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Countries with the highest quality of life in the world

on 28 May 2021

There are close to 8 billion people in this world. However, the quality of life afforded to these people varies significantly, often depending upon their country, town, suburb or city.

The vast majority of the global population lives in undeveloped or developing economies, with only a few lucky enough to live in truly advanced countries and not having to worry about where the next meal will come from, or how they will be able to afford even basic necessities.

In this article we go through the countries with the highest quality of life in the world, starting with number one.

Canada

No.1 in Quality of Life Rankings

No Change in Rank from 2020

Canada ranks No. 1 in quality of life and social purpose. It is also perceived as having a good job market, caring about human rights and is committed to social justice. Additionally, the country finished No. 1 in being viewed as not corrupt and respecting property rights. The country takes up about two-fifths of the North American continent, making it the second-largest country in the world after Russia. The country is sparsely populated, with most of its 35.5 million residents living within 125 miles of the U.S. border.

GDP: $1.74 trillion


POPULATION: 37.6 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $46,195


Denmark

No.2 in Quality of Life Rankings

No Change in Rank from 2020

Denmark has one of the best social mobility and income equality rates in the world, so no surprise it makes it into the top three on this list. "Basic human needs" is where the country scores particularly highly, though its "health and wellness" stats such as life expectancy could be higher.

GDP: $350 billion


POPULATION: 5.82 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $60,170


Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

Sweden

No.3 in Quality of Life Rankings

No Change in Rank from 2020

freestar Sweden has a strong social welfare system, providing strong healthcare and free education. Sweden’s social model focuses on growth, equality, freedom, and security. Sweden also has great conditions for workers, such as a minimum of five weeks vacation and a government organization that supports entrepreneurs looking to start a company.

GDP: $531 billion


POPULATION: 10.3 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $51,615


Norway

No.4 in Quality of Life Rankings

No Change in Rank from 2020

The Kingdom of Norway is the westernmost country in the  Scandinavian peninsula, made up mostly of mountainous terrain. The Norwegians developed a maritime culture, and were active throughout the Viking era, establishing settlements in Iceland and Greenland. Get used to seeing Scandinavian nations in the top ten. Norway is big on "nutrition and basic medical care," and its "access to basic knowledge" is strong too.

GDP: $403 billion


POPULATION: 5.35 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $75,420


Switzerland

No.5 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.7 out of 73 in 2020

The health of people who live in Switzerland is outrageously impressive. Like Norway, Switzerland’s life expectancy was a factor the United Nations applauds Switzerland for, particularly due to the lack of fatal diseases present in the residents of Switzerland.

GDP: $703 billion


POPULATION: 8.57 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $81,994


Australia

No.6 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.5 out of 73 in 2020

Australia, the largest island on the planet, has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that increases at 3.3% annually. Its health system is universal and free. Crime is an anecdote and the educational system enhances the talent of the country’s students.The average number of years that Australians attend school for is roughly twenty years old, meaning most Australian children remain enrolled in the education system until they graduate from an undergraduate college.

GDP: $1.40 trillion


POPULATION: 25.4 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $55,060


Netherlands

No.7 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.6 out of 73 in 2020

The Netherlands compares to Denmark in the sense that the Netherlands does not have as high of a wage gap as many countries around the world still do. In fact, the inequality rate among wages in the Netherlands is roughly 12.4% which sounds high. Three major European rivers - the Rhine, Meuse and Schelde - run through neighbors Germany and Belgium into the nation’s busy ports.

GDP: $907 billion


POPULATION: 17.3 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $52,331


Finland

No.8 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.9 out of 73 in 2020

Finland stands out in terms of all metrics being considered in our report, and was recently voted the happiest country in the world according to Gallup. In fact, it topped the list for the fourth consecutive year and is known for its education system, with its students ranking among the best in the world. Bordered by Scandinavia, Russia, the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia.

GDP: $269 billion


POPULATION: 5.52 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $48,783


Germany

No.9 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.10 out of 73 in 2020

Germany, the most populous nation in the European Union, possesses one of the largest economies in the world and has seen its role in the international community grow steadily since reunification. Nearly the entire population of Germany has received higher education, with only four percent of people in Germany having not endured college classes or post-graduate schooling. In addition, Germany is rich in culture and history, which alongside its gastro delights and incredible beer gives its citizens plenty to be cheerful about.

GDP: $3.86 trillion


POPULATION: 83.1 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $46,445


New Zealand

No.10 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.8 out of 73 in 2020

British and Polynesian influences course through picturesque New Zealand, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean southeast of Australia. Early Maori settlers ceded sovereignty to British invaders with the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, and European settlers flooded in. Today, 70 percent of Kiwis, a common term for the people of New Zealand after a native flightless bird, are of European descent. A sense of pride has surged among the Maori, the country’s first settlers who now account for about 14 percent, as homeland grievances become more openly addressed.

