5 Best Countries to Live In 2022

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You’ve seen photos of gorgeous panoramas in different countries—maybe you’ve been perusing online, letting your daydreams transport you, or you’ve caught yourself staring at your landscape screensaver, wondering what it would be like to live in a completely different country. Where would you head off to? What would you do for work? What could your life look like if you took the leap? While your daydreams may take you to a picturesque environment, living in a home that suits your ideal style (cottage, high-rise, single-family residence?), there are some practical aspects of a move that big you should consider. 

A new environment can completely alter the quality of life for you and for your family. It may be exactly what you need, though. If you’re not sure where you’d like to relocate, we’ve put together a list of the five best countries to live in in 2022. If you’re going to take the plunge, get the scoop here first. Find out what the median salary is in each of these best countries to live in and the quality of life, including healthcare and education costs. When you have these critical pieces of information spelled out for you, you may just feel like your daydream is a viable possibility. And change can be oh, so good. 

5 Best Countries to Live In

  1. Andorra – Best Overall for Business, Family & Health
  2. Switzerland – Worthy Mention
  3. Norway – Good Education
  4. Canada – Family-Friendly
  5. Singapore – Big City Life

5 Best Countries to Live In – Highlights and Analyses

1. Andorra – Best Overall for Business, Family & Health

What Life is Like in Andorra

If you’re currently living in a congested city, you know air quality can be a huge problem. In Andorra, you can let your lungs enjoy the fresh air—this country boasts 90% air quality due to its mountain location. Not only that, but if you’re planning to live out the rest of your years enjoying the mountain fresh air along with ski areas like Vallnord and Grandvalira, you can count on a long life ahead of you. The average life expectancy in Andorra is 83.5 years—which says a lot about the exceptional quality of life. The environment is ideal for physical health pursuits (particularly if you’re an athlete) and is also a wonderful location for enjoying leisure activities. With a little bit of everything and a gorgeous mountainous backdrop to take in at every turn, it’s no wonder why Andorra tops our list of best countries to live in. If you are interested in exploring a move, an Andorra lawyer can help you every step of the way.

Expected Salary for Expats

In Andorra, you can expect a salary paid in Euros, their official currency. However, to give you an idea of what you can expect to make in Andorra for different jobs and industries, we’ll share salaries in USD. For example, an administrative assistant can expect to make approximately $25k per year on average while a marketing manager could enjoy a salary of just over $45k per year. Of course, more specialized positions like a pharmacist could bring in nearly $70k and a data scientist enjoys above-average salaries, on average about $72k. 

So long as you are of legal age, you can obtain a residence permit (remember, Andorra is not part of the European Union). This is a small yet prosperous European country where the primary language is Catalan with Spanish being used widely—however, because of its attractiveness, it has drawn the attention of expatriates from different parts of the globe. 

Cost of Living

In Andorra, you can live comfortably as a single person with 1,000 Euros per month. For a family of four, triple that income level. These amounts would cover food and transportation. The property prices vary in the country depending on the city, yet you can typically find a variety of homes available for rent and buy for affordable and attractive prices. Neighboring countries have a higher cost for utilities. You’ll find Andorra’s pricing for electricity is significantly lower than most countries in Europe and the water is not an added cost you have to budget for. 

Learn About Healthcare

Caixa Andorrana de la Seguretat Socia—or CASS for short—is a healthcare entity that controls Andorra’s health system. CASS is highly rated worldwide. It operates with the use of a co-payment system, which means the Andorra government is responsible for 75% of medical visit costs. For more serious medical interventions, such as surgeries, the government covers 90%. 

For residents who experience financial difficulties and fall into a low-income bracket, their costs are covered completely. You’ll find that most people in Andorra have a high per capita income and therefore regularly contribute to their social security—this is one of the top reasons people love living and working in Andorra, and why it’s one of the best countries to live in. 

Learn About Education

The education system in Andorra has a unique model. Education is free and mandatory for children aged between six years old and 16 years old. You will also find that you have the option to enroll in private schooling. You can select from Andorra, French, or Spanish education systems, which sets this country apart from many others that only have one education system set up. Interested in learning more about making the move? Find out the costs, requirements, and process by speaking with an Andorra Lawyer

Final Thoughts

Andorra offers a fantastic quality of life, especially when you commit to working there during your residency. Their education systems are top-notch, and their healthcare is extremely affordable making for exceptional quality of life. The environment is beautiful, and the lifestyle is active, for those looking to take great care of their health. The crime rate is so minuscule, it’s practically non-existent. Andorra is considered one of the safest countries in the whole world. It’s small, so you won’t get to experience the hustle and bustle of a city environment (which means no big shopping centers or high-rise living). It is more comparable to a town environment and job opportunities may be scarce so it’s best to visit and secure employment before making your move! 

