Quality of life in Helsinki vs quality of life elsewhere. One of the most curious facts about world economics is that countries that boast an elevated Per Capita income do not necessarily provide a high quality of life for its citizens.
Economic growth and the quality of life
You see, when measuring social progress, it is necessary to consider other factors that deal with basic human needs and the fundamentals of happiness and well-being. In other words, economic growth is not enough to improve the living conditions of society. See the article Economic growth and the quality of life.
So, if money does not necessarily equate quality living, then what does?
Factors that improve the quality of life
Quality of life is measured, in essence, in all of the things that improve an individual’s and a society’s as a whole, well-being, comfort, safety, and happiness.
These factors could be represented by public services, infrastructure, political policies, as well as cultural and social tendencies.
Helsinki, Finland is one of such place.
Quality of life in Helsinki vs quality of life elsewhere
Modern Finland is a beautiful city that neighbors with Sweden and Norway, and it’s capital city, Helsinki, is, in my opinion, the best city to live on earth.
What makes Helsinki have such a high quality of life, especially when compared to other major cities in the world? Let’s examine the following aspects of life that are often used to measure “quality of life.” Although there are other indicators, but for the purpose of this article, I will limit it to five.
For one, Helsinki is a city with a quality of education like no other. Education is entirely free for all of its citizens, and some of the best universities in Europe are found here. Finnish universities ranked among the best in the world.
The education system of Helsinki is so good that close to 90% of the adult population has a university degree. Additionally, Helsinki’s education system is surprisingly friendly to immigrants, with excellent multi-language schools throughout the city.
So how does having access to quality education add value to the quality of life? Well, according to a research study conducted in OECD countries, people who are better educated tend to live longer and have better lifestyles. Education can empower not just a person but an entire nation, thus improving the quality of life.
The unemployment rate in Helsinki is low and comparable with other countries in the region. However, only 4% of the city’s population works long hours. To put that in perspective, a study published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports that in other countries, on average, 11% of the population is overworked.
How does that affect the quality of life? See the article: Why overworking is bad for your health? In a nutshell, overworking can affect your overall wellbeing, which in turn affects your quality of life.
On the public health front, health services are provided by health stations, dental clinics, fertility centers, children clinics, and hospitals. All free of cost for residents of the Helsinki city. In Finland, free services do not equate subpar quality. The best medical professionals are available in the country and accessible to all and sundry.
In other countries, accessibility to healthcare isn’t free and can break the bank. In the United States, for example, low-income earners cannot afford quality healthcare systems due to health care inequality in America.
How does accessibility to healthcare affect the quality of life? I bet you know the answer to that. For the record, Finland’s life expectancy is high.
4. Social welfare
Another sign that Helsinki has an outstanding quality of life is the fact that the Finnish government guarantees a decent living for all residents of Finland, through a comprehensive and advanced social welfare system established to assist residents in the time of need, i.e. unemployment benefits, low-income assistance, housing benefits, just to mention a few. Furthermore, 95% of the population believes they can count on their neighbors in times of need — that’s an astounding number.
How does this affect the quality of life? The only logical answer to that is “redistribution of wealth” — whereby tax revenue is used to fund social benefit programs such as housing, unemployment, etc. In other words, in situations whereby you can’t afford to pay your rent due to job loss, the social benefits program will assist you in paying your rent, and other living expenses.
We can only attribute all of these to a community that is happy, healthy, and content.
5. Safety and security
Finally, few big cities are as safe as Helsinki. Crime rates are meager when compared to the major capitals of Europe. For example, the murder rate in Helsinki sits around 1.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. To put that in perspective, the highest murder rate in the world is well above 60 per 100,000 inhabitants. Last year there were fewer than 100 murders in the entire country. The reason why I chose Helsinki as my home.
How does this affect the quality of life? If you don’t feel safe from physical and emotional harm, or you are constantly living in fear or danger, this could affect your overall wellbeing and thus, affect your quality of life.
From the above-discussed points regarding the quality of life in Helsinki vs quality of life elsewhere, we now have enough information to conclude that the quality of life in Helsinki is high as opposed to other parts of the world.