GDP: $207 billion


POPULATION: 4.92 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $42,084


Austria

No.11 in Quality of Life Rankings

No Change in Rank from 2020

Austria a culturally rich, high-income parliamentary democracy that hosts several key international organizations. Located in the heart of Central Europe, the modern Austrian state was shaped by the two world wars of the 20th century.

GDP: $445 billion


POPULATION: 8.88 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $50,138


Belgium

No.12 in Quality of Life Rankings

Not Ranked in 2020

The Kingdom of Belgium is a small, highly developed and urbanized country in Western Europe bordered by the NetherlandsGermanyLuxembourgFrance and the North Sea. The nation known for beer, chocolate and castles features Dutch, French and German as official languages.

GDP: $533 billion


POPULATION: 11.5 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $46,421


Japan

No.13 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.14 out of 73 in 2020

Japan, one of the world’s most literate and technically advanced nations, is an East Asian country made up of four main islands. While most of Japan is covered by mountains and heavily wooded areas, the country’s roughly 126 million people lead a distinctly urban lifestyle. Long culturally influenced by its neighbors, today the country blends its ancient traditions with aspects of Western life.

GDP: $5.08 trillion


POPULATION: 126 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $40,247


United Kingdom

No.14 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.12 out of 73 in 2020

The United Kingdom is a highly developed nation that exerts considerable international economic, political, scientific and cultural influence. Located off the northwest corner of Europe, the country includes the island of Great Britain – which contains England, Scotland and Wales – and the northern portion of the island of Ireland. The country’s role on the global stage faces new questions as the nation withdrew from the European Union. , as well as the  policies supporting the eurozone.

GDP: $2.83 trillion


POPULATION: 66.8 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $42,330


Ireland

No.15 in Quality of Life Rankings

Not Ranked in 2020

The Republic of Ireland is an island nation in the Atlantic Ocean, separated from Britain on the east by the Irish Sea. Nicknamed the Emerald Isle for its well-watered grasslands, the country is known for its rich cultural traditions, lively pub scene and its struggles for independence. The country comprises five-sixths of the island of Ireland – the remaining sixth is Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. After a bloody fight for independence and civil war in the early 20th century, Ireland became a republic in 1949.

GDP: $389 billion


POPULATION: 4.94 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $78,661



Singapore

No.16 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.20 out of 73 in 2020

Founded as a British trading colony in the 19th century, Singapore is a bustling metropolis in Southeast Asia and home to one of the world’s busiest ports. The vast majority of its 5.7 million citizens live on the eponymous capital island, and dozens of surrounding islands complete the city state. Gross domestic product per capita is high and unemployment is low, making Singapore one of the wealthiest nations in the world.

GDP: $372 billion


POPULATION: 5.70 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $65,233


France

No.17 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.16 out of 73 in 2020

It is difficult to overstate the influence France has on the world, both in the past and today. Located in Western Europe, France is one of the world’s oldest countries, and its reach extends around the globe through science, politics, economics and perhaps above all, culture. Starting in the Middle Ages, France evolved through kingdom, empire and finally, into a republic. It was one of the first nations to champion the rights of the individual.

GDP: $2.72 trillion


POPULATION: 67.1 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $40,494


South Korea

No.18 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.23 out of 73 in 2020

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is a nation in eastern Asia with a long history of conflict that occupies the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. Liberated from Japan in 1945 at the end of World War II, South Korea was invaded by communist forces in North Korea a few years later. Aid requested by the United Nations helped end the three-year war and support the south on its way to democracy. A critical divide between the two nations along the center of the peninsula remains.

GDP: $1.65 trillion


POPULATION: 51.7 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $31,846


Spain

No.19 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.18 out of 73 in 2020

A number of independent kingdoms united in 1492 to form the Kingdom of Spain, a cultural patchwork that continues to shape the modern nation’s dynamic identity. Spain comprises much of the Iberian Peninsula, which it shares with Portugal on the southwestern edge of Europe. It also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and two enclaves in North Africa.

GDP: $1.39 trillion


POPULATION: 47.1 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $29,600


United States

No.20 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.15 out of 73 in 2020

The United States of America is a North American nation that is the world’s most dominant economic and military power. Likewise, its cultural imprint spans the world, led in large part by its popular culture expressed in music, movies and television. In November 2020 the country elected Joe Biden as its 46th president, removing Donald Trump after one term. The country is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing deep economic recession. And calls for greater social justice reignited in the country following the death of Black American George Floyd at the hands of police in May 2020. Public demands to address racial inequality in the country, expressed in institutions such as the criminal justice system and health care, spurred similar movements in countries around the world.

