Number 1, again
It didn’t surprise us to see a headline that read, “French Nationality Ranked No. 1 Globally for 8th Year” with the story continuing that for the eighth consecutive year France was at the top of a worldwide nationality list. We knew that with 90 million annual international visitors the country had more tourists than any other. After all, it’s hard to beat attractions including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, and even both of our own UNESCO World Heritage Sites— the medieval walled city of Carcassonne and the Canal-du-Midi—all in one landmass area about the size of Texas. So, we were pleased to see this continuing recognition but we didn’t know what it meant. What is the Quality of Nationality Index (QNI)?
The QNI is a comparison of a number of factors relating to the rights of the holder of a particular passport. In fact, it’s that travel document alone, without the need for a visa, that helped put France at the top. Complementary with that is the ease with which someone can live and/or work abroad. Also judged were the strength of a country’s economy, general peace and stability, and the opportunities offered to residents to develop their own talents and businesses. For comparison purposes only (no country bashing, please) the US came in at position 25 and at the bottom spot of 159 was Somalia.
While the QNI is especially important for businesses and entrepreneurs, as everyday residents, Bill and I are more affected by other lists that put France at or near the top. A perfect score of 10 in the Cultural Influence category in a US News and World Report study says that the French are “prestigious, fashionable, and trendy”. When that filters down to us it means that we enjoy delicious fresh food and wine at great prices.
Another survey asked ex-patriots what had improved about their lives since moving here. Among the items cited were a great work/life balance (we’re retired but it means we get to see a lot of our friends and neighbors), friendly people, reasonably-priced housing, affordable healthcare, nice weather, beautiful and varied landscapes, a rich history…on and on. We agree 100 percent.
Publication schedule change: We’re moving to a twice-a-month publication schedule, filling in with extra posts as the topics arise. See you in two weeks!