I moved to the states over five years ago to pursue my graduate degree and for better career opportunities. Before this I was in Australia. Looks like I probably should have stayed where I was according to the latest OECD survey, which ranks Australia as the happiest industrialized nation based on criteria such as jobs, income and health. The US ranks as number 3. If you sort the nations by average household income (per the figure below) then the US comes in at number 1.
The OECD survey—which rates its 34 member countries on categories like housing, jobs, education, health, environment and work-life balance—shies away from explicitly giving any one nation an overall top ranking, but if each of the 11 categories is given equal weight, Australia’s cumulative rank rises to No. 1, according to the OECD website. It is followed closely by Norway and the U.S
I go back to Australia every year and while I do agree it is a great place to live, it still has its challenges and thanks to the China-India resource boom has become a very expensive place to be. The cost of living and real estate in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne are comparable with New york, Tokyo and London. Even the Aussie dollar, which at one stage was about 30% weaker than the US dollar, is now around parity making it expensive for tourists and new immigrants. But, as one local resident said, “Australia’s environment is clean, there’s no pollution, there’s no war, there’s law, there’s order. You don’t find that in all places.” You can’t beat that mate!