GDP: $21.4 trillion


POPULATION: 328 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $65,298


Portugal

No.21 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.17 out of 73 in 2020

Jutting into the Atlantic Ocean on the edge of the Iberian Peninsula and flanked by Spain to the east, Portugal is a nation with its gaze turned outward. Its history is steeped in discovery and exploration, beginning with early leaders that, after ousting Celtic and Moorish settlers in the 12th century, focused on building their kingdom beyond continental borders.

GDP: $239 billion


POPULATION: 10.3 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $23,252


Italy

No.22 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.21 out of 73 in 2020

Italy is a south-central European country, whose boot-shaped borders extend into the Mediterranean Sea. The country’s historical cities, world-renowned cuisine and geographic beauty make it a popular destination for more than 40 million tourists each year. The nation is home to Mount Etna, Europe’s tallest and most active volcano, and houses two countries within its borders – the Vatican and San Marino.

GDP: $2.00 trillion


POPULATION: 60.3 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $33,228


China

No.23 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.19 out of 73 in 2020

Home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, China has been ruled by the Communist Party since 1949, when the nation was established as the People’s Republic of China. The country is the world’s most populous and is considered the second-largest by land mass.

GDP: $14.3 trillion


POPULATION: 1.40 billion


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $10,217


United Arab Emirates

No.24 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.25 out of 73 in 2020

The United Arab Emirates, or UAE, is a federation of seven emirates on the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula. The country, wedged between between Oman and Saudi Arabia, has rocky desert, wetlands, waterless mountains and coastlines that stretch along the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. The emirates that currently comprise the UAE were known as the Trucial States in the 19th century as a result of a series of agreements with Great Britain. In 1971, six of these states merged to form the UAE; a seventh joined in 1972.

GDP: $421 billion


POPULATION: 9.77 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $43,103


Poland

No.25 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.22 out of 73 in 2020

Poland is a medium-sized nation located in central Europe with a history and culture shaped by a millennium of conflict across the European continent. The Christian Kingdom of Poland was formally created in 1025 and by the mid-16th century the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth was one of the largest countries on the continent. Partitioned by neighboring countries in the late 18th century, Poland briefly regained its independence following World War I. Nazi Germany and the former Soviet Union invaded the country in 1939, marking the beginning of World War II.

GDP: $596 billion


POPULATION: 38.0 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $15,693


Greece

No.26 in Quality of Life Rankings

No Change in Rank from 2020

Located in southeastern Europe, Greece as an independent nation is young, existing since the 19th century. Its civilization, however, is one of history’s oldest and most influential, credited with creating the concept of democracy as well as the ancient Olympic Games, and laying Western foundations in science, the arts and philosophy.

GDP: $210 billion


POPULATION: 10.7 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $19,583


Czechia

No.27 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.24 out of 73 in 2020

The Czech Republic may have been born in 1993, but the nation’s history goes back more than 1,000 years. Its location in the heart of Central Europe has nurtured a rich culture yet provided its people with a reserve born from interference and invasions from larger powers. Perhaps due to the country’s history, the people are among the least religious in the world.

GDP: $251 billion


POPULATION: 10.7 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $23,495


Malaysia

No.28 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.27 out of 73 in 2020

Located in two separate regions in the South China Sea, Malaysia is a small country with a fast-growing economy. Once a British colony, the country is home to about 29 million people, many of whom live in or near the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Located on an ocean trade route, Malaysia came under the influence of ChinaIndia, the Middle East and eventually Great Britain in the late 18th century. The Federation of Malaysia was formed in 1948 by the unification of former British-ruled territories along the Malay Peninsula. In 1963, the former British colonies of Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak, joined the Federation, thereafter known simply as Malaysia.

GDP: $365 billion


POPULATION: 31.9 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $11,414


Thailand

No.29 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.28 out of 73 in 2020

Thailand, which translates to “land of the free,” is the only Southeast Asian nation that did not encounter European colonization. Located just above the equator, the nation is wedged into the Indochina peninsula with neighbors Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia and has an arm that extends out to Malaysia.

GDP: $544 billion


POPULATION: 69.6 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $7,807


Hungary

No.30 in Quality of Life Rankings

Not Ranked in 2020

GDP: $163 billion


POPULATION: 9.77 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $16,732



Russia

No.31 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.34 out of 73 in 2020

The scale of Russia is difficult to imagine. It is the world’s largest country by land mass – nearly twice as big as Canada, the world’s second-largest nation – and covers all of northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe. It shares land borders with more than a dozen countries, and shares sea borders with Japan and the United States.

GDP: $1.70 trillion


POPULATION: 144 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $11,585


Vietnam

No.32 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.33 out of 73 in 2020

Curving along the eastern edge of the Indochina Peninsula, Vietnam shares long stretches of its borders with Cambodia, Laos and the South China Sea. Occupied by the French until 1954, a communist state emerged in 1975 after the People’s Army of the north and Viet Cong guerilla fighters defeated the anti-communist south. The bitter war garnered international attention and participation, especially from the United States, at a critical juncture in the Cold War era in which communism was gaining ground on the global stage. “Doi moi” economic policy reforms beginning in 1986 have helped The Socialist Republic of Vietnam transition to a more modern, competitive nation.