Get a customized solution for your needs by Andorra Lawyers

2. Switzerland – Worthy Mention

What Life is Like in Switzerland

Switzerland is highly attractive to expats because of the high salaries offered throughout the country. According to InterNations, Switzerland continues to rank 9 out of 10 for the Quality of Life Index. There is incredible political stability in this European country, which is what makes residents feel safe and secure. Aside from this critical aspect that feeds into the quality of life, the climate and environment in Switzerland are breathtaking. Water and air quality are among the top reasons expats rank this as one of the best countries to live in, along with the benefits of a strong economy. This is a luxurious environment that supports a long life expectancy (83.7 years on average), but that comes at a high cost, which is why you’ll find high salaries offered throughout the country. Healthcare is more expensive than in other areas, however, it is excellent. 

Expected Salary for Expats

You may be wondering what the minimum wage is in Switzerland but surprisingly, they don’t have a standard minimum wage. However, several Swiss cantons have moved forward with passing their own minimum wage requirements. For example, in Geneva, the minimum wage is the highest, at 4,000 Swiss Francs (CHF). On average, expats enjoy an annual salary of 60,847 CHF. If you obtain a job working in the administrative job sector, you can expect a monthly salary of 5,238 CHF. For a more specialized position in information and communication, the average monthly salary is 8,705 CHF while a job in the financial and insurance activities job sector can bring in 9,402 CHF monthly.

Cost of Living

The salaries are higher than usual in Switzerland because the cost of living is expensive. For example, rent can cost approximately 2,000 CHF, which comes out to 2,150 USD for a one-bedroom apartment. That’s just the base living expense; now, factor in additional living expenses like food, transportation, and other necessities and your monthly living expenses top out at close to 3,500 CHF, which comes to 3,650 USD. This would be for just one person so if you plan to move a family over to Switzerland, be mindful of expected monthly costs so you can obtain a salary that makes living in Switzerland comfortable. If you’re ready to move to the most expensive city in Switzerland, you’ll want to take a look at Zurich or Geneva. If you’re thinking you’d do well with a more affordable city, then you’ll want to check out Basel or Bern—the capital city of Switzerland. 

Learn About Healthcare

In line with its reputation for its luxurious and expensive environments, healthcare spending per capita is the second-highest globally, only after the United States. Although expensive, Switzerland’s healthcare is consistently ranked as the best, or close to the best, in Europe—which is also in line with it being one of the best countries to live in. Keep in mind, however, that all healthcare expenses must be covered by private healthcare insurance. As an expat, this means you must obtain global health insurance. 

In Switzerland, the healthcare process is different than in other European countries. When you obtain universal healthcare, the party responsible for out-of-pocket costs is you—not your employer. Therefore, you should expect to pay for healthcare services upfront and obtain reimbursement later. Despite the term “universal healthcare”, Switzerland does not offer any free healthcare services. However, when you select a private healthcare package, the fees remain the same, despite your age or changes to your health. 

Learn About Education

Children in Switzerland can expect to complete 11 years of mandatory education in the municipality they are located and over 16 years of schooling on average, according to the United Nations Human Development Report. There are private schools available for children to attend and only about 5% of the population attend these high-end, top-rated schools. When you compare the cost of education in Switzerland to the cost of education in places like Britain or the United States, you’ll immediately notice it is significantly more affordable. 

There are a total of 12 public universities in the country, including two Federal Institutes of Technology. Additionally, there are eight public universities of applied sciences and art and a total of 20 teacher education universities. If you’re looking to further your education, this is a fantastic environment because the system is so open. You just select the program or school you’re interested in attending and you can easily move across the different levels offered—yet one more factor why Switzerland offers such a high quality of life. 

Final Thoughts

Switzerland is easily one of the best countries to live in with an enviable quality of life, which is why we ranked it number two on this list. Though its famous banking institutions, economic leadership (think the World Economic Forum in Davos) and high wages are usually part of the initial attraction to this country for expats, there is so much more the country offers that invites them to stay. The scenery is strikingly beautiful and will surely take your breath away, particularly if you’re not accustomed to fresh alpine environments, snow-covered mountainous backdrops, or unique European architecture. If English is your only known language, you’ll be relieved to know that it is regularly spoken by 45% of the population in this country. Other languages spoken include German, French, Romansh, and Italian. 

