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11 countries with the best quality of life in the world

Cherry blossoms in Stockholm Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden.Flickr/Chas B

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently released its 2016 Better Life Index of countries with the best quality of life.

To do this, the OECD studied 34 countries across 11 parameters of well-being, including work-life balance, financial wealth, safety, education, and environmental quality. It uses data from the United Nations, National Statistics Offices, and the Gallup Organization.

Check out the countries that scored the highest across every category.

11. Netherlands — This country boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world. The OECD found that students in the Netherlands score above-average in math, science, and reading comprehension tests.

11. Netherlands — This country boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world. The OECD found that students in the Netherlands score above-average in math, science, and reading comprehension tests.
Leiden University, the oldest university in the Netherlands.Wikipedia Commons

10. Iceland — The country fell eight spots from last year's index. The percentage of Iceland's labor force that has been unemployed for a year or longer is at nearly 0.7%, lower than the OECD average of 2.6%.

10. Iceland — The country fell eight spots from last year's index. The percentage of Iceland's labor force that has been unemployed for a year or longer is at nearly 0.7%, lower than the OECD average of 2.6%.
Reykjavik, Iceland.Shutterstock

9. The United States — Though it fell four spots from last year's Index, the US comes out on top in areas of housing, income, and wealth. The average household disposable income is $41,071 per year, the highest in OECD's study.

9. The United States — Though it fell four spots from last year's Index, the US comes out on top in areas of housing, income, and wealth. The average household disposable income is $41,071 per year, the highest in OECD's study.
New York City commuters.Flickr User Barn Images

8. Finland — In Finland, 4% of employees work long hours, which is much lower than the OECD average of 13%.

8. Finland — In Finland, 4% of employees work long hours, which is much lower than the OECD average of 13%.
Esplanade Park in Helsinki, Finland.AP/Lehtikuva, Martti Kainulainen

7. New Zealand — Rising two spots this year, New Zealand prioritizes the environment. Greenhouse emissions are relatively low in the country, mainly due to its low population.

7. New Zealand — Rising two spots this year, New Zealand prioritizes the environment. Greenhouse emissions are relatively low in the country, mainly due to its low population.
New Zealand.TripAdvisor

6. Sweden — People in Sweden have a high level of civic engagement. In the most recent election, 83% of residents turned out to vote for its parliament.

6. Sweden — People in Sweden have a high level of civic engagement. In the most recent election, 83% of residents turned out to vote for its parliament.
Voter ballots from last year's election.Reuters

5. Canada — This country ranks high in affordable housing. In the 2000s, Toronto and Vancouver's government rezoned all single family neighborhoods, so that homeowners could rent out extra rooms (thus increasing the amount of affordable rent available).

5. Canada — This country ranks high in affordable housing. In the 2000s, Toronto and Vancouver's government rezoned all single family neighborhoods, so that homeowners could rent out extra rooms (thus increasing the amount of affordable rent available).
Wikipedia CommonsMarkham suburbs in Toronto.

4. Switzerland — The unemployment rate in Switzerland hovers around 3.1%, one of the lowest in the world.

4. Switzerland — The unemployment rate in Switzerland hovers around 3.1%, one of the lowest in the world.
Zurich, Switzerland.Shutterstock / Andreas Zerndl

3. Denmark — The country jumped 7 spots from last year's index, and ranks high in paid vacation time, averaging 5 weeks off per year. On average, full-time workers report devoting 66% of their days to "personal care" (i.e. not working).

3. Denmark — The country jumped 7 spots from last year's index, and ranks high in paid vacation time, averaging 5 weeks off per year. On average, full-time workers report devoting 66% of their days to
Slette Strand Beach in Denmark.Stig Nygaard

2. Australia — Although Australia ranked as number one for 2013 and 2014 (then fourth in 2015), it is second in this year's index. The OECD found that people feel a strong sense of community in Australia: 95% of Australians believe they know someone they could rely on.

2. Australia — Although Australia ranked as number one for 2013 and 2014 (then fourth in 2015), it is second in this year's index. The OECD found that people feel a strong sense of community in Australia: 95% of Australians believe they know someone they could rely on.
Sydney, Australia.Good Free Photos

1. Norway — The country also scored highest last year. People are living their best lives in Norway, where a majority have paid jobs, a high level of education, and live an average of 82 years.

1. Norway — The country also scored highest last year. People are living their best lives in Norway, where a majority have paid jobs, a high level of education, and live an average of 82 years.
Oslo, Norway.Flickr/Éole Wind
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Summary | 2 Annotations
11. Netherlands
2016/11/11 12:34
This country boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world
2016/11/11 12:34