GDP: $262 billion


POPULATION: 96.5 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $2,715


Saudi Arabia

No.33 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.42 out of 73 in 2020

Saudi Arabia is the giant of the Middle East, with both the vast majority of land and wealth of the Arabian Peninsula falling within its borders. Millions of devout Muslims from around the world participate in a pilgrimage to Mecca each year, believed to be the birthplace of the Muslim prophet Mohammed and the cradle of Islam. A fierce religious identity dominates the Sunni-majority nation, with principles of the Koran, conservative Sunni teachings known as Wahhabism and strict Islamic Shariah law present in all aspects of life.

GDP: $793 billion


POPULATION: 34.3 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $23,140


Qatar

No.34 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.36 out of 73 in 2020

Qatar is located on a small desert peninsula that extends northward into the Persian Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula. Qatar became subject to the Islamic caliphate after the rise of Islam in 628 A.D. and was subsequently ruled by a number of local and foreign powers. Once a poor British protectorate, the small nation became an  independent state in 1971. Now rich in oil and natural gas, Qatar is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Just over half of the country’s gross domestic product is comprised of manufacturing, construction and financial services, which has helped the country weather the global decline in oil prices in recent years.

GDP: $176 billion


POPULATION: 2.83 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $62,088


Indonesia

No.35 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.32 out of 73 in 2020

Made up of a chain of thousands of islands between Asia and Australia, Indonesia is the world's largest archipelagic state and the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation. Indonesia’s people are diverse, speaking more than 300 languages and ranging from cosmopolitan urbanites to rural villagers. There are hundreds of volcanoes in Indonesia, the most famous of which is Krakatoa, whose explosion in 1883 was one of the most catastrophic in history. Hindu-Buddhist and Muslim kingdoms existed before the arrival of the Dutch, who colonized the archipelago but ceded independence to the country after an occasionally violent struggle in 1949. From 1967 until 1988, President Suharto ruled Indonesia with an iron hand. Free and fair elections took place in 1999, after rioting toppled his dictatorship.

GDP: $1.12 trillion


POPULATION: 271 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $4,136


Israel

No.36 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.46 out of 73 in 2020

Israel, the only Jewish nation in the world, is a small country on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. For its relatively small size, the country has played a large role in global affairs. The country has a strong economy, landmarks of significance to several religions and strained relationships with many of its Arab neighbors.

GDP: $395 billion


POPULATION: 9.05 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $43,592


Croatia

No.37 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.29 out of 73 in 2020

Croatia has found itself at the crossroads of major historical movements, both East and West. These political shifts have uniquely shaped its present-day borders, which curve around Bosnia and Herzegovina in central Europe and stretch along the Adriatic Sea opposite Italy. The nation’s stunning Mediterranean coastline eases into the rugged Dinaric Alps and, continuing northeast, the fertile plains of the Danube River.

GDP: $60.8 billion


POPULATION: 4.07 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $14,936


India

No.38 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.30 out of 73 in 2020

Located in Southeast Asia, India sits on a peninsula that extends between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The country, the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism, is the world’s second most-populous nation after China, and has roughly one-sixth of the world’s population. After years of nonviolent struggle against British rule, India gained its independence in 1947.

GDP: $2.87 trillion


POPULATION: 1.37 billion


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $2,100


Philippines

No.39 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.31 out of 73 in 2020

Thousands of islands in the South China Sea comprise the tropical nation of the Philippines. The land of beautiful beaches and abundant biodiversity has long been plagued by political instability, but its resilient economy continues to improve and push ahead of others in the region. The Republic of the Philippines claimed independence from Japan after World War II in 1946 with assistance from the United States, which had exercised colonial rule over the nation earlier in the century. American influence and ties remain prevalent in the Filipino society, although the relationship has become more strained since the 2016 election of President Rodrigo Duterte.

GDP: $377 billion


POPULATION: 108 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $3,485


Turkey

No.40 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.37 out of 73 in 2020

Founded in 1923, Turkey is home to a unique intersection of culture as the nation bridges Asia with Europe. The country is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, though influences of bygone Roman and Byzantine rule pepper the streets and skyline. Extravagant mosques and cathedrals can both be found within blocks of the Grand Bazaar in the city of Istanbul, home to 14 million people. Religious identity is an important part of Turkey’s evolution. For more than a decade, power struggles between a military-backed secular government and an increasingly popular religious movement have raised concerns about government stability.

