Urban Transformation

What makes people happy in Europe’s most desirable countries?

General view of a small harbour and snow-capped mountains in Bals-Fiord, north of the Arctic Circle, near the village of Mestervik in northern Norway September 30, 2014

This scale moves beyond rating countries on GDP alone and instead measures 44 different indicators. Image:  REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

Simon Torkington
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The people of Norway have a lot to be happy about.

The country tops the table behind a new map showing the best European countries in which to live.

Image: jakubmarian.com

Jakub Marian’s map gives Norway top marks on a well-being scale developed by the Boston Consulting Group. This scale moves beyond rating countries on GDP alone and instead measures 44 different indicators.

The broadly content

Norwegians are content with their job prospects, the quality of housing stock and they feel safe in a country where crime is low. It helps that Norway is a beautiful country of dramatic coastal landscapes, pristine forests and clean, well-ordered cities. Norwegians rate the environment as one of the most significant factors driving their sense of well-being.

Germany, with a rating of 93.6, dominates a central bloc of nations that also sit high on the map of best European countries to live in. The populations of neighboring Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands complete the list of most desirable European states.

BCG’s Sustainable Economic Development Assessment (SEDA), measures well-being based on economics, investments and sustainability. These three elements are then broken down into ten dimensions that include employment prospects, healthcare and the environment.

 SEDA's Ten Dimensions of well-being
Image: Boston Consulting Group

And the less so

The data behind the map reveals the full range of 'well-being' scores. Within Europe, the bottom three are Moldova, Montenegro and, in last place, Macedonia.


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Related topics:
Urban TransformationGeographies in Depth
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