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Happy Nations #4: Switzerland

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

  • GDP: 2.026 v 1.982
  • Social Support: 1.226 v 1.182
  • Healthy Life Expectancy: 0.822 v 0.628
  • Freedom to Make Life Choices: 0.677 v 0.574
  • Generosity: 0.147 v 0.220
  • Perceptions of Corruption: 0.461 v 0.177

The Swiss are apparently not very generous with their delicious chocolate.

Other Scoring Systems

They are #1 in two different indices and have strong showings everywhere else. I’m curious about what makes Switzerland so grand when it doesn’t even have a coastline.

Health Care

Switzerland is #1 in Health Care Quality and Overall. #23 in Health Care Security Index.

Over 90% of the Swiss report their health care as good or better.

Healthcare in Switzerland is universal and is regulated by the Swiss Federal Law on Health Insurance. There are no free state-provided health services, but private health insurance is compulsory for everyone in Switzerland.

The annual deductible is between ~$200 and a maximum out-of-pocket of ~$2000.

Climate

The capital of Switzerland is Bern; it is only the fourth largest city in the nation. Zurich is over twice the size.

The country is small, with Genève only about 3 degrees warmer than Zurich. It has mild weather, only a little snow, and no heavy winds.

Cost of Living

Switzerland is prohibitively more expensive to live in than the United States.

Comparing Saint Louis, MO, to Zurich, we see it will cost 70% more to live in Zurich.

This data requires further research, but at first blush, it seems ridiculous to move to a German-speaking landlocked country in Europe and quickly lose our money.

Language

The four national languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian, and Romansh. The most widely spoken language in Switzerland is “Swiss German.” Spoken by just over 60 percent of the population

Switzerland is only 25th in English proficiency, and this could be the most challenging country yet to make it as an English speaker.

Acceptance of Others

Switzerland is in 3rd place in the OECD regarding the share of immigrants in its population, with foreign-born accounting for 26% of the total population.

The Swiss also show a positive attitude towards LGBT+ and their rights.

Switzerland is more diverse than The United States.

Switzerland is very low on “ease of settling in.” For example, 28% of ex-pats don’t feel at home in the local culture (vs. 20% globally), and another 28% find it challenging to get used to (vs. 18% globally).

Moving Feasibility

If you want to stay in Switzerland for more than 90 days, you must visit different locations based on your state. For example, people in Illinois would need to visit the embassy in Washington, D.C.

Switzerland is not part of the EU but allows easier migration with 26 other European countries. It appears challenging to move from a third-member country like America, but finding out exactly what would make immigration easier was tough.

Conclusion

I don’t have any ties to Switzerland, and although it ranks highly in many categories, nothing specifically would make me choose it over any of the other top nations.

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