According to data from the OECD, Australia is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. As far as western countries are concerned, we are only slightly outpaced by New Zealand, Luxembourg and Iceland. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a large proportion of Australia’s population growth came from immigration. The 2016 census tells us that one-third of our population weren’t born here and less than half of us were born to two Australian-born parents… so why Australia of all places?
As you might remember from school, 70 percent of the Australian mainland is classified as arid or semi-arid. Nevertheless, Australia is a noteworthy place to live when it comes to the weather, with most of us living in a temperate climate. In fact, even former prime minister Julia Gillard migrated to Australia for this reason—her Welsh parents being advised to do so in order to mitigate her bronchopneumonia. That’s right, centuries later the Brits are still sailing over here to govern us!
You might not want to agree, but our political landscape is in a whole lot better shape than most places. Despite the fact we recently saw five changes of prime minister in eight years, each leadership challenge was perfectly within the mandates of our constitutional monarchy and caused zero actual harm to the population. Even among other liberal democracies, Australia ranks well on measures such as political polarisation.
Equality of opportunity
Among advanced economies, Australia is one of the biggest spenders on primary education as a share of GDP. In addition, our healthcare system facilitates one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Of course, equality of opportunity doesn’t mean that everyone gets the same things. We still have private schooling and private health cover (and the opportunity to invest in property to fund our retirements). However, it does means that compared to most other countries, you’re given a better shot at achieving your potential. You’ll certainly have some competition though. After all, social psychologist Geert Hofstede classified Australia as one of the most individualist cultures in the world.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual global liveability index is no stranger to the Blue Wealth research team. Particularly for the record number of years Melbourne took the top spot. But aside from Melbourne, our other cities are performing resoundingly well. The EIU’s most recent release has Sydney ranking 3rd, Adelaide ranking 10th and Perth not far behind. Combined, Australian cities are performing better than anywhere else in the world.
Each year, the Institute for Economics and Peace releases a global peace index, ranking 163 countries on their level of peacefulness. Measures include the level of societal safety and security; ongoing domestic and international conflict; and the degree of militarisation. Iceland has topped the list every year since 2008, accompanied by other European countries, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore and Japan. Australia ranks 4th in the Asia-Pacific and 13th in the world. Australia’s unusual place behind a number of countries on this index is purportedly attributed to our upscaling of weapons imports—likely caused by the change in force posture of the Australian Defence Force as a result of, ahem, regional tensions.
The natural environment
Although we are one of the most urbanised countries in the world (meaning the majority of our population live in major cities), our vast landmass means we have low population density. Combined, this allows us to protect our natural environment. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Australia alone accounts for 3.3 percent of global forest area (ranking sixth in the world). From every major city, Australians and our visitors are able to conveniently visit national parks and take in our world-famous indigenous flora and fauna. No doubt our natural environment partially contributes to Australians and New Zealanders being among the world’s least likely to die as a result of air pollution. Nevertheless, we could improve on our level of fossil fuel consumption. The average greenhouse gas emissions per person in Australia is triple the UK figure.