Quality of life in Scandinavia ‘unbeatable’

Quality of life in Scandinavia ‘unbeatable’


Paris: Nordic countries take the greatest care of their environment and their people, according to a ranking published by Reader’s Digest.

Finland comes top of the 141-nation list, followed by Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and then Austria, Switzerland, Ireland and Australia.

At the bottom of the list is Ethiopia, preceded by Niger, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Chad. The United States comes in 23rd, China 84th and India 104th.

The ranking combines environmental factors, such as air and water quality, respect for biodiversity and greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as social factors, such as gross domestic product, access to education, unemployment rate and life expectancy.

The statistical basis is the UN’s Human Development Index and the Environmental Sustainability Index drawn up by Yale and Columbia universities and the World Economic Forum.

European countries -- again, led by Scandinavia -- also top the Reader’s Digest assessment of 72 cities for their quality of life. The criteria for this include public transport, parks, air quality, rubbish recycling and the price of electricity.

The winner is Stockholm, followed by Oslo, Munich and Paris. Asia’s mega-cities fare the worst. At the bottom is Beijing, preceded by Shanghai, Mumbai, Guangzhou and Bangkok.