Rating of countries by standard of living

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Rating: 4.8/5 (voted 152)

Alexey Nosovsky

A representative of the Legal Department at iWorld. Author of articles on Migration Law.

Update: 19 April 2024 14 minutes read
Country for life

Life in developed countries means improved quality of living conditions, profitable employment or business, a stable and secure future for the whole family. This is what foreigners pay attention to when choosing a country for permanent residence. As the long-term practice of migration specialists who accompany the process shows, most emigrants are happy with their new place of residence and consider their choice to be successful.

The United Nations has introduced the concept of the Human Development Index for a comprehensive assessment of residence in a particular state. The HDI is an indicator of a number of criteria of life in different countries: education, health, gross national income per capita.

UN Countries Rating by Standard of Living

The best states to move to, according to the Human Development Index, are listed in an annual ranking on the official UN website.

Top 10 countries by standard of living:

Country Position in the HDI rating Index
Norway 1 0,962
Ireland 2 0,961
Switzerland 3 0,959
Hong Kong 4 0,952
Iceland 5 0,951
Germany 6 0,948
Sweden 7 0,947
Australia 8 0,945
Denmark 9 0,942
Netherlands 10 0,941

Norway leads the world HDI ranking. The average salary in the country is 52520 NOK (4913 EUR), the unemployment rate is 3.2%. The most popular ways to immigrate to Norway are family reunification, employment and setting up your own business. Obtaining citizenship requires seven years of residence in the state as a resident for the past decade.

Almost all of the top 10 countries are members of the European Union. According to the Treaty of Rome establishing the EU of March 25, 1957, and Directive 2004/38/EC, citizens of all states of the commonwealth are equal in rights. This means that an immigrant who receives a passport from any of the EU countries has the opportunity to move for permanent residence to one of the states that are at the top of the world rating in terms of living standards.

Top countries according to Numbeo quality of life rating

Global database Numbeo, which compiles such indicators as the cost of real estate, groceries, health, safety and other criteria, regularly publishes its own rating.

The top ten states according to Numbeo at the beginning of 2023:

Rating position Name of the country Quality of life indicator
1 Netherlands 196,7
2 Denmark 194,7
3 Switzerland 193,6
4 Luxembourg 192,9
5 Finland 190,5
6 Iceland 187,5
7 Austria 185,8
8 Oman 184,7
9 Australia 183,0
10 Norway 182,7

The Kingdom of the Netherlands occupies the first place in the rating for quality of life. The average salary in the country is 2152 EUR, the unemployment rate is 3.5%. The most popular ways to immigrate to the Netherlands are starting your own business, investment activities and work. The most popular fields of employment are law, engineering, and the computer industry. Living for five years with a residence permit entitles a foreigner to permanent residence, and then citizenship.

Rating of countries for living by CEOWORLD

One of the world’s leading business publications, the American magazine Ceoworld, regularly publishes rating lists of countries based on such indicators as political and economic stability, security, medical care, education, etc.

The top ten countries in the world in terms of quality of life:

Rating position Country Points
1 Finland 99,06
2 Denmark 98,13
3 Norway 96,75
4 Belgium 96,53
5 Sweden 96,15
6 Switzerland 94,4
7 Netherlands 93,69
8 France 92,08
9 Germany 91,26
10 Japan 91,23

According to Ceoworld, Finland has topped the world rating as the country with the highest quality of life. The average salary in the country by the beginning of 2023 was 3,540 EUR. Finnish citizenship can be claimed by a foreigner who has lived in the country for five or more years without any interruption with resident status. The most common ways to immigrate to Finland are by education, business and work. The list of professions in demand is regularly updated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, and there is a shortage of specialists in agriculture, tourism, construction, and the IT sector. The unemployment rate in Finland is 5.9%.

Rating of the countries according to US News & World Report

The American publication annually compiles and publishes a rating of the best countries to live in, based on such criteria as human rights, cultural and educational level, favorable business environment, etc.

Top 10 countries according to US News & World Report:

  1. Switzerland.
  2. Germany.
  3. Canada.
  4. USA.
  5. Sweden.
  6. Japan.
  7. Australia.
  8. United Kingdom.
  9. France.
  10. Denmark.

Switzerland leads the world rating for quality of life, according to US News & World Report. The average salary in the country is 6665 CHF (6760 EUR), the unemployment rate is 2%. The most popular ways to immigrate to Switzerland are employment (as temporary workers or highly qualified personnel) and starting your own business. Obtaining citizenship requires ten years of residence in the state as a resident. Simplified immigration programs for investors and property owners in Switzerland are not provided.

The best countries to live in

Most immigrants choose which country to move to for permanent residence on the basis of such factors as employment prospects, cost of living, level of security, and political relations with the country of emigration. Specialists of migration company will help to determine the best way to move taking into account personal preferences of immigrant.

Top 5 European countries to live in

France is a country for life


The state ranks 28th in the world rating of HDI. The average salary in the country is 2,791 EUR, the unemployment rate is 7.3%. The best way to move to France is the immigration program for financially independent persons. Foreigners who are planning an entrepreneurial or craft activity and have sufficient financial support to live in the country (not less than 20147.40 EUR per year) are eligible to apply for it. Those who are financially independent can apply for a residence permit and after five years of residence in France they can apply for a permanent residence permit.


The state ranks 53rd in the world ranking of the Human Development Index. The average salary in the country in 2022 was 785 EUR, the unemployment rate — 5.5%. The period of simplified citizenship (if the applicant has ancestors who lived on the territory of the country before 1940) is from 12 months. Moving to Romania by origin is the most affordable and easiest immigration to the European Union. The advantage of the program is the absence of requirements for the period of residence in the country and knowledge of the state language. The cost of the migration company’s services is determined at the individual consultation and depends on the complexity of the search for Romanian origin.


The state is on the 68th position in the HDI list. The average salary in the state is 665 EUR, unemployment is 4.3%. The most current and fastest way to obtain a passport (from 15 months) — on the basis of origin. A repatriate who meets the requirements of the state program has the right to obtain citizenship, bypassing the stage of residence permit and permanent residence permit. The period of immigrant’s life in the country and knowledge of the language are not regulated by the law.


The country has 34 HDI. The average salary in Poland in 2022 was 1002 EUR, the unemployment rate was 5.1%. The legalization procedure includes issuing a national visa valid for 12 months, during which the immigrant should arrive in Poland and apply for a passport. To apply for citizenship by origin, it is necessary to prove the existence of a place to live in the country and a source of income.


The country is ranked 27th in the HDI. The easiest way to immigrate to Spain is the investment program. Obtaining a “golden” visa is available to foreigners who have purchased real estate worth 500 thousand EUR, government bonds amounting to 2 or more million EUR, invested not less than 1 000 000 EUR in a local bank or shares of operating companies. The immigrant makes an investment for the period of 5 years. The procedure for moving to Spain consists of the following steps: obtaining a national annual visa, registration of residence permit for two years with the possibility of extension, applying for permanent residence permit, citizenship after 10 years of residence in the country.

According to the criteria of the legalization process, EU countries are the best options for emigration from the territory of the former Soviet Union, giving its citizens the right to reside freely in any EU state. Among the advantages of a European passport are:

  • right of residence and official employment all over the territory of the EU;
  • access to European health care;
  • social security available to EU citizens;
  • conducting business in Europe;
  • access to the EU banking system, preferential crediting;
  • access to education on the rights of EU citizens.

Best countries in America to live in

New York, American country for a comfortable life


The United States ranks 21st on the Human Development Index. The country has a large market of in-demand jobs and good opportunities for running and developing one’s own business. Most immigrants consider employment, entrepreneurship, and participation in the annual Green Card lottery (a drawing of 50,000 visas among applicants from a number of countries with low rates of immigration to the United States) to be reasons to move to the United States. In 2022 the average salary in the United States was $3,620 USD, and the unemployment rate was 3.5%.


The state is ranked 15th in the HDI. Moving to Canada is considered the most affordable, considering the availability of about 90 federal and regional immigration programs. A significant number of immigrants is selected online by the Express Entry system, which determines each participant’s integration opportunities in the country. According to data for the first half of 2022, the average salary in Canada was 3347 USD, and the unemployment rate is 5.1%.

Caribbean States

A number of foreigners prefer to immigrate to the warm countries of Latin America, which offer a passport for investment: Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia. The procedure for obtaining citizenship of island states is simplified and based on investment into real estate or the economy.

