Best countries in the world to live and work

A new study has tried to range countries in order of which country seems to be most attractive to live and work in. Here is the short version – but you should really read on what grounds this is the conclusion.

  • Switzerland is the best country to live and work
  • Switzerland was followed by three Nordic countries: Denmark, Iceland, Norway plus Finland as 6th on the list.
  • Sweden was 12th on the list
  • Experts at Blacktower Financial Group reveal top financial tips when living and working abroad

Research has found that most people move abroad for lifestyle improvement, adventure, new activities, earning more money and new career opportunities. Students move abroad quite often in order to obtain a degree. They also come across different struggles from finding a new place to live to wondering “who can write my research paper for me cheap”.  Undoubtedly, moving to a new country can bring a host of challenging, exciting and life changing experiences.

With 195 countries to choose from (all boasting different cultures and lifestyles), finding the perfect location to move to for expat life can cause a headache for many.

Blacktower Financial Group’s study revealed the best countries for living and working abroad using data relating to key metrics that determine happiness and quality of life, such as world happiness data, quality of healthcare, property price to income ratio etc.

The method of making the survey is of course important. In this case, Blacktover first normalised the data categories and the following metrics were used per country: World Happiness Data, Average monthly salary (after tax), Cost of living, Property price to income ratio, Quality of healthcare, Global peace level.

Discover the top 25 countries below to find out which countries top the list:

Rank Country World Happiness Ranking Average Monthly Salary Cost of Living Property Price to Income Ratio Quality of Healthcare Global Peace Level
1 Switzerland 7.43 €5307 122.4 8.68 72.44 1.375
2 Denmark 7.6 €3150 83 7.45 80 1.316
3 Iceland 7.494 €2519 100.48 6.74 65.92 1.072
4 Norway 7.554 €2825 101.43 8.77 74.36 1.536
5 Australia 7.228 €3009 73.54 7.52 77.38 1.419
6 Finland 7.769 €2464 70.38 8.35 75.79 1.488
7 New Zealand 7.307 €2315 72.53 8.52 73.81 1.221
8 Netherlands 7.488 €2526 73.75 7.51 74.65 1.53
9 Austria 7.246 €2068 70.38 10.88 78.73 1.291
10 Canada 7.278 €2084 67.62 7.97 71.58 1.327
11 Singapore 6.262 €3069 81.1 22.31 70.84 1.347
12 Sweden 7.343 €2447 69.83 9.27 69.23 1.533
13 Japan 5.886 €2284 83.35 13 81.14 1.369
14 Belgium 6.923 €2063 71.78 6.91 74.34 1.533
15 Germany 6.985 €2392 65.26 9.38 73.32 1.547
16 Ireland 7.021 €2370 75.91 7.49 51.89 1.39
17 Qatar 6.374 €2838 64.04 5.82 73.3 1.696
18 United Kingdom 7.054 €2121 67.28 10.09 74.46 1.801
19 France 6.592 €2090 74.14 13.04 79.99 1.892
20 U.S.A. 6.892 €3048 71.05 3.52 69.27 2.401
21 South Africa 5.895 €2007 78.18 17.31 81.97 1.867
22 United Arab Emirates 6.825 €2246.13 61.98 5.29 67.04 1.847
23 Israel 7.139 €2105.21 81.15 12.83 73.29 2.735
24 Taiwan 6.446 €1223.81 61.37 23.69 86.71 1.725
25 Spain 6.354 €1367.58 53.77 9.37 78.88 1.699


Switzerland is the best country for quality of life

The number one country for expats is Switzerland – perhaps that’s not surprising, given the Swiss commitment to neutrality and peace, but a high average monthly salary and a strong ratio of property price to income makes it a great option for anyone looking for a new country to settle in.

The Nordic states also come out extremely well, with Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Finland all making the top ten – so it seems the chilly climate doesn’t stop them from being great places to live.

Top financial tips for expats

The Blacktower Group shares its top financial tips for managing and protecting expat finances when living and working abroad:

1.       Familiarise yourself with local tax laws

It goes without saying that the taxation requirements are nuanced from country to country. Make sure that you understand exactly where you are required to pay tax and the intricacies of any inheritance tax laws so yours, or your family’s, finances don’t take a hit further down the line.

2. Local knowledge and experience are invaluable

There are any number of reputable online sources of advice on financial matters, all offering sage and sound general guidance. But local knowledge and experience of the products and services in your new country, offered by professionals who have lived and worked in the area for years can deliver so much more. Take advantage of those people who have intimate knowledge of the local market. Nobody gives expat financial advice like an expat themselves.

3. Consider transferring your pension

If you have spent years building up a substantial pension pot in your country of origin, it makes sense for you to maximise returns on it during your retirement years. Currency fluctuations and local tax laws can mean you receive less per month than you were expecting. Transferring your fund to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPs) can help you to make the most of your money in the local currency, whilst mitigating tax liabilities.

 “Moving to a new country brings a host of life changing opportunities, our new expat report features insight and practical tips that both the new and experienced expat can find helpful. 

Expats see a wealth of financial, lifestyle and career benefits from moving abroad and I encourage more individuals to take the leap and enjoy the rewards” John Westwood Group Managing Director Blacktower Financial Group

For full details on the expat report, rankings and data can be seen at:


About Blacktower Financial Group:

The Blacktower Financial Group was formed in 1986 to provide independent wealth management advice and a bespoke service for both individual and corporate clients.



1.     Reasons for moving abroad –

Quality of life Index:

World Happiness Data –

Average monthly net salary (after tax) –

Cost of living –

Property price to income ratio –

Quality of healthcare –

Global peace level –


About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Gregers Møller

19 Comments on “Best countries in the world to live and work”

  1. In my opinion Sweden and Spain was great countries to work in. Spain little to hot in the summer just and lack of public buses was a negative thing in Spain. But overall Spain was good. Sweden is just amazing work culture, even if is bit cold in the winter in some places.

  2. In terms of travelling and working in other countries, Nordic countries are the most pleasant in my memory. People are very kind and welcoming. I had the exciting experience of communicating with people across all of Europe in coworking Stockholm. But I have never lived and worked there, like for long and working in local companies. All I can say is that in those countries are high taxes but you can see where are those taxes are spending on. Beautiful and clean cities, people are having good insurance, life support etc.

  3. Oh I also want to take a trip to sweden for my graduation day. The article gave me great ideas. The information is very careful about the trip too.

  4. I love to work in Canada but how to get there is the only problem and my sponsor

  5. I suppose this all depends on the standards of the “best”… There are places in most countries that are great, but again it depends on what the standards are. Western standards of city living? Asian standards of provincial living?

  6. I am interested to live to live in Swzerland may it could be work Visa having sponsored

  7. US sucks nothing but inequality and racial tension media controls the sheep and religion differences .

  8. Concerning Denmark. Tax is minimum 38 % tax + VAT on 25 %. Many pay taxes like 60 – 70% inkl VAT. The tax cover healthcare, schools, minimum social welfare and a pension of 1140 euro.
    You loose half of your pension, if you move outside EU. There are restricions on travelling and you have to pay fines on 100 000 euros. If you have private pension, the government takes 60%, if you move outside the Denmark.
    Pension age is today 67 and will be increasing to 74, year 2070.
    If you marry foreigners outside EU, you have to leave Denmark.
    Refugees are not welcome.
    The Danes are a sweet.
    It is a country side place. World outside EU, is not recognized for the government. However Danish business life is spread over the world.
    Winters are below zero with some snow.
    It is not well seen to leave the country for a new work and come back. You will loose rights.
    Many people, that are in need of collecting their tax paid rights, end up struggling with authorities.

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