General quality of life is not something which is easily quantifiably measured. There are many different factors at play: some of them economic, some of them biological and some of them cultural. Judging whether one place is better to live than another therefore relies on a subjective view. It should be noted, however, that New Zealand Visas are among the most sought after for a reason: the country ranks consistently highly in lists of the best places to live.
The Economist Intelligence Unit is a think-tank component of the Economist magazine, whose role is to research and analyse the economic outlook in different places around the world. They produce regular forecasts and reports on the state of many different industries in different countries.
The EIU also regularly produces a list of eighty different countries ranked according of the quality of life of its citizens. This is measured on a scale of one-to-ten, with ten being the theoretical best and zero being the theoretical worst.
The last one to be conductedwas in 2013. It placed New Zealand seventh with a score of 7.95. This positioned it behind only the Scandinavian countries, along with Switzerland, Singapore and Australia, but still well ahead of Great Britain on 7.01. Is it any wonder that so many choose to move to New Zealand?
The EIU arrived at these figures after weighing a number of different factors. Let’s consider some of them.
GDP Per Capital
The quality of life in a nation is hugely influenced by the wealth of its citizens. This wealth can be inferred by taking the nation’s Gross Domestic Product and dividing it by its population. 2013 figures put forward by the World Bank put New Zealand at around $35k per person, with the UK only slightly higher at $38k per person.
Of course, this figure does not account for the distribution of wealth within the population. Furthermore, there are a range of different organisations tasked with estimating GDP and there are sometimes large discrepancies in these estimations. But here we risk disappearing down an economic rabbit hole; we shall cautiously conclude that Kiwis are, on average, slightly poorer than Brits.
As well as measuring the wealth of a nation, it is important also to consider its health. This can be measured in terms of life expectancy. According to figures released by the World Health Organisation, men who live in New Zealand can expect to reach the age of 80, while women can expect to reach 84. These figures are roughly in line with most developed nations.
The EUI takes the quality of family life as measured by the divorce rates. In New Zealand, around 42% of marriages end in divorce. This is in comparison to around 47% for the UK. So, by this measure, families are slightly happier in New Zealand compared to the UK.
Whether or not divorce rates are a good measure of familial cohesion is highly dubious. It seems obvious that families which are allowed to break apart will be happier than those which are coerced into staying together. Are Chilean families really twenty times happier Belgian ones? We’re skeptical.
The EIA’s index takes into account the representation of women in parliament. Of course, the representation of women in parliament does not necessarily correlate with gender equality in broader life. Rwanda’s parliament is comprised of more than sixty percent women, but it is hardly a gender-egalitarian paradise.
Unemployment is used by the EIU as a measure of Job Security. Here, both New Zealand and the United Kingdom are tied exactly on around 5.6%. This does not account for the quality of the jobs and is not a perfect indicator of the economy’s overall health, but it does demonstrate that it is just as easy to find a job in New Zealand as it is in the UK.
Personal security refers to the likelihood that one might fall victim to a violent crime. This is most easily measured in the homicide rates, of which it is easy to collect reliable, quantifiable data. While victims of non-lethal violence may choose not to come forward, murder victims are almost always recorded. Moreover, the prevalence of this ultimate form of violence correlates closely with the prevalence of its lesser forms and so by studying the homicide rate we can adjudge how likely we are to encounter violence in general.
Homicide rate is measure in instances per year per hundred thousand people. In New Zealand the figure is 0.9. For comparison, the figure in the UK is 1, the figure in the United States is 4.7, and the figure in South Africa is 31.
Grecia is the author of tournavationmke.com. She loves to travel around the world and share her experience and knowledge about the travel industry, features about travel trends. Prior to travel writing, Grecia covered Internet and Technology articles and contributing for many other web blogs.