Sunday, January 28, 2007

The World's Best Country to Live!

According to this study, France topped a list of countries as the nation with the best quality of life! Obviously this is a subjective result but it wasn't decided out of the blue either - here are the criteria used to produce this annual Index:

For each of these countries, 9 categories were considered:
  • Cost of Living,
  • Culture and Leisure,
  • Economy,
  • Environment,
  • Freedom,
  • Health,
  • Infrastructure,
  • Safety and Risk,
  • Climate.
This involves a lot of number crunching from “official” sources, including government websites, the World Health Organization, and The Economist, to name but a few.
According to the World Health Organization for instance, France has the best overall health care system in the world. Life expectancy now averages 83 years for women and 76 for men. In the past 10 years, the number of people living over the age of 100 has doubled, with 6,840 people reaching the three-digit mark. The infant mortality rate is five per 1,000 live births, on a par with Denmark.

The study also emphasized that France’s infrastructure is among the best in the world and while its economic performance is questionable it still rates pretty high there too.
This is only an index and nothing to really take too seriously but it has the merit to raise an interesting question: what do you take into consideration when you think of "a good place to live"?

The funny thing is that you really wouldn't believe France is such a great place to live if you listened to the French (in France that is). But it is a fact that
the French are major whiners and they are particularly so when it comes to their own country.
If you were to believe them, everything is going down the loop and the nation is in major decline. Surely, there some economic problems (unemployment is still pretty high and you can certainly see homeless people in the streets of Paris) but at the same time, France has the highest birth rate in Europe. Why make babies if you really think the future looks so gloomy? Isn't that a bit paradoxical? Well, maybe France is just a country of paradox.
Here's the list of countries in the top ten:
  • 1 France
  • 2 Australia
  • 3 Netherlands
  • 4 New Zealand
  • 5 United States
  • 6 Switzerland
  • 7 Denmark
  • 8 Italy
  • 9 Luxembourg
  • 10 Argentina
As you will notice, the US only ranked N°5 and here are the comparative results (found here)
The UK ranked 37th - worse than Panama or Mexico - (Why? Britain has a good economy and good social freedom but bad weather, poor transport, high cost of living and health service.) and not very surprisingly, Iraq scored at the bottom.


At 17:46, Blogger themanbehindthecurtain said...

Interesting Post. Being a typical American I would normally be a little annoyed that we aren't at the top of a list, but I have visited France. I congratulate you! France is a beautiful place to visit and I am sure a wonderful place to live! Paris is tops for sure, but the beauty of France doesn't stop there. Paris, like all major cities in the world, has its downsides. Paris is just a fraction of what France has to offer! This is a very deserved rank, except, "culture and Leisure" is ranked 2?! Who came in first?

At 22:14, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What surprises me a little is France's cost of living, ranked at 167, but then that is probably less subjective than many of the criteria. My view is France is definitely a better place than the US to live for 'quality of life', and I have lived in both, but my definition is going to vary from others'. I am actually quite surprised to see the US so high up. Many similar surveys put the US lower. I also think many French (although secretly proud) would be surprised that there country is at the top.

California probably is pretty much on a par with France. They share much in common. Where California lacks in say, culture, and beauty, it makes up for in service and friendliness, which is not a strength of the French.


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