There are a lot of great countries out there. I’m leaning towards Switzerland but the lowest lift is probably Canada. How about you?
I know, I know — progressives say it every election cycle. “If so-and-so wins, I’m leaving the country!” Except in this case, my family and I would like to head out of Dodge if that man becomes president, which seems increasingly likely since he won the GOP coronation.
I do not wish to live here as Drumpf angers even more countries, builds massive walls around the North and South borders of our great United States (and probably, East and West, too!), and attempts to humiliate every strong woman he comes across. Oh, and when he throws 15 million Hispanics and Latinos out, further busts unions, helps ship even more jobs overseas … you know what I mean.
But also, we were the laughing stock of the world with Bush as president — twice! And now … ummm, yeah. They’re talking Trump here:
Image credit — Dylan Petrohilos/Think Progress.
I’ve a feeling other countries won’t be laughing with The Trumpet in charge of the nuclear codes. Nor, sadly, with the entire earth.
Based partly on the OECD Better Life Index, which measures all kinds of things that relate to quality of life, here they are:
It’s not that it’s a democratic socialist paradise, it’s that people are happier there, paid much better, and their healthcare is unsurpassed. (OK, so maybe being a democratic socialist country has something to do with that.)
Sure, it’s a bit expensive to live there, but 25% of all Ex-patriots living in Switzerland make $200K or better. Add the other quality of life stuff like gorgeous lakes in the warm months, ski slopes in the Winter, and the fact that 80% of people aged 15 to 64 have a job (versus 67% in the U.S.), and you’ve got Swiss gold. Its schools are among the best in the world, and life expectancy is near the top, according to the OECD Better Life Index, at 83 years old (as compared to 79 in the United States). A paradise, indeed.
Bonus: it’s centrally located in Europe, so great vacation spots like Italy, Germany, and France are a short hop away on a pleasant train trip through the alps. Sign me up!
I will be on that train one day. Oh, yes. Image from Your Trip Ideas.
2. The Netherlands
It ranks high on all of my qualifications such as health care, education, and jobs, but one of the biggest things for me is very simple: Amsterdam.
Yes, Amsterdam really is like this. Image from Cardiff University Students’ Union.
Also, getting around in major (even minor) cities is centered around bicycles and public transportation, rather than automobiles. I love places like that. The average student in The Netherlands scored 519 in reading literacy, math, and science. This is stronger than the OECD average of 497. (The U.S. score on these? Ahem. 492.) Just living in a country where people are smart, can actually read, and study and understand science … wow, what a quality of life difference that would make for me.
Bonus: less than 0.5% of employees work very long hours. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
If you’ve got kids like my wife and I do, then schools and safety are a big concern. That would put Germany near the top of my list. It’s the 3rd-best place in the world to raise kids, and it has a stronger economy than most other parts of the globe. In Germany, only 5% of employees work very long hours, compared with the OECD average of 13% … don’t even get me started on the United States (*cough* 18% *cough*).
Life expectancy is 2 years more than the United States. And 94% of people in Germany believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need. Compare that to … oh, never mind. You get the picture.
Also, German culture is very safe; 80% of Ex-pats report feeling safer there than in their home country.
Bonus: There is no tipped minimum wage in Germany, so when you go out to eat, you can devour your food and then not have to pay wages with tipping, unlike the Land of Uncle Sam.
I have been to this castle with my buddy. OK, maybe it wasn’t exactly this castle. There’s a lot of them over there.
Image by Jasmine 8559 on Flickr.
With its high-quality single-payer healthcare system and strong support for (and funding for) education, Canada is on my list, too. Its proximity to the United States is of course a consideration, because we have friends and family still in the states and will want to visit — or maybe have them visit us. However, that same proximity to the United States could be a problem when China decides they’ve had enough of President Trumpet and decide to call in their debts. Or worse.
Canada won the top slot 3 years in a row for having the world’s best reputation as a place to do business and live. Even though it’s attached at the hip to the USA, it has a much less poisonous environment.
Safety? Homicide via firearms in Canada is 0.5 per 100,000, as compared with 3.2 per 100,000 in the Good Ol’ U S of A.
Bonus: Very likely, you’ll be able to speak the same language. Extra bonus: there are no billboards along the highways. Zilch. Nada.
See something missing here? Yeah, it’s the ads that are not blocking the trees. Image from MountainssOfTravelPhotos.com.
(Canada is making it easier later this year to move there, too!)
5. New Zealand
It’s top of the charts in health status, and above average in environmental quality, personal security, housing, and jobs/earnings. Life expectancy at birth is 82 years in NZ — just one year less than Switzerland. Air pollutant particles in New Zealand are just over 1/2 of the OECD average for large urban areas. If civic participation is any indicator of happiness or quality of life, voter turnout in New Zealand is a whopping 77%.
OK … where’s my frequent flyer number and passport? Image Creative Commons Licensed.
Bonus: No matter where you are in New Zealand, you’re 15 minutes away from spectacular beauty.