GDP: $761 billion


POPULATION: 83.4 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $9,127


Mexico

No.41 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.39 out of 73 in 2020

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean on its West and the Gulf of Mexico to its East, Mexico is the third-largest country in Latin America and has the second-largest economy. The nation is one of contrasts, with terrain encompassing arid lands and Caribbean coastlines and a society that has extremes of wealth and poverty. Once home of the Maya, Aztec and other ancient civilizations, Mexico was ruled by Spain starting in the early 16th century. Administered by Spain for three centuries, the country achieved independence early in the 19th century, first as a short-lived empire and then as a republic in 1824.

GDP: $1.27 trillion


POPULATION: 128 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $9,946


Bulgaria

No.42 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.35 out of 73 in 2020

Located in the southeastern corner of the Balkans, Bulgaria sits at the junction of Europe and Asia. Its location has made it susceptible to invasions in the past, but it also has provided a rich culture – the country is the birthplace of the Cyrillic script.

GDP: $68.6 billion


POPULATION: 6.98 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $9,828


Chile

No.43 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.41 out of 73 in 2020

Distance is one way to define Chile, a long, narrow country on South America’s western coastline whose dramatic landscapes may play a part in the country’s history of producing great poets. A trip from the country’s northern border with Peru to its southern tip at Cape Horn covers 2,700 miles. Chile is narrow – its widest point is just 150 miles – as its eastern border with Argentina backs up against the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world.

GDP: $282 billion


POPULATION: 19.0 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $14,896


Romania

No.44 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.38 out of 73 in 2020

Romania is the largest of the Balkan nations, tucked between Bulgaria and Ukraine in southeastern Europe along the Black Sea. It is a jigsaw of distinct regions, each with their own history and influence. In the 1860s the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia united to form Romania and in 1877 it gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire. Transylvania, which was ruled by Austria and Hungary, was later acquired by Romania after fighting for the Allies in World War I.

GDP: $250 billion


POPULATION: 19.4 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $12,920


Costa Rica

No.45 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.43 out of 73 in 2020

Located in the heart of Central America, Costa Rica has  been one of the most politically and economically stable countries in Central America since its birth in the 19th century The nation compares favorably to its regional neighbors in areas of human development, and it has used its landscapes of jungles, forests and coastlines to develop an international reputation for ecotourism. Costa Rica’s constitution was adopted in 1949, and has since been amended to declare the nation as multicultural and multiethnic.

GDP: $61.8 billion


POPULATION: 5.05 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $12,244


Slovakia

No.46 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.40 out of 73 in 2020

Slovakia is a landlocked country in Central Europe with dramatic landscapes dominated by mountains, valleys and caves that form part of the Western Carpathians.

GDP: $105 billion


POPULATION: 5.45 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $19,266


Morocco

No.47 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.50 out of 73 in 2020

The Kingdom of Morocco is a Muslim country in western North Africa, with coastlines on the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Just an hour ferry ride from Spain, the country has a unique mix of Arab, Berber, African and European cultural influences. Unlike many of its neighbors, Morocco remained independent for much of its history. Once part of the Roman Empire, the country was ruled by a series of kingdoms after the Arab conquest of the late seventh century. Morocco thwarted attempts at Turkish and European control until the country became a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956, when it gained independence.

GDP: $120 billion


POPULATION: 36.5 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $3,204


Estonia

No.48 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.45 out of 73 in 2020

Estonia is a small country in Northern Europe bordered by giant Russia to the east, Latvia to the south, the Baltic Sea to the west and the Gulf of Finland to the north. The country’s territory includes a mainland and more than 2,000 islands.

GDP: $31.5 billion


POPULATION: 1.33 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $23,723



Cambodia

No.49 in Quality of Life Rankings

Not Ranked in 2020

Cambodia is the smallest country by landmass on the Indochina Peninsula. Officially named the Kingdom of Cambodia, and affectionately called the Kingdom of Wonder, the country has a rich cultural history, with roots in both Buddhism and Hinduism, and is home to the largest religious monument on earth: Angkor Wat, a temple complex built in the 12th century spanning approximately 400 acres.

GDP: $27.1 billion


POPULATION: 16.5 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $1,643


Latvia

No.50 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.49 out of 73 in 2020

On the edge of eastern Europe, Latvia sits nestled between Estonia and Lithuania. The trio form the Baltic states and share roots in early tribal settlers as well as similarly strategic locations along the Baltic Sea that have led to various coinciding conquests of their land throughout history. Latvia is among the larger European countries in terms of landmass, but low population density has allowed more than half of the country’s geography to remain as natural ecosystems. There is great geographic diversity within the country’s borders, too, from Ventas Rumba, Europe’s widest waterfall, to the towering pines of Gauja National Park and the crystalline Baltic waters along the resort town of Jurmala.

