Many times when we are watching television, or looking on the Internet, we see some report that talks about life in another country. Sometimes the report is about how wonderful another country is, or how terrible another country is. We can see that there are both good and bad things all over the world. We also begin to compare our country with other countries around the world.
I am from Canada, and when I was a junior high school and high school student, I lived in Canada. I went to a Canadian school. I lived in a Canadian house. I ate Canadian food. I had Canadian friends. I listened to Canadian music and I watched Canadian television. At that time, Canada was the whole world, and I did not know anything about other countries.
But we get older and we read more books, and we meet more people. Now we have the Internet and we get information and data from everywhere. We can compare our lives more easily now than we could many years ago.
There is a global measurement for quality of life, and it is called the Quality of Life Index. On this index we can learn what countries are the best for education, what countries are the best for safety, and what countries are the best for the environment. I love to look at numbers for information and I want to share my research with you today.
In general, the best countries for the Quality of Life are countries like Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, and Australia. Canada is only number 18 and Japan is number 16. But that number is not completely clear. We need to look at more data.
If we look at the Safety Index, we see that Qatar is the world’s safest country. Japan is number 5 for safety. Canada is only number 40 in safety and America is 63. The most dangerous country in the world to live in is South Africa and Brazil is also very close. I think that we can all agree that safety is one of the most important things to think about for quality of life. If you are not safe, you do not have anything.
Another important index to look at is the Health Index. Here we can see that Japan is number 3 in the world. Taiwan is number 1 and South Korea is number 2. Asian countries have the best health care in the world, and Japan is in the top ranks. Canada is so-so at 24 and America is down at 31. The worst health care systems in the world are in Bangladesh and Morocco.
For Education Index we can see that Japan, Denmark, and Finland are in the top three. Japan is number three. In scientific and mathematics education, Japan and South Korea are very high, but Canada and America are quite low.
I like to look at these numbers and get information about what countries are doing in learning and education. But when we talk about the quality of life we know that we are not only talking about rankings and numbers. We also need to talk about human happiness and human connection to other people around us.
If we ask different kinds of questions, we might get different answers. For example, if we ask, “Are you happy at your school?” Or “Do you have someone you can talk to about your feelings?” Or “Do you feel safe and loved in your life?” These are questions that are very important about the quality of living.
Do you have friends? Are you a good friend to other people? Do you laugh often? Do you feel that your ideas and imagination are important? Are you free to read and think and write anything that you like?
If you have good answers to these questions, maybe your quality of life is quite good.
Can you get an education? Can you have clean water and clean air? Can you go anywhere you want to go? Can you choose your future job?
If you have good answers to these questions, maybe your quality of life will be good in the future too.
But the quality of our life is also connected to one more thing, and this is the feeling of understanding that our lives are good. If we know that our lives are good, and we can see that our lives will continue to be good, we also can have the feeling of gratefulness.
And maybe gratefulness for life is the best index to measure the quality of living.
Thank you very much and please have a wonderful spring vacation.