Friday, January 14, 2011

Where Should I Live in 2011?

Last year I first asked the question, 'Of all the places in the world, Where Should I live?' This lead to a quest to find the cheapest and best places to live as ranked by authorities who do just that - rank places based on a variety of statistics. A year ago I presented what I thought was a pretty interesting and credible list - the International Living Quality of Life Index. I had so much fun reviewing that piece and such great feedback that I decided to subscribe to, a monthly publication. I've learned a ton about new places to live which are emerging all the time. It's such a great resource - I highly recommend it - you can get more details on he magazine and subscriptions by clicking on that box over to the right or on any of the numerous links I've placed in previous articles.

Well yesterday I announced that the annual Quality of Life issue had arrived and I let you know about the top ten places to live in the world - that is to say the list of those places offer the very best Quality of Life and Living for 2011. You can just look below at that post to learn more.

As I did last year I'm going to spend the next few weeks going over the list in-depth. I'll talk about each country and some of the things which may not appear in the index like, which ones are also the Best Places to Retire and where I can find data I'll explore the cheapest places to live within each country.

The index is just that - an index. So it ranks countries by a number of factors and the overall winner is the one with the highest overall rank. Yesterday I announced, much to my surprise, that the United States Quality of Life was determined to be the best with a final score of 86.43. Now numbers aren't the whole story. Sure the U.S. ranked high on Economy - let's face it, depression, recession whatever you want to call it the U.S. still it has the largest economy on the world. or - at least compared to the other 191 countries in the complete index - well no, not really - it is the biggest in the world! The United States also scores very high when it comes to infrastructure - sure if you live in the States you may be contenting with pot holes and other challenges which would cause you to question that but again overall when looking at all of the countries the U.S. stands in pretty good stead when it comes to infrastructure. And it continues to score relatively high across all of the other nine categories (see previous post).

Now all of that said this is a list which is determined by averages so a huge country like the U.S. can really skew the results. For example, while the U.S. does offer some of the cheapest places to live in the world - check out Waco Texas or some of the mid-mid west States like South Dakota or how about Detroit where, due to a devastated auto industry, the cheapest house on record was sold last year - it also has some of the most expensive lifestyles and cost of living on the planet - check out downtown Manhattan or Malibu Beach. The same goes for weather - 40 below in the North is tempered by balmy warm winters in Southern Florida and Southern California.

In future posts we will move beyond the U.S. borders but may check in with comparisons from time to time. For now, read on as we explore and try to answer that question, 'Where Should I live in 2011?'

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