GDP: $34.1 billion


POPULATION: 1.91 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $17,829


Egypt

No.51 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.54 out of 73 in 2020

Egypt, with vast swaths of desert in its east and west and the rich Nile River Valley at its heart, is site to one of the world’s earliest and greatest civilizations. Its location at the northeast corner of Africa bordering the Mediterranean Sea has made it a cultural and trading center. But its location has also made it a prize to claim by empires and put it at the center of social and religious movements.

GDP: $303 billion


POPULATION: 100 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $3,019


Brazil

No.52 in Quality of Life Rankings

No Change in Rank from 2020

Occupying half of South America’s land mass, Brazil is the giant of the continent – both in size and in population. Brazil’s history is filled with economic turmoil, veering from boom to bust, and its culture is a melting pot that has traditionally welcomed the world. Brazil is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. However, the country in the 21st century confronts serious questions touching on poverty, inequality, governance and the environment.

GDP: $1.84 trillion


POPULATION: 211 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $8,717


Dominican Republic

No.53 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.48 out of 73 in 2020

The Dominican Republic, the land of merengue and baseball, occupies two-thirds of the island Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. It was the site of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas, as well the first toehold for European settlement. The country’s history reflects many of the historical challenges that the rest of Latin America has faced: civil disorder, ethnic tensions, authoritarian rule and economic upheaval. The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy, with a multi-party political system and traditional separations of government power falling on executive, legislative and judicial branches.

GDP: $88.9 billion


POPULATION: 10.7 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $8,282


Slovenia

No.54 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.44 out of 73 in 2020

Slovenia is a small country located in southern Central Europe, bordered by CroatiaHungaryAustriaItaly and the Adriatic Sea. Slovenia had been ruled by many larger states dating to the Roman Empire and later the Habsburgs of Austria. Following World War I and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Slovenia achieved self-determination, eventually merging with Croatia and Serbia to first form a Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After World War II, Slovenia was part of a reformed socialist Republic of Yugoslavia. It declared independence in 1991 from the former Yugoslavia and today the country has a parliamentary democracy form of government.

GDP: $54.2 billion


POPULATION: 2.09 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $25,946


Uruguay

No.55 in Quality of Life Rankings

Not Ranked in 2020

Uruguay spent much of the 20th century under military rule before emerging as a democratic country in 1984. The country’s origins date to the 16th century, when it was discovered by the Portuguese in 1512, but it remained in contention between Spain and Portugal until it gained independence in the 1811 Battle of Las Piedras. A series of civil wars and internal strife occupied most of the 19th century.

GDP: $56.0 billion


POPULATION: 3.46 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $16,190


Lithuania

No.56 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.47 out of 73 in 2020

The largest and most populous of the three Baltic nations, Lithuania is located along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, bordered by LatviaBelarusPoland and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

GDP: $54.6 billion


POPULATION: 2.79 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $19,602


Peru

No.57 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.51 out of 73 in 2020

Peru is a nation whose history is as diverse as the peaks and valleys of its terrain. A strip of the Andes mountains separates a stretch of coastal plains from the dense Amazon jungle that covers more than half of the country. It is the third-largest country in South America, linking Ecuador and Chile along the west coast and bordering ColombiaBrazil and Bolivia inland. The ancient empire of the Incas was centered in Peru, leaving remnants of an expansive kingdom in its wake. A bite of the indigenous coca leaf can help to settle altitude sickness for those who climb the majestic Incan citadel of Machu Picchu.

GDP: $227 billion


POPULATION: 32.5 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $6,978


Sri Lanka

No.58 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.55 out of 73 in 2020

Referred to as the teardrop of India, Sri Lanka sits just off the southeast coast in the Indian Ocean. Scars of a bitter civil war are fading, and an island nation rich with resources and ripe for adventure is shining through. The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, previously known as Ceylon, is governed by an elected president and legislature. The young nation was born in 1948, when the early Sinhalese settlers claimed independence from the British, putting an end to a string of colonization by many countries, including Portugalthe Netherlands and India.

GDP: $84.0 billion


POPULATION: 21.8 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $3,853


Argentina

No.59 in Quality of Life Rankings

No Change in Rank from 2020

Argentina, the birthplace of tango, has experienced its share of tragedy and hardship since it became an independent nation in the early 19th century. During the 20th century, Argentina tilted between democracy and authoritarian rule, marked by the 1976-1983 “Dirty War” launched against political opponents of the country’s military government. Democracy returned to Argentina in 1983. The overwhelming majority of its citizens are ethnically European or partially European, reflecting the country’s 16th-century Spanish colonization and the waves of 19th and early 20th century immigration that flowed from Europe – particularly Spain and Italy.

