Is healthcare beneficial to happiness?

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With health such a top priority for many expats, we began to wonder why. Does good healthcare really affect our happiness and is it beneficial for a good quality of life? InterNations, an informative site all about expat life, recently conducted a study of the best and worst places for expats. The site set out to ask over 14,000 expats all about their lives in their adopted homes. Using information from three of their infographics, is it possible to find a correlation between happiness and health?

Quality of Life Index 2016

Expats move for many different reasons and come from a variety of different backgrounds – meaning what is important to one expat may not be to another. When discussing quality of life, some expats may see the importance of a good healthcare system, but others may view education, personal relationships, or climate as more important factors.

Living the Good Life Abroad? — infographic

Is good healthcare necessary?

Many expats will never have to receive medical treatment, and will rely on private insurance on the off-chance they do, meaning that good public medical care isn’t something they look for when moving abroad. If a person suffers from recurring health problems and relies a lot on the healthcare system, then a country with a good standard of healthcare would improve their overall quality of life. But if healthcare isn’t an important factor in a person’s happiness, they may favour good education or proximity to family instead.

Top Expat Destinations 2016 — infographic

The Top Expat Destinations infographic barely includes any reference at all to the country’s featured in the other lists. This could indicate that an expat’s health doesn’t directly correlate with their enjoyment of a country, with the only place appearing in all three lists being Taiwan.

However, these things should not be generalised. Expat enjoyment is a very personal thing, and what improves the quality of life for one expat may not improve an other’s. Taiwan, for example, may be both a popular country and home to good healthcare – but this does not mean that all expats in Taiwan were attracted there for that reason, with many other factors offering a good quality of life.

Overall, the data seems to show that although health and enjoyment are not linked, there is repetition among the countries with poor healthcare and a lack of enjoyment. Whether this is due solely to the general lack of well-being, or if there are other factors at play, is uncertain.