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How to Choose Your Country?

By Jochen Voss, last updated 2011-10-30

In our times of globalisation and greatly increased mobility, the prospect of moving to another country becomes less frightening than it used to be. Big companies already move their assets around the globe in order to optimise their situation. Why shouldn't you as an individual do the same? This page intends to help you in choosing a country to live in.

Indicators

Freedom of Press
A free and lively press is one important building block of a country which is good to live in. Problems are more likely to be fixed when it is possible to point them out openly. The Reporters Without Borders provide a yearly report about the world wide situation of the press. For the table below I used values from the Press Freedom Index 2006. Lower values are better.
Life Expectancy
The life expectancy reflects a multitude of factors which are closely related to the quality of living. This includes personal wealth (the rich live longer) and environmental factors (pollution makes ill). The table below includes values from the rank tables for life expectancy at birth in the CIA world factbook. Most of the values are estimated values for the year 2006. Higher value are, of course, better.
Unemployment ratio
Finding a job in your new country will be significantly easier if there is low unemployment. The league table below contains values from the unemployment rates rank table in the CIA world factbook. The numbers given are percent of the work force without work. The values are estimates for different years. Lower values are better.
Corruption
Corruption damages open, democratic processes by hiding the real objectives in decision making and leading to decision which are not in the best interest of the public. When choosing your country it is best to avoid countries where corruption is wide-spread. Since corruption does, by definition, not happen in the open it is difficult to measure. Transparancy International publishes yearly reports on corruption. I used their Corruption Perceptions Index 2005 to compose the table below. Higher values are better.
Public Debt
Countries which have accumulated high levels of debt have less money to operate public institutions and are also liable to increase taxes to generate additional income. You better avoid them when choosing your country. The table below contains values from the public dept rank table of the CIA world factbook. The numbers are given in percent of the GDP, smaller numbers are better.
Language
Life is a lot easier, if you can chat with your neighbours and easily ask the way when you are lost. So make sure to choose a country where you understand the local language. The information given here was collected from Wikipedia.

The League Table

country freedom
of press
index
life
expectancy
unemployment
ratio
corruption
index
public
dept
languages
Andorra 83.51 0.0 Catalan, Spanish, French
Iceland 0.5 80.31 2.1 9.6 31.6 Icelandic
San Marino 81.71 2.6 Italian
Liechtenstein 79.68 1.3 German
Netherlands 0.5 78.96 6.6 8.7 52.7 Dutch
Finland 0.5 78.5 8.4 9.6 39.6 Finnish
Ireland 0.5 77.73 4.3 7.4 26.7 Irish, English
Norway 2.0 79.54 4.6 8.8 50.1 Bokmål, Nyorsk
Switzerland 2.5 80.51 3.8 9.1 52.0 German, French, Italian
Sweden 4.0 80.51 5.8 9.2 50.4 Swedish
New Zealand 5.0 78.81 3.7 9.6 21.3 English, Māori
Korea, South 7.75 77.04 3.7 5.1 20.0 Korean
Australia 9.0 80.5 5.1 8.7 16.1 English
Japan 12.5 81.25 4.4 7.6 158.0 Japanese
Hong Kong 14.0 81.59 5.5 8.3 1.8 Cantonese, English
Kuwait 17.0 77.2 2.2 4.8 12.1 Arabic
United Arab Emirates 17.5 75.44 2.4 6.2 17.5 Arabic
Singapore 51.5 81.71 3.1 9.4 102.9 English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil
Canada 4.5 80.22 6.8 8.5 69.6 English, French
Austria 4.5 79.07 5.2 8.6 65.1 German
Denmark 5.0 77.79 5.7 9.5 37.0 Danish
France 9.0 79.73 9.9 7.4 66.2 French
Spain 10.0 79.65 9.2 6.8 42.9 Spanish
Taiwan 10.5 77.43 4.1 5.9 33.6 Mandarin
Qatar 18.0 73.9 2.7 6.0 35.6 Arabic
Luxembourg 78.89 4.5 8.6 French, German, Luxembourgish
Portugal 3.0 77.7 7.6 6.6 63.9 Portuguese
Belgium 4.0 78.77 8.4 7.3 94.3 Dutch, French
Germany 5.5 78.8 11.7 8.0 67.3 German
United Kingdom 6.5 78.54 4.7 8.6 43.1 English
Greece 8.0 79.24 9.9 4.4 106.8 Greek
Italy 9.9 79.81 7.7 4.9 108.8 Italian
Chile 11.63 76.77 8.1 7.3 7.5 Spanish
Israel 12.0 79.46 9.0 5.9 99.7 Hebrew
Malaysia 22.25 72.5 3.6 5.0 46.2 Malay
Malta 79.01 7.8 6.4 Maltese, English
Czech Republic 0.75 76.22 8.9 4.8 25.9 Czech
Slovenia 3.0 76.33 10.1 6.4 28.5 Slovenian
Costa Rica 6.67 77.02 6.6 4.1 56.8 Spanish
Cyprus 7.5 77.82 5.6 5.6 70.3 Greek
USA 13.0 77.85 5.1 7.3 64.7 English
Monaco 79.69 22.0 French
Puerto Rico 78.4 12.0 Spanish, English
Brunei 75.01 4.8 Malay, English
Palau 70.42 4.2 English, Palauan

Table 1. The country league table. The groups are choosen as follows: each country is sorted in the highest group such that it beats each country in the same and in lower groups for at least one indicator. Green fields are good values for the corresponding categorie, red fields are bad values.

References

Copyright © 2011, Jochen Voss. All content on this website (including text, pictures, and any other original works), unless otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.