribute to healthy citizens. Today the interest in how the concept of individual health is linked to the surrounding environment has increased. Data is being evaluated in order to see how the government’s policies are being set up and what kind of effects they have on environmental health and people. The evaluation also shows how the policies impact on how the nation’s ecosystem is vitalizing.

These are the three country-attributes considered in the green living ranking: care about the environment, health-conscious and innovative.

Women

The Nordic countries promote gender equality and work on the gap between women and men in society and the governments offer generous policies regarding maternity leave and parental leave.

This study is based on the response of nearly 9.800 women. These are the five country-attributes considered in the women-ranking: care about human rights, gender equality, income equality, progress, and safety.

Transparency

Countries with open business and government practices, well-distributed political power, high levels of trustworthiness, and low levels of perceived corruption are the most transparent ones. These nations also tend to be prosperous and some of the world’s strongest democracies.

U.S News is not mentioning any country-attributes for this sub ranking.

Comfortable Retirement

If a country is attractive, tempting to build a life thereafter retirement often depends on factors like the cost of living, quality of life, and cultural accessibility.

This study is based on the response from people 45 years or older who consider themselves as “upper class”. The seven country-attributes considered in the comfortable retirement ranking are: affordable, favorable tax environment, friendly, is a place I would live, pleasant climate, respects property rights and has a well-developed public healthcare system.

Forward-thinking

Foreseeing change can help establish security for people. Asian countries do the best job in forecasting the future and enabling people to adapt quickly to change. These nations are on top of the list of countries seen as the most forward-looking and prepared for what is to come.

This study is based on scores of more than 6.000 business decision-makers. 

These are the five country-attributes considered in the forward-thinking rankings: bureaucratic, dynamic, entrepreneurial, innovative and technological expertise.

Best Countries Overall

This study includes global perceptions of 73 nations. These perceptions define countries in terms of a number of qualitative characteristics, impressions that have the potential to drive trade, travel, and investment and directly affect national economies. In the study, 65 country attributes were identified through a survey of more than 20,000 people participating. In the survey, each country was scored on each of the attributes. The attributes are terms that can be used to describe a country, they are also relevant to the success of a modern nation. In the study, the participants assessed how closely they associate an attribute with a nation.

The sub rankings, their weights in calculating the overall ranking score and the country attributes factored is displayed below.

Sub rankings for the Best Countries Overall ranking

The result of the Best Countries To Live In 2020 rankings

U.S. News does several sub rankings every year and in this text, we only mention some of them. We will mention rankings that can be relevant for medical specialists, relocating to Scandinavia for work in the healthcare sector. If you want to read the other studies or immerse yourself in a specific ranking you can do so on U.S News.

Life in Sweden

In this year’s rankings, Sweden is ranked as the best country when it comes to citizenship and green living. What may be one of the main reasons why the country is ranked as the best one regarding green living is that almost all of Sweden’s trash is recycled.

Sweden is a country that has remained neutral in times of war. By staying committed to human rights, public service and sustainability the nation is today a respected leader when it comes to international affairs.

Sweden is spending a lot on public service and health care. As a parent, you can send your child to preschool for a small price every month and a college education is free into university, thanks to the government’s grant for studies. The Swedish government also provides an additional monthly child allowance until the children under the age of 16.

You can read more about how Sweden is a family-friendly country here, in a previous blog post.

Swedish society welcomes refugees into the country and currently refugees accounting for 10% of the Swedish population. The Swedish attitude toward gender equality is very progressive.

Sweden is a member of the European Union, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization among other international organizations.

 

A selection of Sweden’s top positions in 2020

In the list below you can see some of Sweden’s top positions from the rankings.

#1 in Citizenship Rankings

#1 in Green Living Rankings

#2 in Raising Children Rankings

#2 in Women Rankings

#3 in Quality of Life Rankings

#4 in Transparency Rankings

#8 in Best Countries Overall

#8 in Education Rankings

#11 in Forward Thinking Rankings

#12 in Comfortable Retirement Rankings

#14 in Cultural Influence Rankings

A selection of Norway’s top positions in 2020

Below you can see some of Norway’s top positions from the rankings.

#2 in Transparency Rankings

#3 in Citizenship Rankings

#3 in Raising Children Rankings

#4 in Quality of Life Rankings

#4 in Women Rankings

#5 in Green Living Rankings

#10 in Best Countries Overall

#14 in Comfortable Retirement Rankings

#15 in Forward Thinking Rankings

Life in Norway

Accordingly, to this year’s rankings, we can see that Norway is on top of the lists of transparency, citizenship and raising children, among others. The country stayed neutral during both World Wars and is today a high-income nation, considered as one of the world’s most gender-equal countries.

In Norway, the citizens have the fundamental right to daycare which assures the parents that there will always be a spot for the child. Until the age of 18, the Norwegian government provides free education and free healthcare.

Norway is a family-friendly country and you can read more about this in one of our previous blog posts, here.

The Norwegian government is committed to the environment and conservation and has set up policies to defend it.

Norway is not, unlike the two other Scandinavian countries, a member of the European Union.

Life in Denmark

This year’s rankings show that Denmark is the best country for women and also the best county to raise children. Women can continue working after a year of maternity leave as they did before. They do not have to work an unhealthy amount of hours just to make up for the time spent on maternity leave. The Danish government takes care of the daycare system which is well organized. As a parent, you only pay a small price for the kindergarten and the government pays the rest.

If you want to know more about Denmark as a family-friendly country, you can read about it here, one of our previous blog posts.

Denmark is ranked as the third-best country in the transparency rankings and one of the main reasons for this position may be the nation’s stable and transparent government. The corporate tax rate in the country is high but the country’s income tax rate is also among the highest in the world. The medical care in Denmark is mostly free thanks to Denmark’s progressive taxation system. Denmark also provides free higher education which may be the reason why it is the tenth-best country in the 2020 education ranking.

Denmark is a member of the European Union and the United Nations, among other global organizations.

A selection of Denmark’s top positions in 2020

Below we can see some of Denmark’s top positions from this year’s rankings.

#1 in Raising Children Rankings

#1 in Women Rankings

#2 in Quality of Life Rankings

#3 in Transparency Rankings

#5 in Citizenship Rankings

#6 in Green Living Rankings

#10 in Comfortable Retirement Rankings

#10 in Education Rankings

We have taken a closer look at a few of the aspects why the Scandinavian nations are some of the best countries to live in 2020. The result shows us that Sweden, Norway, and Denmark are all good choices when it comes to creating a new life for you, whether it is together with a partner, children or alone.

If you are a medical professional interested in career opportunities in Scandinavia, register now. You will not regret it!

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