Every year the United Nations conducts its “Human Development Index”, ranking each country on everything from employment, crime, education, health, government, corruption, environment, opportunities..the list is quite extensive.
Year after year, Canada ranks in the top 3 countries in the world, together with Australia and Denmark. For consecutive years Canada was the #1 country to live, according to the UN, but since 2008 has been fighting for first place with Australia.
While the UN system is one of the most respected in the world, it is not the only ranking system. The National Geographic Society also ranks countries and goes even further than the UN by breaking down each country by region. For five years running National Geographic has ranked Canada as the #1 country in the world to live, and also brought to life an interesting fact: Canada has more wildlife per square kilometer and more space per person than any other country in the world!
Mercer’s also ranks countries according to things like crime, environment, job opportunities, etc, and unlike either the UN or National Geographic systems, breaks down its rankings based on city data (where more than 50% of Canada’s population lives). Here, Canada doesn’t do as well, coming in third place after Denmark and Austria, mainly do to the fact that since the 2008 economic recession the big city centers of Ontario have been shedding jobs, thus skewing the overall national results. This doesn’t take into account, however, that western Canada has been steadily adding jobs since 2009 and has not only recovered all jobs lost since 2008, but added an additional 11,400!
Money Sense Magazine, a publication for economists and investors, ranks the worlds cities as to liveability, again taking into account things like crime, pollution, wealth, property values, employment rates, government services, education institutions, infrastructure, etc. Once again, Canada ranks incredibly high with its cities. For nearly a decade Vancouver was rated as the #1 city in the world to live, but in 2011 Ottawa surpassed Vancouver. What is interesting is that of the top 10 cities in the world to live, for 2011, Canada boasted five, including the top three! These were Ottawa (#1!), Victoria (#2!), Vancouver (#3!), Guelph (#6) and Winnipeg (#8).
The United Nations also collects extensive data on international migration, and between 2006 and 2011 Canada has been the #1 destination of immigrants around the world. In fact, Canadian immigration authorities received more visa applications than the United States in that period (not all were necessarily approved). Another strange phenomena: between 2003 and 2005, Americans made up the second biggest national group of immigrants to Canada, after Indians.
Finally, in a less serious but equally interesting study of national trends by the British media giant The Guardian, it was found that Canadians had the highest level of household wealth in the world (averaging $57,800 USD), were healthier, on average, than the Swedes; watched more TV than the Japanese, surfed the web more than any other nationality per capita, were happier with their lives than the average western European, American and Australian; were more educated than the average Brit and, perhaps most telling of all, had more sex than the average Italian and French, with most Canadian respondents (men and women) indicating that Canadians have the longest sexual trysts in the world: 37 minutes on average.
Even if you remove the fact that Canadians have a lot of sex, Canada still comes out as one of the best countries in the world to live. A relatively peaceful country, with low crime rates and exceptional schools, as well as a robust and healthy economy, an open-minded and welcoming society, clean and safe cities and good infrastructure, as well as a stable, democratic government with one of the lowest corruption rates in the world, and it is no wonder that Canada is truly the best country in the world!