GDP: $445 billion


POPULATION: 44.9 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $9,912


Colombia

No.60 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.53 out of 73 in 2020

Colombia is located in the northwest corner of South America and is the continent’s most populous Spanish-speaking nation. Roughly twice the geographic size of France, Colombia is bordered by both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, as well as Panama, Venezuela, BrazilPeru and Ecuador. Colombia won independence from Spain in the early 19th century, and was one of three countries that formed out of the 19th-century collapse of Gran Colombia – the other two nations being Ecuador and Venezuela. Today the country is a democratic republic with universal suffrage, with separate executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government.

GDP: $324 billion


POPULATION: 50.3 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $6,429




Ukraine

No.61 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.71 out of 73 in 2020

Ukraine, a nation whose history has experienced long periods of occupation from other countries, today wrestles between war and peace, as well as between corruption and reform. The nation borders the Black and Azov seas to the south and abuts several Eastern European nations, including Russia. Ukraine declared independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Its president is directly elected by voters. The prime minister is the head of the central government, which is separated along executive, legislative and judicial branches.

GDP: $154 billion


POPULATION: 44.4 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $3,659


Panama

No.62 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.58 out of 73 in 2020

Panama is a Central American nation that connects Costa Rica and South America by way of Colombia. Much of the country’s narrative is tied to a connector of another kind: the Panama Canal, a hub of global trade and transportation that joins the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Caribbean Sea. Construction of the canal began immediately after Panama’s secession from Colombia at the turn of the 20th century. The two nations, along with Ecuador and Venezuela initially, claimed joint independence from Spain in 1821. The massive project was financed and built by the United States in return for a claim to sovereignty over land on either side of it, effectively splitting Panama in half.

GDP: $66.8 billion


POPULATION: 4.25 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $15,731


South Africa

No.63 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.56 out of 73 in 2020

South Africa is located on the southern tip of Africa, with coastlines on both the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Africa’s third-largest economy behind Nigeria and Egypt, South Africa draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year eager to see its impressive terrain, wildlife and cultural diversity. Although South Africa has come a long way since the end of apartheid in 1994, it remains a country of vast inequality and high crime. While the country is dotted with world-class dining, trendy shops, sprawling vineyards and upscale safari lodges, townships lacking basic infrastructure are often only a short distance away.

GDP: $351 billion


POPULATION: 58.6 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $6,001


Guatemala

No.64 in Quality of Life Rankings

No Change in Rank from 2020

Home to much of Mayan civilization, Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America, touching Mexico’s southern border and possessing coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Guatemalans have traveled a painful road to present-day democracy. The country won independence from Spain in the early 19th century, but civil discord and authoritarian rule has marked much of the country’s history.

GDP: $76.7 billion


POPULATION: 16.6 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $4,620


Ecuador

No.65 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.63 out of 73 in 2020

Named for its proximity to the Earth’s equator, the South American nation of Ecuador is home to a more dynamic society than its straightforward name may suggest. Tremendous culture is packed within a nation a quarter the size of its neighbors, Colombia and Peru. Once part of the Inca Empire, Ecuador won independence from Spain in the early 1800s and was one of three countries that emerged from the 19th-century collapse of Gran Colombia. Its current population -- largely of mixed indigenous and European descent -- is a clear manifestation of these distinctive roots. Spanish is the official language, and Incan Quechua is used in formal intercultural relations.

GDP: $107 billion


POPULATION: 17.4 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $6,184


Tunisia

No.66 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.61 out of 73 in 2020

Tunisia is a small Arab country in North Africa that represents both the aspirations of freedom and struggles against terrorism that roil the region. Along with neighbors Algeria and Libya, it lines the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, a strategic location that has attracted Romans, Arabs, Ottoman Turks and others over the years. At the end of 2010, rising inflation and a lack of political freedom combined with high unemployment - particularly among college graduates - ignited public protests that set off the “Arab Spring” wave of demonstrations across much of the Arab World that called for greater freedoms.

GDP: $38.8 billion


POPULATION: 11.7 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $3,317


Myanmar

No.67 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.62 out of 73 in 2020

The history of Myanmar, also known as Burma, is marked by ethnic violence and widespread impoverishment as it has convulsed between democratic freedom and brutal authoritarian rule. The country, a medium-sized nation in Southeast Asia that borders Bangladesh,  India China, Laos and  Thailand, is populated by several ethnic groups, with the Burmese dominating the population, politics, economy and society.

GDP: $76.1 billion


POPULATION: 54.0 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $1,408


Jordan

No.68 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.72 out of 73 in 2020

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a small, young country located on land of ancient biblical significance. The country is one of the most liberal in the region and also has one of the smallest economies, as it lacks the natural resources enjoyed by many of its neighbors. Under the rule of the Ottoman Empire until 1918 and later a mandate of the United Kingdom, Jordan became an independent kingdom in 1946. The country lost the West Bank and East Jerusalem to Israel in the war of 1967. Years later the country joined Egypt in becoming one of the two Arab nations to make peace with Israel.

