SOURCE: The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group

September 05, 2013 00:01 ET

Consumers in Ten Countries Rank the U.S. as a Top Place to Live

In a Worldwide Survey of Nearly 28,000 Consumers by The Boston Consulting Group, Nonresidents Rank the U.S. Third Behind Australia and Canada as a Best Place to Live; Key Reasons Are Economic Opportunity, Education, and Cost of Living

DALLAS, TX--(Marketwired - Sep 5, 2013) - Despite modest economic growth since the Great Recession, the United States still ranks as one of the most desirable places to live among nonresidents in ten countries surveyed, according to new research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

BCG's Center for Consumer and Customer Insight recently surveyed nearly 28,000 residents in 11 countries (including the U.S.), asking them to nominate the best countries in which to live. A third of global respondents (34 percent) picked Australia as a top choice (excluding their home country), followed by Canada (27 percent) and the U.S. (24 percent). Switzerland netted the fourth-highest number of responses from nonresidents (21 percent).

Nonresidents cited economic opportunity/material well-being, quality education, and cost of living as key reasons for wanting to live in the U.S.

The countries surveyed were the U.S., Canada, Germany, the U.K., France, Spain, Italy, Japan, Australia, Brazil, and India.

Respondents within the U.S. placed a much higher importance on the country's political freedom (51 percent versus 13 percent for nonresidents), cultural and religious relative tolerance (30 percent versus 15 percent for nonresidents), and quality health care (20 percent versus 11 percent).

Interestingly, U.S. residents placed a somewhat lower emphasis on economic opportunity (32 percent versus 53 percent for nonresidents), cost of living (11 percent versus 26 percent), and quality education (26 percent versus 33 percent).

"It's revealing that nonresidents feel more positive about the economic opportunities in the U.S. than residents," said Christine Barton, a Dallas-based BCG partner who oversaw the research. "Clearly, the weakness of the U.S. recovery since the Great Recession is affecting Americans' attitudes. It's important to remember that Americans are among the most optimistic globally about the future, as well as about personal earning potential."

The results are part of a wide-ranging survey of global consumer sentiment that BCG conducts regularly. Additional findings from the survey, which also included consumers in eight African countries, will be released in October 2013.

It should perhaps come as no surprise that U.S. respondents selected English-speaking countries as their favorite places to live. Residents ranked the U.S. as their first choice (81 percent), followed by their northern neighbor Canada (38 percent), Australia (35 percent), and the U.K. (20 percent).

Americans -- like residents of Australia, Canada, and Japan -- reported the most desire to live in their home countries. By comparison, in some Southern European countries hard hit by recession, instability, and uncertainty, the minority ranked their home country a top place to live.

The U.S. was also the most popular place to live among respondents in the rapidly developing economies of Brazil and India.

U.S. baby boomers and the generation above showed a strong preference for living in the U.S. Millennials in the U.S. reflect a different attitude, ranking European countries such as the U.K., Italy, France, and Japan much higher than did their elders.

"This is not surprising," explained Barton, who also oversees BCG's research on Millennials. "The U.S. Millennial generation is more diverse than preceding generations, with the most interest in overseas travel, international luxury, and taste-making. Some sectors -- such as restaurants, apparel, and hotels -- are already adjusting to unique Millennial habits and preferences. Other sectors have yet to fully experience the profound impact these consumers will have on companies."

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Alexandra Corriveau at +1 212 446 3261 or corriveau.alexandra@bcg.com.

About The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 78 offices in 43 countries. For more information, please visit bcg.com.

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About BCG's Center for Consumer and Customer Insight

The Boston Consulting Group's Center for Consumer and Customer Insight (CCCI) applies a unique, integrated approach that combines quantitative and qualitative consumer research with a deep understanding of business strategy and competitive dynamics. The center works closely with BCG's various practices to translate its insights into actionable strategies that lead to tangible economic impact for our clients. In the course of its work, the center has amassed a rich set of proprietary data on consumers from around the world, in both emerging and developed markets. The CCCI is sponsored by BCG's Marketing & Sales and Global Advantage practices. For more information, please visit here.

Contact Information

  • The Boston Consulting Group
    Alexandra Corriveau
    Media Relations Manager, The Americas

    Tel. +1 212 446 3261
    Fax +1 212 446 2801
    corriveau.alexandra@bcg.com