Jacob Stiles

Aug 14, 2023

Living abroad can be an exciting adventure. There’s a wide range of factors that will impact your decision on where to go if you decide to take the leap. But what are the top locations for single women?

Single women may want to place more emphasis on factors such as safety and may also wish to consider a nation’s history of discrimination and gender inequality. When looking to apply for a home loan overseas, looking at the average wage gap in that nation may provide an insight into the kind of employment and economic opportunities presented to you compared to male applicants.

As experts in comparison and home loans, we wanted to find out where Australia ranks in terms of single women’s liveability. To this end, we built an index, collected data across seven different metrics and ranked 35 countries to determine what nations are the best and worst for single women’s liveability.

1. Iceland


2. Denmark


3. Slovenia


1. Iceland – 7.03/10

Iceland takes the top spot on our list, with a liveability score of 7.03/10. This beautiful, island nation performs extremely well across most categories, however there are still a few caveats that prevent it from scoring even better overall. Unfortunately, Iceland performs below average in terms of its wage gap with a difference in median pay of 12.9% between men and women. Additionally, Iceland performs very poorly in terms of cost of living, ranking second to last overall in this category with a monthly cost (before rent) of AU$1,762.98. On the other hand, the major stand out metrics for Iceland were a first place ranking for attractions per 100,000 people, as well as ranking third for happiness and average wage and fourth for safety, helping it rise to the top of our list!

2. Denmark – 6.73/10

The second-best nation on our list for single women is Denmark. Of all the countries we looked at, Danish people are the second happiest (only after Finland), with a happiness score of 7.59/10. Denmark also received very high scores for the gender wage gap, average wage, and the safety ranking. Denmark’s score was most lowered by poor rankings in monthly cost of living and a relatively high average mortgage credit income rate.

3. Slovenia – 6.69/10

Coming in at third place, the central European nation of Slovenia received an average liveability score of 6.69 out of 10. Slovenia ranks mid to high across most categories, with especially high rankings in safety (75.8), attractions per 100,000 people (160.3) and a decently low wage gap (8.19%). The metric holding Slovenia back the most is its low-middle happiness score of only 6.69 out of 10 and a middle-of-the road average wage.

1. Mexico


2. Republic of Korea


3. Latvia


1. Mexico – 2.77/10

The worst nation on our list for single women looking to relocate is Mexico, with an average liveability score of just 2.77/10.  Mexico actually scored second best in the cost-of-living category, however was brought down by receiving the lowest score in both the average wage and attractions per 100,000 people categories, as well as the second worst score for safety – only 45.6 out of 100.

2. Republic of Korea – 2.78/10

The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is the second lowest scoring nation on our list. The country has an average liveability score of 2.78/10. Although South Korea scored relatively well in the safety category with a score of 74.5 (out of 100), the Asian nation was brought down by a combination of very low happiness and attractions scores, as well as the having worst wage gap on our list.

3. Latvia – 3.09/10

The third worst country on our list for single women looking to relocate is Latvia. The Baltic nation has an average liveability score of just 3.09 out of 10, and scores relatively poorly in most of the seven categories. Latvia suffers from a high wage gap and mortgage credit interest coupled with a low average wage and an overall low happiness score. Latvia’s highest score was in monthly cost of living, where it received a score of 7.06 (putting it in 11th place for that category).

Single women’s liveability around the world

RankCountrySafety indexMontly cost of living (AUD)Average wage (AUD)Attractions per 100,000 peopleHappiness scoreMortgage credit interest rateWage GapLiveability score
17New Zealand54.20$1,439.43$70,465.92170.287.127.14%6.67%5.08
22Slovak Republic68.60$1,028.57$37,207.7162.586.473.68%11.70%4.52
27United Kingdom53.10$1,363.83$74,970.31128.176.804.57%14.35%4.17
30United States51.00$1,610.58$112,108.9077.966.896.07%16.86%3.48
34Republic of Korea74.50$1,516.38$64,121.8820.115.954.40%31.06%2.78

The safest country

Japan – 76.9/100

The safest nation on our list, Japan, received a score of 76.9. In contrast, the lowest-scoring nation on our list was France, with a safety score of only 44.7. Switzerland, Slovenia and Iceland are also great places to consider if safety is your primary concern.

