It may sound like a fantasy, packing in the grind of your daily 9 to 5 to live anywhere in the world, free of being restricted to any one location.
But that’s the reality for the increasing number of ‘digital nomads’, people who make their living by working online, while regularly moving from one place to another.
It sounds like an ideal lifestyle but there are a lot of practical considerations and some countries make for better digital nomad destinations than others.
So where are the best countries when it comes to important factors such as cost of living, happiness, broadband speeds and even the weather?
1. Canada – 68.77 out of 100
If you can get past the cold and a relatively high cost of living (especially in the main cities), Canada can be a great place for digital nomads.
Firstly, it ranks as one of the safest countries in the Global Peace Index, but it also has an impressive average broadband speed of 124.58 Mbps which is, of course, a massively important thing to consider when you’re working on the move.
The country also boasts a high happiness score (7.232 out of 10), travel and tourism score (5.1 out of 7) and is also known for being a very diverse and accepting country, with 21.3% of the population born outside of Canada.
2. United States – 65.87 out of 100
Just across the border, the United States came second in our ranking. A big reason for this was that the country achieved the highest startup score by far, scoring 44.09, compared to the UK in second, with 16.719.
This means that the States are a great place for new startups to thrive, providing digital nomads with an ideal ecosystem in which to succeed.
Other positive factors for the USA included a travel and tourism score of 5.3 out of 7 and broadband speeds of 134.77 Mbps.
3. Spain – 64.56 out of 100
The highest-scoring European nation was Spain, ideal if warm weather all year round is high on your list of priorities, with an average annual temperature of 15.6˚C and just 551mm of annual rainfall.
It’s also the country with the highest travel and tourism score (5.4 out of 7) and enjoys fast broadband speeds of 125.18 Mbps.
Spain also has a thriving expat community to make you feel welcome, with 13.1% of residents being foreign-born.
We looked at each OECD country (omitting Iceland and Luxembourg due to lack of reliable data) and compared them on the following ten factors, giving each country a normalised score out of 100 on each factor. We then took an average score out of 100 across all ten factors.
Average City Centre Rent
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in a city centre, according to Numbeo.
Cost of Living Index
According to WorldData.info which adjusts the cost of living in the USA to a score of 100, with all other countries being relative to this. So for example, a country with a score of 80 would have a cost of living 20% lower of that in the US.
Fixed Broadband Speed
The average download speed in Mbps according to the Speedtest Global Index for February 2020.
A score given by Startup Blink based on a country’s quantity and quality of startups and business environment of their startup ecosystem, according to their Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report 2019.
Happiness Score (/10)
Happiness score out of ten based on survey results according to the 2020 World Happiness Report.
The number of international migrants in each country according to the United Nations.
Travel & Tourism Score (/7)
A score out of seven according to the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, taking into account a broad range of indicators.
A score given by the Global Peace Index 2019 based on their level of peacefulness. Note that a lower score means a nation is more peaceful, while a higher one means that it is more dangerous.
Average Temperature and Rainfall
Both according to Weatherbase. Note that temperature is an average of all twelve months and has been converted from Fahrenheit, while rainfall is the sum of average precipitation for all twelve months and has been converted from inches.