Top 3 Asian countries to live in

UAE is the best country to live in


The United Arab Emirates ranks 26th in the HDI rating. The average salary is 4158 EUR, the unemployment rate is 3.9%. Among the top countries to move to in Asia, the UAE offers the easiest conditions and a large number of immigration programs. The most popular are residence permits for skilled workers, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Permanent residence permit may be issued to a foreigner who has bought a home for a total amount of 750,000 AED (192,000 EUR). Golden visa for ten years can be obtained by immigrants on the basis of the purchase of real estate worth at least 2 million AED (512,000 EUR).

Hong Kong

The state is ranked 4th in the Human Development Index. The unemployment rate in 2022 is 3.8%, the average salary is 1865 EUR. The easiest way to immigrate to Hong Kong is through employment. After seven years of living in the country with a working residence permit, a foreigner can apply for permanent residence permit. Permanent resident status gives all the rights of a citizen, including voting and free medical care. Among the advantages of living in Hong Kong it is worth noting the extensive labor market and good opportunities to develop their own business. The disadvantages include the high cost of renting real estate and airfare.


The country is ranked 12th in the global HDI ranking. The average salary in Singapore in 2022 is 4055 EUR, the unemployment rate is 2.1%. The most affordable reason for relocation is employment. Investment programs of immigration involve contributing in the economy of the country from 2.5 million SGD (1 750 000 EUR). After six months of living and working in Singapore a foreigner is entitled to apply for permanent residence permit. After two years of living in the country an immigrant can apply for citizenship. The advantage of the Singapore passport is visa-free travels to 192 countries of the world. The disadvantages of living in the country are considered to be expensive flights and lack of opportunity to maintain the initial citizenship.

How to move to a country with a high standard of living

  • Employment. Job applicants have the right to work abroad and sign a contract with a foreign company. Most countries require an immigrant to obtain a work permit. Using work as a reason to move, a foreign has the opportunity to obtain a visa, then a residence permit to continue to integrate.
  • Education. Immigrants wishing to study abroad have the right to obtain a student visa, then a residence permit for the entire period of study. Upon graduation, the graduate may be offered a job with a local company. Further naturalization of the immigrant will be based on employment.
  • Family reunification. Applicants can move to another state for permanent residence if they have relatives who are residents: parents, spouses, less often siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts. This type of visa is also suitable for persons intending to marry a citizen of the country. The applicant for family reunification is usually not required to know the language, have an education, or work experience, etc.
  • Business. The way of immigration is suitable for investors and entrepreneurs who plan to open and run business. In most countries, applicants are required to submit a business plan, proof of experience in running their own company in the country of origin, and proof of financial resources.

Business is the basis for moving to a better country for life

To move abroad for permanent residence, a foreigner must go through the following process:

  1. Selection of the grounds for immigration, preparation of a set of documents.
  2. Registration of entry permit in the consulate of the relevant state at the place of residence or visa center.
  3. Moving to the country of immigration.
  4. Obtaining a temporary residence permit.
  5. Obtaining permanent residence permit after a certain period of residence, as defined by the law of the country.
  6. Citizenship application on the basis of standard naturalization or simplified procedure, about which it is recommended to find out at personal consultation at the migration company.

How to choose the best country to live in

  • Immigration programs. The governments of most countries in the world, in addition to the standard naturalization procedure, offer accelerated options for foreigners to obtain a residence permit, permanent residence permit, or citizenship.
  • Easy relocation. A potential immigrant assesses the country to live in after emigration in terms of the easy relocation to a new place of residence. The foreigner takes into consideration the availability of optimal flights and bus service, the cost of moving, options for housing, and the availability of rent or purchase.
  • Easy adaptation. Most immigrants consider comfortable integration in the society as a criteria for choosing the best country to settle permanently: hospitality and friendliness of the native population.

Moving abroad for permanent residence is a procedure that involves a number of complexities, and a potential migrant should request the assistance of law professionals at iWorld company. The advantages of cooperating with professional lawyers are obvious: the client can be sure that the experts comply with the current legislation and that the dossier is correctly prepared for submission to official bodies, which minimizes the risk of refusals.

iWorld is a customer-oriented company, and the individual approach of lawyers in working with the client helps choose the best option for relocation. Migration specialists monitor amendments in legislation, analyze the percentage and reasons for refusal, and build the process of legalization abroad in accordance with these indicators. Well-established team work, professionalism and experience of employees ensure quality services and successful overcoming the stages of immigration in a short time.

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