Happy Nations #12: Australia

Here is how Australia compares to the United States in each of the six factors for Happiness:

  • GDP: 1.900 v 1.982
  • Social Support: 1.203 v 1.182
  • Healthy Life Expectancy: 0.772 v 0.628
  • Freedom to Make Life Choices: 0.676 v 0.574
  • Generosity: 0.258 v 0.220
  • Perceptions of Corruption: 0.341 v 0.177

Australia matches up very similarly to America, with less corruption.

Other Scoring Systems

Australia is consistently better than the United States. It is not a perfect country, but it does have an edge everywhere besides business.

Health Care

Medicare has been Australia’s universal health care scheme since 1984.

Medicare covers all of the cost of public hospital services. It also covers some or all of the costs of other health services. These can include services provided by GPs and medical specialists. They can also include physiotherapy, community nurses, and essential dental services for children.

Individuals may purchase health insurance to cover services offered in the private sector and other fund health care.

2.2% of income pays for Medicare.

The system appears to be loved by most Australians, and anything that is not free comes at a significantly lower cost than what Americans see.


Being an entire continent means there are a lot of different locations where one could live. I will immediately remove the northeastern city of Cairns as it has a massive wet season between December and March and frequent muggy conditions.

Perth is Australia’s fourth largest city, but being on the West Coast makes it even more isolated than the eastern coast of Australia.

Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are the three largest cities in Australia, all along the east coast. They are relatively similar, Brisbane being warmer and wetter, Melbourne being cooler and drier, and Sydney being in-between.

Sydney is the early champion of best climate, with Melbourne as a close second.

Cost of Living

Australia is similar to the United States. Rent is lower, and purchasing power is higher. However, groceries are slightly more expensive.

However, comparing Saint Louis, MO, to Sydney, we see it will cost 23.3% more to live in Sydney. Housing could be up 50% higher there.


English is the only language spoken in the home for close to 73% of the population. There is no official language, but when we visited Australia a decade ago, the people spoke English everywhere.

They liked our accents.

Acceptance of Others

In 2019, a Lowy Institute poll found that 49% of Australia say that ‘the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year ‘s too high.’

Even though 29% of the country is foreign-born, Australia is significantly less diverse than The United States.

However, data shows Australia is one of the most tolerant countries. In 2010, it was behind only Canada in tolerance of minorities.

  • 85% of Australians think it is a good place to live for immigrants from other countries.
  • 84% of Australians think it is a good place to live for ethnic and racial minorities.
  • 78% of Australians think it is a good place for gay and lesbian people.

Moving Feasibility

Australia has several different Visa options. Unfortunately, there’s an equal number of repealed Visas. Most notably, the Investor Retirement Visa, which closed in 2018.

Honestly, it was a bit of a struggle to find clear paths to be eligible to become permanent Australians.


We have spent time in Australia and loved it there. The weather is excellent, and it appears to be a slightly better version of America. Unfortunately, it is quite a distance from the United States, but it will take a lot more effort to find out if we would even qualify to move.

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