People from all around the world are increasingly seeking out territories in which they can live in relative safety while also being able to leverage a country's policies, tax system and resources to build their own empire, whether it be for a small business or a corporation.
The CEO Magazine has made a list of the world's safest countries in terms of livability and economic reliance, these are:
Iceland has plenty more to offer when it comes to impressive living standards along its breathtaking natural landscapes and Northern Lights. The country continues to rank first as the world's safest country – a title the Nordic nation has held for 13 years straight.
Icelandic citizens are generally perceived as friendly and unlike other parts of the world, there is little tension between social and economic classes. Iceland's world-class living standards are reinforced with a relatively small population of just over 360,000 in 2020.
Iceland has been rated the most peaceful country in the world by the "Global Peace Index", and this is inherently due to having no armed forces, low crime levels and high standards of sociopolitical stability. Citizens also boast strong social attitudes towards crime while its police force is well-trained and educated. Police also prefer to carry batons and pepper spray in place of firearms. Iceland's primary trade sectors comprise of tourism (42%), seafood (17%), aluminium (16%) and other mixed industries (24%). Given its small economy, the country can be highly volatile to external factors.
New Zealand is generally seen as a peaceful place to live. Contributing to this is its multicultural population of roughly five million, stunning hidden beaches, temperate climate and generally progressive society set against the backdrop of developed major cities. The country steps in as the world's second safest country, underpinned with low crime rates, stunning natural scenery, a thriving tourism scene and close proximity to Australia's bustling east coast. The people also make New Zealand a special place to live but there's more to it.
It also boasts universal healthcare coverage that is publicly funded. In more recent times, New Zealand has been held in high regard thanks to its successful control of the outbreak. While the capital of Wellington along with Auckland ranks highly as the country's most livable cities, locals have cited a few issues involving home affordability versus low wage growth. Those with secure housing and stable employment will benefit the most from living in New Zealand while those who don't may find it challenging.
New Zealand's economy is propped up by a sizable services sector, which accounts for a large part of the country's gross domestic product activity. Other large industries include aluminium production, metal fabrication and wood and paper products. Food processing also forms the economy along with segments of mining, manufacturing, electricity, gas, water waste services and exports accounting for the remaining GDP.
According to International Living, Portugal offers arguably the lowest cost of living in Western Europe. Portugal is considered the world's third most peaceful country to live in. Over recent years Portugal has seen its ranking moving closer to the top thanks to an increased police presence keeping the crime rate low. Beyond that the country showcases a rich culture dating back centuries, picturesque countryside, prime surf beaches and a robust wine industry.
Over the years, the economy has seen a resurgence thanks to a very low unemployment rate boosted by its safety record. In 2020, it was ranked the best country for retirement, according to the "Annual Global Retirement Index".
Portugal's economy was ranked 34th in the World Economic Forum's recent "Global Competitiveness Report". The country features a diverse range of industries propping it up including its largest – the tertiary sector – followed by the natural resources sector, agriculture, fisheries, industrial, energy and services.
As of 2021, Denmark ranks third in the world for the "Global Peace Index". It has long been considered one of the safest and happiest countries to live thanks to its robust sense of community, equality, work–life balance and welfare support for all citizens.
Denmark carries all the hallmarks of a highly progressive and successful nation, and this is reflected in its top global ranking. Its only real drawbacks include learning Danish even though English is a second language, higher taxes, higher expenses and the predominantly grey weather for most of the year. As a welfare state, citizens of Denmark get to enjoy services and benefits that support a comfortable lifestyle. Its higher taxes pay for healthcare, tuition-free education and at-home care helpers for the elderly.
Denmark boasts a mixed economy of government services alongside a high reliance on foreign trade. The services sector makes up 80 per cent of the country's jobs with the rest in engineering, manufacturing and agriculture.
Canada continues to be ranked as one of the world's most peaceful countries, coming in at sixth on the "Global Peace Index". With everything from low violence and crime to the world's friendliest citizens to job opportunities and political stability, Canada is easily one of the safest countries today.
Its access to universal healthcare is also a win over neighbouring US. When further compared to the US, Canada can be cheaper or more expensive to live in depending on the service. Health insurance and rent is less but consumer goods such as staple foods and fuel can cost more due to the weaker Canadian dollar. The country is perfect for those who rate a socially progressive government alongside scenic geography ripe for skiing, sailing or outdoor adventuring.
Canada boasts a highly diverse and developed mixed economy with a huge portion of that driven by the services sector, which employs three quarters of Canadians. Some of its main key industries include real estate and property, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, finance and construction.
Singapore and its 5.7 million citizens enjoy some of the highest levels of personal security in the world thanks to its strict laws, which even extend into the smallest of crimes – chewing gum was outlawed in 1992 in favour of public cleanliness and severe penalties still exist for everything from graffiti to jaywalking to spitting. While the general quality of living is high, living in Singapore falls on the more expensive side.
While the rigidity of the strict rules of Singapore might deter some of the more adventurous, it's the reason why city-state has been able to flourish to become the most open free market economy in the world today. One downside to Singapore is the higher cost of living. Expats can however opt for simple lifestyle changes like living more like the locals to save money in this highly developed country with world-class amenities.
Singapore benefits from some of the lowest crime rates in the world. Singapore's reputable economy is made up of several state-owned enterprises. Temasek, which is the country's sovereign wealth fund, holds a majority stake in the nation's biggest companies including Singapore Airlines, Singtel, MediaCorp and ST Engineering. Beyond this the economy is a major foreign direct investment outflow financier and also attracts inward flow FDI from international investors thanks to its highly stable free market
The 2019 "Global Peace Index" ranks Japan as the world's ninth safest country, and it has remained in the top 10 for 13 years thanks to its low crime, low civil unrest and political stability. While most tourists are fond of visiting Japan, living in the country long-term does come with some limitations.
Space and privacy are major disadvantages with 126 million people calling the country home and almost 14 million residing in the capital of Tokyo alone. Japan's immigration policy is also notoriously difficult for foreigners to navigate. To obtain permanent residency, people need to live in Japan consecutively for 10 years. Recent policy changes have made it slightly easier though with a point scoring system, but the country is still considered one of the most monocultural and insulated countries in the world. Another downside is the cost of living in Japan, which consistently ranks among the highest in the world.
As a highly developed free-market economy similar to Hong Kong and Singapore, Japan stands as the world's second largest developed economy. Its main sectors of economy include finance, services including airlines, a diverse industrial sector including automotive, mining, fishery and agriculture.
Switzerland is a hub for expats from all over the world and its central European location makes it ideal as a home base for exploring neighbouring countries while living in one of the world's top 10 safest countries.
There are both pros and cons to living in Switzerland. Positive aspects include the ease of finding a community to fit into, universal health care, proximity to other European countries and a bustling outdoor recreation scene including some of the best skiing conditions in the world. Education and ease of starting a business is also simple, even for expats; any foreigner can start a business if they can meet certain conditions, including establishing a local office and hiring a Swiss director. Some of the downsides include a slight bias towards foreigners and the very high cost of living, which rivals New York and London.
Switzerland's economy is renowned for boasting one of the most advanced free markets in the world. Making up a majority of this is its services, Swiss banking and tourism sectors. Another notable industry is its watch industry – Switzerland is the leading exporter of high-end watches and clocks around the world. Its industrial sector includes major companies such as Nestle and robot manufacturers such as ABB. Trade also plays a huge component of the economy with trading partners including Germany, US and China.