Where to Live

Overseas Property

Wondering where to live abroad?

If you’ve ever considered moving from Ireland then the latest uSwitch Quality of Life Index may offer some pointers about where you could consider as an alternative place to call home. Let’s be honest, who hasn’t thought about ‘the big switch’ occasionally in these downbeat days?  This survey has ascertained that Ireland is the worst place to live in Europe, possibly confirming what many of us suspected for a quite a while. It goes on to postulate that France and Spain may well be the best places in which to live. It can’t be simple economics because Spain is pretty much as bankrupt as we are – but it does have good weather. It should be noted that, unlike many UK based surveys, this one categorises Ireland separately. The survey was conducted by Research Insight in August of this year.

It averages scores for a range of items including household income after taxes, average working hours per week, hours of sunshine per year, retirement age, number of day’s holiday per year, fuel/electricity/food/alcohol/cigarette prices along with education and health spending as a percentage of GDP. It compares results from, and then ranks, ten EU countries – France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, the UK and Ireland.

If you’re looking to experience relative bliss then France appears to enjoy some advantages with the earliest retirement age (shared with Poland), largest healthcare spend at 11% of GDP and the longest life expectancy. Its workers also enjoy 36 days holiday a year compared with our 32.

Spain is rated second of the group with, as you might expect, the most sunshine of the countries surveyed. It also has the lowest prices for alcohol, most holidays at 43 days per year and spends the least on education. It seems to work for them.

Ireland came out a miserable 10th out of the 10 countries in the index. This appearance at the bottom of the pile is all the more incredible when you consider that the average Irish net household income is, by a margin of over £3,500, the highest of all ten countries surveyed at £44,955 (it is a UK survey). The lowest is Poland at £7,986, almost six times lower than our own – and we wonder why all our manufacturing industries are migrating there.

We pay the highest prices for gas, electricity, cigarettes and alcohol – yes, alcohol is 25% more expensive in Ireland than it is in Sweden. On the plus side our food prices are actually the lowest in the group, which doesn’t appear to add to our attractiveness in any way. Despite protestations to the contrary, we spend less than any other country surveyed on health. Most importantly, and least surprisingly, we have the least sunshine of any European country, some 30% below the European average. To add insult to injury we have the shortest life expectancy in Europe after the Polish so, not alone are we miserable, we have less time in which to wallow in it.

To see the survey results in detail visit www.uSwitch.com.

About diarmaidcondonadmin

Diarmaid Condon is Ireland's foremost Independent Overseas Property Consultant and Journalist. He has been in the industry since 1995 and, in that time, has been a strong advocate for improved legal protection in the sector.

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