3. Norway – Good Education 

What Life is Like in Norway

Norway is known for its quaint, sparsely populated environment. Expats especially love the feeling of personal security they obtain when they move to this country. Norway isn’t the most affordable country to live in, but it does rank 5th in the world when it comes to GDP and is high up on the list of life expectancy with the average person living more than 82.9 years. Even if you don’t have a lot saved up when you set out on your journey to relocate to Norway, you’ll find that you can enjoy a solid quality of life. You must remember, however, that to enjoy higher living standards, you’ll need to ensure your income allows for comfortable living, whether you’re moving as a single person or as a family unit. The views in Norway are another top reason expats love the environment and why it’s consistently cited as one of the best countries to live in. If you haven’t been able to bask in the wonder of the Aurora Borealis, you’ll find that there’s a certain ineffable magic to this country that keeps drawing you in. 

Expected Salary for Expats

Expats should first consider language limitations before moving to Norway. If you do not speak Norwegian, you may find it difficult to find employment. Nevertheless, Norway boasts a solid job market, with 70% of its population working within the labor market. You may also request recognition of your qualifications for more highly-skilled positions, such as healthcare or IT positions. You can expect a typical five-day workweek, with a total of 40 hours per week worked for full-time jobs. Nearly every working person in Norway receives a fair living wage, despite there not being any laws dictating a specific minimum wage. On average, most people net 28,000 kroner (NOK) per month. 

Cost of Living 

The cost of living in Norway varies depending on the lifestyle you seek to have. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 NOK, which comes out to somewhere between $2000 and a little over $4000 USD per month. This is all dependent on whether you are a single expat or if you are planning to move with your family members. You’ll find that the most affordable cities include Telemark, Oppland, and Hedmark. Oslo, Norway’s capital city, can be more expensive than other areas.

Since a lot of food is imported into Norway, the food prices are a little more expensive than usual. However, the price difference compared to other countries isn’t so much that it’s shocking. You can enjoy picking up your regular milk, bread, and eggs for approximately $8 USD and if you decide to eat at a restaurant, you can expect to pay around $20 USD at an inexpensive restaurant for two people or opt for a three-course meal for two for about $90 USD. This would be considered a mid-range price for enjoying outside dining, so keep that in mind when planning your budget for this gorgeous, Scandinavian country. 

Learn About Healthcare

When you move to Norway, you’ll require universal health coverage. This health coverage is funded by taxes and payroll contributions, which come from both employers and employees. The national government in Norway is responsible for ensuring its citizens have healthcare and equal access to medical interventions, regardless of their social or economic status. Locally, primary and preventive care is organized, and all municipalities are responsible for ensuring residents have long-term care, a service that’s not included in the general universal health insurance. Typically, a visit to a primary care doctor costs somewhere between $19 and $42 USD. For visits to a specialist, you can expect to pay between $30 and $46 USD. There are caps on cost-sharing, which means that your out-of-pocket maximum is $281 USD per person.

Learn About Education

If you’re a parent who is considering a move to Norway with your children, understanding their education system is crucial. Norway does host several international schools and many expats prefer to enroll their children in those schools. However, there’s also a Norwegian education system that you can enroll them into. If you have children before the mandatory age of attending school, you can enroll them in what’s called a barnehage. This is an institution dedicated solely to younger children and is significantly different than the kindergarten you might be accustomed to if you’re in the USA. When your child reaches one year of age, he could be enrolled in one of these institutions. 

As your children grow older, they can enter the primary and lower secondary education systems. After secondary education, you have the option of enrolling in upper or secondary education, which is like going to college or enrolling in technical training. Next are tertiary vocational programs, which are for students who choose to pursue a specific vocation, and finally, there’s higher education. The majority of students choose to further their education, as evidenced by the average number of years of schooling: over 18 years. This is one of the highest on the United Nations Human Development Report. One of the most attractive aspects of the high quality education in Norway is that tuition at public universities is always free, even for international students.

Final Thoughts

It’s the healthcare, environment, and free education that make Norway an extremely attractive country for expats to live out their lives. Norway comes out in the third spot of best countries to live in when it comes to life expectancy and quality of life, and their healthcare system makes it so that you can obtain affordable care. Aside from its enviable political stability and some of the more practical aspects of living in Norway, this country is known as the “land of the midnight sun”. You can expect to experience the wonder of mysterious skies and gorgeous lakes. Norway is also recognized as one of the world’s happiest countries, and it’s not difficult to see why. During the summer, the sun doesn’t set in the northern parts of Norway, so you can enjoy a life that feels like a fairy-tale. 

