Special Report

The 10 Most Livable Countries

10. Denmark
> Human Development Index score: 0.900
> Gross nat’l income per capita: $42,880 (16th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.4 years (34th highest)
> Expected years of schooling: 16.9 years (10th highest)

Denmark was rated 0.900 out of a possible 1.000 on the Human Development Index in 2013, the 10th highest out of 187 countries and unchanged from the year before. Last year, a typical Danish newborn was expected to live 79.4 years, among the higher rates globally but slightly lower than other most livable countries. Like in other Nordic nations, Danes have access to one of the world’s best health and welfare systems. Residents are subject to high taxes, and the Danish government spends more as a percent of its GDP than most of the world on health and education. New mothers and fathers in Denmark have access to up to a year’s parental leave and other programs that support families. Denmark is also one of the best countries in the world for gender equality. For example, women made up nearly 40% of the national parliament, one of the highest rates reviewed.

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9. Singapore
> Human Development Index score: 0.901
> Gross nat’l income per capita: $72,371 (4th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 82.3 years (6th highest)
> Expected years of schooling: 15.4 years (39th highest)

Singapore is the most livable country in Asia. As of last year, the country’s life expectancy was among the highest in the world, at more than 82 years. Singapore also reported some of the lowest mortality rates — for both men and women — in the world. Students in the country were also strong performers, achieving some of the world’s best scores in math, science, and reading. With a gross national income of $72,371 per capita last year, Singapore is also among the wealthiest countries in the world. Physically very small, Singapore is entirely urban and home to a population of roughly 5.4 million as of last year.

8. Canada
> Human Development Index score: 0.902
> Gross nat’l income per capita: $41,887 (19th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 81.5 years (14th highest)
> Expected years of schooling: 15.9 years (25th highest)

Canada received strong marks for human development in part because of the quality of its education system. Virtually all Canadians 25 and older had at least some secondary education. Also, the average performance of 15 year olds in math, science, and reading were among the best in the world in 2012. Canada’s national health insurance system covers medically necessary procedures, providing nearly all Canadians with access to medical care. Although some medical costs are excluded from the system, just 14.4% of health expenditures were considered out-of-pocket spending in 2011, lower than in most countries. Canada’s life expectancy at birth, at 81.5 years, was also among the world’s best.