GDP: $44.5 billion


POPULATION: 10.1 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $4,405


Kenya

No.69 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.57 out of 73 in 2020

When Kenya claimed its independence from the U.K. in 1963, leaders of the newly formed republic promoted a sense of national unity using the motto “harambee,” Swahili for ‘pulling together.’ The sentiment holds true today in a country that blends the rich culture and traditions of dozens of varied groups that call it home. Scientists have called the East African nation, situated along the equator, the cradle of humankind. Some of the oldest and most complete human remains have been found along the Great Rift Valley, a volcano-lined trench that runs through western Kenya.

GDP: $95.5 billion


POPULATION: 52.6 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $1,817


Oman

No.70 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.66 out of 73 in 2020

The oldest independent state in the Arab world, Oman is located on the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula at the confluence of the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. The country was always of interest to foreign powers due to its strategic position for Indian Ocean trade. Controlled by the Portuguese in the 1500s and later the Persians, the country eventually formed close ties with Britain in the late 19th century, though it never became a colony. During the 1800s, Oman profited greatly from the slave trade, cultivating colonies in modern-day KenyaTanzania and Pakistan.

GDP: $76.3 billion


POPULATION: 4.97 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $15,343


Kazakhstan

No.71 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.67 out of 73 in 2020

Kazakhstan, the world's largest landlocked country, is located mostly in Central Asia, with a small section in easternmost Europe. The country has the largest economy in the region, fueled mostly by its vast natural resources. Present day Kazakhstan was part of various empires throughout the centuries, including the Mongols in the 13th and 14th centuries. The area came under Russian control in the 18th century and became a Soviet Republic in 1936. In 1991, it was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence after the fall of the Soviet Union.

GDP: $182 billion


POPULATION: 18.5 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $9,812


Belarus

No.72 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.68 out of 73 in 2020

Carved out of Russia’s east border, Belarus sits among a group of post-Soviet states in East Europe to the north of Ukraine. The nation claimed its independence in 1991 after seven decades under the USSR. Though landlocked, more than 11,000 lakes and ancient, enchanting woodlands cover the flat landscape. Despite operating under an autonomous government, Belarus maintains extremely close political and economic ties with Russia. Isolationist trade policies are fueled by priority access to cheap oil from Russia, a relationship that has been called into question more than once in the last decade.

GDP: $63.1 billion


POPULATION: 9.47 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $6,663




Azerbaijan

No.73 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.69 out of 73 in 2020

Azerbaijan is a small nation located in the Caucasus region, straddling Europe and Asia. Situated at a geographic crossroads, the land was ruled by many empires before it first became a democratic republic in 1918, following World War I. Just two years later, however, it was absorbed into the Soviet Union. In 1991 Azerbaijan emerged as an independent republic following the Soviet collapse.

GDP: $48.0 billion


POPULATION: 10.0 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $4,794


Serbia

No.74 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.70 out of 73 in 2020

Serbia is a small country in central-southeast Europe whose history is a timeline of European wars dating to the Middle Ages. Contemporary Serbia reflects the ambiguities and contradictions of modern Europe – culturally rich, comparatively developed economically yet driven by regional rivalries and ethnic tensions.

GDP: $51.5 billion


POPULATION: 6.94 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $7,412


El Salvador

No.75 in Quality of Life Rankings

Not Ranked in 2020

El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, with more than 6.4 million inhabitants as of 2019, according to estimates from the World Bank. The country is bordered by Guatemala to the northwest, Honduras to the northeast, and faces the Pacific Ocean to the south.

GDP: $27.0 billion


POPULATION: 6.45 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $4,187


Uzbekistan

No.76 in Quality of Life Rankings

Not Ranked in 2020

Uzbekistan is the geographic center of Central Asia, sandwiched between five countries and featuring a mostly desert climate. The country has been independent since the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 and has since developed a diverse economy built upon agricultural production and a growing mineral and petroleum export capacity. Its government is a presidential republic that is described as “highly authoritarian,” according to Western governments including the U.S., as well as international rights groups.

GDP: $57.9 billion


POPULATION: 33.6 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $1,725


Lebanon

No.77 in Quality of Life Rankings

No.73 out of 73 in 2020

Lebanon is a Levantine country in the northern Arabian Peninsula, located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and bordered by Syria to its north and east, and Israel to its south. Its location at the crossroads of Asia and Europe gave birth to early kingdoms and has put it in the center of political and religious upheavals throughout history.

GDP: $52.0 billion


POPULATION: 6.86 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $7,584


Iraq

No.78 in Quality of Life Rankings

Not Ranked in 2020

Occupying land that was once home to one of the world’s first known civilizations, Iraq is located in southwestern Asia and struggles today to throw off decades of war and sectarian violence to achieve lasting peace.

GDP: $234 billion


POPULATION: 39.3 million


GDP PER CAPITA, PPP: $5,955

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