4. Canada – Family Friendly 

What Life is Like in Canada

Canada is a favorite country for many younger expats, especially those with families. You can receive free universal healthcare when you become a permanent resident in Canada and along with free access to quality medical care as well as enjoying a long life expectancy which averages over 82 years, you can also enjoy free public secondary education. If you’re moving from a country like the USA, you know how incredibly valuable it is to have access to no-cost and affordable education. Canada is also well recognized for its public safety and for having a progressive society. According to the OECD Better Life Index, Canada ranks above average when it comes to housing, well-being, social lives, and work-life balance. Additionally, about 73% of people between the ages of 15 and 64 in Canada have a job and less than 4% of people work long hours. All of that contributes to Canada’s very high quality of life.

Canada is far from being the most populous nation, but it does rank in the top 40 on most lists mostly because it covers such a vast amount of territory—not because the entire country is densely populated. The location you choose depends on your lifestyle. If you are attracted to city life, you might enjoy a city like Vancouver whereas if you are more interested in an outdoor, camping lifestyle, you may do well settling into the small town of Jasper, which is located just north of Jasper National Park and Banff National Park. The Canadian rocky mountain views in these areas attract tourists from all over the world.

Expected Salary for Expats

The expected salary for expats in Canada depends on the part of Canada you decide to relocate to. Working in Canada is definitely viable; however, you should know how to navigate the job market before you make your move. First, you should know that Canada requires you to obtain a work permit to legally work in Canada as a foreigner. Once your paperwork has been completed, you can begin your job search in Canada by using services like Indeed or LinkedIn. Canada also hosts several job fairs, which can help you get better acquainted with the local job market. 

If you’re a newcomer, Canada welcomes you by offering free employment services. You get an employment coach assigned to you so that you can discuss your career goals, allowing you to receive assistance with perfecting your résumé and cover letter so you can be directed toward potential job opportunities. In Ontario, you can expect to make just under 40,000 CAD for an average position. In Nova Scotia, that amount decreases to approximately 30,000 CAD. You can expect expat salaries to increase, so long as you obtain a more specialized position or if you explore entrepreneurship.

Cost of Living

Canada is huge and so it’s expected that because of this, housing costs vary significantly. You’ll find that the highest rent prices can be found in large cities like Toronto. The closer you get to the city center, the higher those prices rise. However, if you are an expat who plans to move outside the city to a quaint suburb, you can expect the cost of rent to decrease dramatically. For example, if you move to Toronto, an apartment that’s close to the city center will cost approximately 2,100 CAD. A three-bedroom apartment in the same environment will cost approximately 3,400 CAD. 

Canada does offer public transportation, though it usually is considered quite expensive. Most Canadians have their own vehicles and use those as a means to get around. As for food and drinks, Canada is a little bit more expensive than the United States, but they are generally cheaper than most western European countries. If you’re a big fan of pork and lamb, you’ll find that these are scarce in Canada and therefore have a higher price tag.

Learn About Healthcare

Canada‘s universal healthcare is funded by taxes. Therefore, if you become a permanent resident in Canada, you can apply to obtain this public health insurance. There are a variety of different health plans that you can select from depending on the province and territory you decide to relocate to. Generally speaking, you won’t be responsible for any out-of-pocket costs when it comes to most healthcare services and emergency medical services. 

Once you have been added to the health system, you’ll be provided with a health card. Even if you don’t have a card, most emergency medical services will still tend to you; however, a walk-in clinic might charge you a fee depending on your resident status. It’s important you know that there is a waiting period for expats while your health coverage goes into effect. This waiting period could span up to three months, so be sure that you obtain private health insurance to cover you during that gap, particularly if you are dealing with a chronic medical condition or require prescription medication.

Learn About Education

The Canadian government prioritizes education. They have a state-run system of public education and each province oversees the curriculum taught in the education system. Generally, there are four stages to the education process in Canada. Children start with preschool or early childhood education before moving into their primary education, also known as their elementary education. After that, there is secondary education, post-secondary education, and tertiary education. The last designation includes anything from university programs to technical schools. 

Children are required to attend school up to the age of 16, except in Ontario and New Brunswick, where the mandatory age stretches to 18. Canada has both public schools and private schools that you can select from. Although Canada doesn’t offer free education, when compared to other countries, it is very affordable and, per the Human Development Report for Canada put out by the United Nations, an average child can be expected to receive over 16 years of education. Tuition can cost somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 CAD per year, with those numbers changing depending on the field of study and whether you are looking to obtain an undergraduate or graduate degree.

Final Thoughts

Canada is a fantastic place for expats who desire a life with public safety as a priority, who prefer to enjoy the outdoors with low air pollution, and who have an option to live in a city or a more rural environment. Even though cities like Toronto and Vancouver have a higher price tag, the people who live there say it’s worth every penny to call home.

