Live Well, Age Well: Cities that Enhance Quality of Life for Retirees

The experience of growing older can vary massively depending on where you live - so we thought we should put our heads together to figure out the best places across the globe to live out your golden years!

Live Well, Age Well: Cities that Enhance Quality of Life for Retirees

The experience of growing older can vary massively depending on where you live - so we thought we should put our heads together to figure out the best places across the globe to live out your golden years!

5 male friends playing a game together in the sun

Ageing gracefully is a universal aspiration, but the experience of growing older can vary massively depending on where you live.

At ConfidenceClub a lot of our customers are in and around their golden years, so we thought we should put our heads together and figure out where are the best places across the globe to live out your years.  

To that end, we created a global index to rank each country (and city) for the quality of life it affords the elderly.

By examining a county’s old-age dependency ratio, emigration rates of those over 65, healthcare quality, safety levels, life expectancy, and life satisfaction (more on that later), we can estimate where seniors are more likely to enjoy a fulfilling, healthy, and secure life.

Or not… because as we all know, life is what you make it!

An older couple sitting at a table outside for lunch, with their pet dog

The Full Country Ranking

Each country was given a score out of a possible 10 for each category, then all six category scores were totalled to reach our final score out of 100.

Our analysis draws on data from reputable sources including the OECD, Numbeo, and the Global Data Lab.

To outline how each piece of data was gathered, we’ve provided an explainer below alongside who won in their respective categories - in case one factor is more important for you than any others

Elder Balance

Elder balance (otherwise known as the old-age dependency ratio) has been sourced from the OECD.

It is a measure that reflects the balance between the elderly population (aged 65 and over) and the working-age population (aged 15-64). This ratio is a crucial indicator of the economic and social pressures countries face as their populations age. A higher ratio suggests a greater burden on the working-age population to support the elderly, impacting everything from healthcare to pension systems.

Japan leads the world with an old-age dependency ratio of 55.4. This high ratio underscores the demographic challenges Japan faces as one of the fastest-ageing societies globally. The substantial proportion of elderly citizens compared to the working-age population strains Japan's social welfare systems and necessitates significant policy adjustments to support its ageing population.

On the lower end of the spectrum, countries like South Africa (10.3), Türkiye (14.2), and Mexico (14.2) have significantly lower old-age dependency ratios. These countries typically have younger populations, which can translate into a more dynamic workforce but also pose different challenges, such as ensuring sufficient employment opportunities and managing rapid population growth.

Understanding the old-age dependency ratio helps illuminate the demographic pressures each country faces and highlights the problems that ageing populations face if the ratio is too unbalanced. The average ratio across our data is 28.9, so for the likes of Japan to be almost double that shows how stark the problem is.


Emigration rates for the over 65s (data again gathered from the OECD and divided by population) reveal how many seniors are choosing to leave their country.

Ireland stands out with the highest emigration rate among the elderly at 4.97%. This significant figure suggests that many Irish seniors are seeking better opportunities or living conditions abroad. Factors such as family ties, healthcare options, and lifestyle preferences might be driving this trend.

Similarly, Lithuania has a high elderly emigration rate of 2.51%, indicating a considerable number of seniors moving out of the country, possibly due to economic reasons or to join younger family members who have emigrated earlier.

In contrast, Japan (who scored poorly in the previous category) has one of the lowest emigration rates among the elderly at 0.05%, reflecting the country's strong cultural ties to their elders and possibly better support systems for its ageing population.

Though Brazil wins this round with an extremely low elderly emigration rate of 0.01%, reflecting the country's diverse and accommodating living conditions for seniors.

Overall, the emigration trends among the elderly highlight a mix of economic, social, and personal factors that influence the decision to move abroad. Countries with higher emigration rates might need to address underlying issues to retain their senior population.


Healthcare quality is a crucial factor in determining the best places for the elderly to age gracefully, it ensures that seniors receive the necessary medical attention, preventive care, and treatments that contribute to their overall well-being and longevity.

South Korea leads the ranking with a score of 83.1, showcasing its advanced medical infrastructure and high standards of care. The country's healthcare system is well-equipped to handle the needs of an ageing population, with extensive coverage and state-of-the-art facilities.

European countries also feature prominently, with the Netherlands (79.5), Spain (79.1), and Finland (80.0) scoring high. These nations have well-established healthcare systems that provide comprehensive services to their elders, including preventive care, specialised treatments, and support for chronic conditions. Japan (79.6) and Austria (79.0) similarly offer top-tier healthcare services, ensuring their seniors have access to the best medical care.

At the lower end of the spectrum, countries such as Poland (52.0), and Hungary (52.1), and Ireland (54.1) face significant challenges in providing high-quality healthcare. Issues such as limited resources, inadequate infrastructure, and regional inequalities hinder the ability to offer comprehensive care to seniors.

Countries with higher healthcare scores are better positioned to support their ageing populations, providing the necessary medical services and care to ensure a healthy and dignified ageing process


When it comes to ageing gracefully, feeling safe and secure in your surroundings is absolutely essential. Safety isn't just about low crime rates, it's about creating an environment where seniors can enjoy their golden years with peace of mind. Let's take a friendly tour around the globe to see which countries are nailing it in the safety department.

Leading the pack is Slovenia (78.7) and Estonia (77.7), both countries boast low crime rates and a strong sense of community. Plus, who wouldn’t want to enjoy their retirement surrounded by the beautiful landscapes of these regions? Iceland (75.8) and Finland (75.4) are also fantastic choices, known for their serene environments and social stability.

Western countries like the United States (47.7) and the United Kingdom (50.0) sit somewhere in the middle. While generally safe, there are urban areas where crime rates are higher, so it's a mixed bag. France (42.4) and Italy (49.1) also show that even in well-loved destinations, safety can vary widely.

In the end, finding the best place to age gracefully means looking at more than just beautiful scenery and great healthcare. Safety plays a huge role in making sure that seniors can enjoy their lives to the fullest.

Life Expectancy

Life expectancy is a key indicator of a country's overall health and quality of life, particularly for the elderly. It reflects the effectiveness of healthcare systems, living conditions, and social stability.

Global Data Lab provides this information at a regional level, so we can see where you should live if you want to live forever… or at least, for a very long time.

Japan tops the chart with an impressive life expectancy of 84.78 years. This remarkable longevity is attributed to Japan's excellent healthcare system, healthy diet, and active lifestyle among its elderly population. Australia follows closely with a life expectancy of 84.53 years. Australia's robust healthcare services and high quality of life contribute to its seniors' long, healthy lives.

Switzerland (83.99 years) and South Korea (83.7 years) also boast high life expectancies. Switzerland's advanced healthcare and high standard of living ensure that its elderly population is well-cared for. South Korea's combination of excellent medical facilities and a diet rich in vegetables and fermented foods supports its seniors in living longer.

On the lower end, Brazil (72.75 years) and South Africa (62.34 years) face more challenges. Brazil struggles with disparities in healthcare access and quality, while South Africa's lower life expectancy is influenced by higher crime rates and healthcare issues.

Countries with higher life expectancies provide environments where seniors can enjoy their later years in good health and security, whether it's Japan's impressive longevity or the supportive healthcare systems in Europe.

Life Satisfaction

Living for the longest isn’t exactly fulfilling if you aren’t satisfied by life!

Finally, life expectancy and life satisfaction metrics from the Global Data Lab offer a glimpse into the overall well-being and happiness of the population.

Life satisfaction is a crucial factor in determining the overall well-being of the elderly. It reflects how content people are with their lives, considering factors like economic stability, social connections, and personal fulfilment. Here’s a look at how different countries fare in terms of life satisfaction for their seniors.

Finland leads the way with an outstanding life satisfaction score of 7.9. This high level of contentment is driven by Finland’s excellent social support systems, beautiful natural environment, and strong sense of community. Iceland follows closely with a score of 7.6, offering a high quality of life with its pristine landscapes and robust welfare system.

Denmark and Switzerland both score 7.5, reflecting their high standards of living, exceptional healthcare, and supportive social policies. The Netherlands also scores a 7.5, known for its progressive social policies and high quality of life.

Türkiye (4.9) and South Africa (4.9) have some of the lowest life satisfaction scores, indicating significant challenges in providing a high quality of life for their seniors.

In summary, life satisfaction among the elderly varies widely across the globe. Countries with strong social support systems, robust healthcare, and vibrant communities tend to score higher, providing their seniors with a fulfilling and contented life.

4 retiree friends sitting on the lounge together eating snacks and conversing

The Full City Ranking

If you’re interested, you can also see where the best cities to live across the world in your old age are:

We hope this study has been helpful for you, whether you're planning for your own future or considering the well-being of your loved ones. This index aims to serve as a valuable resource for understanding where offers the best level of care for our elders around the world.


Data was collected using the following sources:

In some cases, only city-level data or country-level data was available. In these situations, results were averaged to reach estimated figures.

Each category was given a score out of 10, for a total score of 60. This was then converted into a percentage to reach a score out of a possible 100.

Your Cart

Order Summary

Your cart is currently empty.

Continue shopping