The cheapest cost of living (before rent) country

Republic of Türkiye – AU$641.86/month

Of the countries we ranked, the Republic of Türkiye reported the cheapest cost of living. In Türkiye, the average living cost per month for a single person is estimated to be just AU$641.86 (US$427.90) before rent. This is less than one third the cost of the most expensive nation on our list – Switzerland – which has an estimated monthly living cost of AU$2429.00 (US$1619.30). It is important to note that while Türkiye has the cheapest cost of living on our list, it also has a relatively low average wage  of AU$48,724.93 (US$32,482.67), the highest mortgage credit interest rate (17.79%) and suffered from inflation rates above 40% as recently as April this year.1

Highest average wage

United States of America – AU$112,108.90

The United States of America topped the charts when it came to the average wage, with workers in the nation earning AU$112,108.90 (US$74,737.85) on average. Despite this, the USA scored quite low in the cost-of-living rankings (AU$1610.58 / US$1073.70), as well as having a high mortgage credit interest rate (6.07%), meaning that wages may be stretched a little tighter here than in other nations. The USA also has a wide wage gap, with men being paid almost 17% more than women on average according to OECD data, meaning that career conscious women looking to relocate might be better off looking elsewhere.

Most attractions per 100,000 people

Iceland – 610.47

For those looking to keep entertained, the scenic and beautiful nation of Iceland tops our ranking of nations by attractions per 100,000 people. From gorgeous natural vistas, glacier hikes and geothermal pools to stunning architecture, adventure and food tours, there is no shortage of things to keep you busy while enjoying everything this island nation has to offer.

Happiest country

Finland – 7.8/10

If you want to join the ranks of the happiest population on our list, Finland is the place to be! The Scandinavian nation scored the highest of all the countries we looked at in the most recent World Happiness Report, with a score of 7.8/10. Finland also scored decently across the board – except for a relatively high wage gap (around 16%) – making it a fairly attractive place to live (so long as you don’t mind the cold)!

Country with the best mortgage credit interest rate

The Netherlands – 2.4%

If you are looking to buy a house, one factor you may want to consider is the average mortgage interest rate offered in the country of your choice. In this regard, The Netherlands tops our charts with an average mortgage credit interest rate of just 2.4% according to the latest available data. Closely behind The Netherlands is Luxembourg and Belgium, with average rates of 2.42% and 2.43% respectively. As previously mentioned, the Republic of Türkiye had the highest average mortgage credit interest rate on our index at an eye watering 17.79%.

Country with the lowest wage gap

Belgium – 1.17%

The gender wage gap is a measure of the percentage difference in median pay between men and women, relative to men. It is a useful metric to help understand economic inequality (but not necessarily discrimination)2 and career progression, and assess whether or not women have equal access to workplace opportunities. Of the nations we looked at, Belgium has the lowest wage gap at only 1.17%. In contrast, the Republic of Korea – the worst for wage gaps on our list – has a reported wage gap of 31.06%.

How does Australia compare?

The land down under unfortunately under performs on our list, with an average liveability score of 4.75 – putting it in 20th place overall. Australia ranks near the bottom for both cost of living and average mortgage credit interest rate, and scores below average for safety. The other categories scored above average, but not higher than 10th place in any one category, keeping Australia low in the rankings overall.

Regardless of where you choose to live, buying a home could be the largest purchase you ever make. Compare the Market’s General Manager of Money Stephen Zeller said comparing the options in your chosen country can help you make more informed financial decisions.

“Just like choosing which country to live in, choosing the right home loan can be a complex and daunting task, with many different factors to consider.

“Whether you are taking out your very first home loan or refinancing, it is important to shop around to find a plan that works well for you,” Zeller explained.

“Home loans are not a one-size-fits-all product and offers will change over time. It is a good idea to regularly compare your options to see if there is one that is more suitable for your situation at the time.”

If you do decide to take out a home loan in Australia, Compare the Market’s free home loan comparison tool can help you look for an option that is suitable for your circumstances.


Each country was given a normalised score out of 10 for each metric, and then the average score across all metrics was calculated to assign the final value. For countries where some datapoints were not available, the liveability score was calculated excluding those metrics. These missing values are indicated in the data table as N/A.

Data table sources:

  • Safety index data was sourced from Numbeo, and is accurate as of 07/06/23
  • Cost of living data was sourced from Numbeo, and is accurate of 08/06/23
  • Average wage data was sourced from OECD.stat on 07/06/23. The data is accurate as of 2021, and where 2021 data wasn’t available (for the Republic of Türkiye only), 2020 data was used
  • Attractions data was sourced from Tripadvisor, from each country’s “things to do” page, and is accurate as of 07/06/23
  • Population data was sourced from the CIA World Factbook, and is listed as 2023 data.
  • World happiness scores were sourced from the World Happiness Report 2023, from “data for figure 2.1” sheet. The most recent available data as of 07/06/23 was used for each nation.
  • Mortgage credit interest rate data was sourced from theglobaleconomy.com. The latest available data as of 16/06/23 was used for each nation.
  • Wage gap data was sourced from OECD Data. Latest available data as of 16/06/23 was used for each nation. Only data under the “employee” field was used, “self employee” data was excluded.

Additional sources: