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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

The 21 Best Countries to Live In

Health + Wellness

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published its third "How's Life?" survey last week. The survey analyzes standards of living in 36 of the richest countries in the world across 11 areas—housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance.

"There is more to life than the cold numbers of GDP and economic statistics," says the OECD Better Life Index. Instead of focusing entirely on "material well-being," the index also looks at "the broader quality of people's lives (such as their health, education, work-life balance, environment, social connections, civic engagement, subjective well-being and safety)."

Here are the top 21 countries ranked with the indicators weighted equally:

The OECD has a great interactive tool that let's you rate the factors according to their importance to you. So, if for instance, you want to see how countries rank based on the quality of their environment, then your ranking would look like this:

As you can see, Sweden is a clear leader when it comes to a pristine environment. And it's likely to only improve there, as the Swedish government recently announced it wants to become one of the first fossil fuel-free nations.

If you want to weight both health and environment to the maximum extent, your ranking would look like this:

To develop your own personal ranking, check out the index here.

The health impacts of air pollution have never been more clear. The OECD data reveals that 3.5 million people are killed every year from outdoor air pollution—that's way higher than previous estimates. In OECD countries, 50 percent of air pollution is caused by road transport with diesel vehicles being the biggest culprit. Looking at you, Volkswagen.

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