5. Singapore – Big City Life 

What Life is Like in Singapore 

Singapore is known for its bristling economy and for the top industries that keep things moving, like technology, financial services, and trade. Another aspect of Singapore that’s attractive to expats is public safety. This country is widely regarded as one of the safest globally and boasts consistently low crime rates. The legal system is incredibly transparent, and they offer a reliable police force that’s well regarded. 

Singapore has long been touted as one of the best countries to live in Asia. One of the unique parts of Singapore is that it is considered a country, a city, and an island all at once. There is no other location on earth that has these three designations. Singapore is also recognized as one of the happiest countries in southeast Asia and it’s likely due in part to its diverse socio-cultural community and its clean environment. In Singapore, you’ll find that they prioritize eco-friendliness and cleanliness. Nearly everywhere you look in Singapore is like a work of art. It’s a high-tech environment on an island and the shapes of their architecture are unique. Along with being aesthetically pleasing, Singapore attracts expats because they offer a stable political environment and they’ve enacted policies that help foreigners settle in comfortably.

Expected Salary for Expats

Whether you are a single expat or you are planning a move with your entire family, you should know what you can earn when you move to Singapore. Having at least a rough gauge of what your salary might be will help you budget for your future and consider where you might be able to live. 

The average salary per year in Singapore is approximately S$58,000. You’ll find that those salary expectations change, depending on your level of expertise and the industry you choose to work in. For example, if you’re committed to working in one of their most popular industries like information technology, banking, or education, you can expect to increase your salary closer to S$60,000 or S$70,000 per year. Back in 2018, the average expat pay package increased by nearly S$20,000. Additionally, Singapore provides bonuses to its employees. The average is about S$6000, but that is negotiated directly by your employer. If you’re interested in learning which companies pay the best salaries in Singapore, you’ll want to look into companies like Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and ABC Associates.

Cost of Living 

The cost of living varies depending on which part of Singapore you decide to settle down in. On average, if you choose a more expensive part of the city, you can expect to pay around S$3500 per month just on rent. However, if you are open to moving to a less expensive part of the city, you can expect to pay somewhere around S$2600. In an apartment where you might live alone or with one other person, utility costs can be expected to reach approximately S$150. If you’re working in the business district, you can expect to pay around S$12 for lunch. If you’re interested in a night out, be wary of the prices for alcohol because a single cocktail may cost up to S$20. 

To relocate to Singapore, you do need to apply for an S Pass, which is an employment visa. You are also required to earn about S$6000 per month in a Singapore registered company if you plan to bring any dependents to the area. This is because the cost of living is high and they need to ensure you can cover all monthly costs. 

Learn About Healthcare

The healthcare system in Singapore is overseen by the Ministry of Health of the Singapore government. This is a publicly funded universal health care system that finances healthcare costs through several government subsidies, savings, and cost-sharing. In 2014, Bloomberg ranked Singapore‘s healthcare system as the most efficient in the world—contributing a great deal to its quality of life. People who live in Singapore also have a long life expectancy of nearly 84 years. This healthcare system is not just efficient in financing, but it is also well known for its community health outcomes.

Learn About Education

The education system in Singapore consists of six years of primary school and then four or six years of secondary school, finishing with one to three years of post-secondary school. Aside from these standard options, there are also four specialized schools for students who don’t do well on their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) exam. For students who want to apply to university, they must stay in secondary school for an extra two years or take A-level courses. 

This education system is overseen by the Ministry of Education, which develops the national curriculum. Schooling incorporates life skills and knowledge skills along with eight core skills and values. Singapore works on creating a foundation of support that allows students to develop their character, learn self-management skills, learn how to cooperate in social settings, and learn how to think, communicate, and explore creativity.

Final Thoughts

Expats find Singapore one of the best countries to live in because it has such an amazing economy. Pair that with the fact that it’s one of the safest places to live globally and you have a great recipe for a high standard of living and great quality of life. The stability and education systems create a society that is focused, productive, and enjoyable. While there is a high cost of living, it’s well worth it because you can expect to secure a good salary and enjoy a unique island environment. The primary downside to Singapore, however, is the climate. If you enjoy a tropical climate, then this won’t be a problem for you. However, if high humidity is not something you deal well with, then Singapore may not be the best place for you to live.

A move to a new country can feel daunting but when you have all the facts upfront, you can plan your new life in an organized fashion. Stop the daydreaming and work toward making your goals a reality—these top five locations are waiting to welcome expats like you! 

 

This article has been supplied by Green Living, a paid advertiser. Content has not been independently verified by Los Angeles magazine.