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5 Nations With Better Quality of Life Than America

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Happy family in Malaysia
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Millions of people believe life in the USA is pretty good. But a recent ranking suggests that citizens of some surprising nations may have things a little bit better.

HSBC looked at nine markets and measured quality of life based on three factors:

  • Physical wellness
  • Mental wellness
  • Financial fitness

By these criteria, some markets with large, vibrant economies — including the U.S. — actually fared below the average score of 75 out of 100 points.

On the other hand, the following countries earned surprisingly strong marks, with all of them topping the U.S. in terms of quality of life despite their economies being classified by HSBC as emerging markets rather than developed markets.

India

CRS PHOTO / Shutterstock.com

HSBC Quality of Life Index: 80 out of 100 points

A 2023 Ipsos poll found that an overwhelming 84% of Indians living in urban areas described themselves as “happy.” In a summary of the findings, Amit Adarkar, CEO of Ipsos India, said:

“Indians are happy because of a multitude of collective attributes that bring harmony in relationship, social status, acknowledgement and wellbeing.”

United Arab Emirates

Dubai
Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko / Shutterstock.com

HSBC Quality of Life Index: 80 out of 100 points

How seriously does the United Arab Emirates take happiness? Several years ago, the UAE appointed a minister of state for happiness. The goal was to turn the country into “the happiest of all nations.”

Mainland China

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HSBC Quality of Life Index: 79 out of 100 points

The 2023 Ipsos survey found that people in mainland China — which excludes Hong Kong — were the happiest on earth.

Zhang Yiwu, a literature professor at Peking University, told the Global Times that the happiness of Chinese people is rooted in kinship and social relationships:

“Even if one is not wealthy, he or she can gain a lot of happiness from having a happy and warm family, as well as many friends as a source of support.”

Mexico

Durango, Victoria de Durango, Mexico colonial and colorful historic city center near central Plaza de Armas and Cathedral Basilica.
eskystudio / Shutterstock.com

HSBC Quality of Life Index: 79 out of 100 points

If Americans want a bit more happiness, they can look south of the border.

Nicole Fuentes, a happiness expert, told the website Blue Zones:

“The Mexican recipe to happiness includes a large dose of social contact. Lots of social bonding, talking, laughing, and joking takes places around here. Families eat together Sundays or Saturdays, and these meals include grandparents usually the hosts sons, daughters, in-laws, grandchildren, cousins, etc.”

Malaysia

Izlan Somai / Shutterstock.com

HSBC Quality of Life Index: 77 out of 100 points

Malaysians also have a reputation for being quite happy. Happiness in Malaysia is grounded in strong family relationships and a sense that families are safe in the country, according to a 2022 survey by Malaysia’s Ministry of Economy.

How the other places fared

An older black couple hikes with backpacks as the sun sets
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

All of the other nations included in the HSBC ranking are developed markets — yet all fared below average in terms of quality of life:

  • United States: 70
  • United Kingdom: 69
  • Hong Kong: 68
  • Singapore: 68

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