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Newsweek: Finland World’s Best Country

Newsweek magazine recently ranked Finland as the best country to live in -- just one of a string of recent international comparisons, which are closely tracked in this nation of five million.

The American newsmagazine's study, published in mid-August, examined living conditions in 100 countries around the world. In the magazine’s analysis, Finland was judged to be the best. The analysis examined factors such as education and health care, quality of life, economic dynamism, and political environment.

Finishing after Finland were Switzerland and Sweden. The United States was in 11th place. The final three were the African nations Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Cameroon.

The analysis of educational systems used factors such as the international PISA studies, as well as measures of efficiency and the educational level of the population at large. In this, Finland was in first place, followed by South Korea and Canada, which were in a tie.

Finland’s lowest marks were in health care, in which it came in 17th. The ranking was based on a World Health Organisation comparison examining how many years an average citizen could expect to live a full-blown life without being burdened by illness or disability. The top three were Japan, Switzerland and Sweden.

Equality, Employment and Environment

A number of factors were considered in assessing quality of life. These included gender equality, the percentage of people living in poverty, the equality of wealth distribution, the suicide rate, the state of the environment, and the proportion of employed people in the population. In this, Finland was in fourth place, with Norway, Switzerland, and Luxembourg coming ahead.

Economic dynamism was gauged on the basis of GDP growth, the proportion of services and industrial output in GDP, innovations, the ease with which new companies can reach the market, and the scope of the stock market. In this Finland was eighth, with Singapore, the USA and South Korea as the top three.

The quality of the political was gauged through a comparison of democratic freedom, the proportion of citizens involved in elections, and political stability. Finland ranked fifth, trailing Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

Other recent surveys making headlines in Finland: