The 10 most environmentally friendly countries in the world, according to expats

  • The onslaught of wildfires in California serves as a wake up call for many Americans when it comes to climate change, with some people deciding to permanently leave the state.
  • More people could relocate in the coming years due to climate change, an investigation by ProPublica reveals.
  • Most climate-related moves and displacement happens within a country, but moving abroad is also a possibility.
  • Which country are expats happiest in, when it comes to the overall environment, as well as environmental policy? InterNations, a resource website for expats, interviewed some 15,000 people who left their country of birth to find out.
  • The top countries are Finland, Sweden, and Norway.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The massive wildfires tearing through the Pacific Northwest — and the resulting air pollution that is so thick it's spread across the entire US — is a climate change wakeup call for millions of Americans. 

For some Californians, the wildfires are enough for them to exit the state. It's a glimpse of what economists, scientists, and insurance professionals alike say could be in our future: climate change migration, according to an investigation by ProPublica. 

While the United Nations says most climate-related displacement is within a country's borders, some, especially the affluent, may consider moving to another country for bluer skies and cleaner air. 

InterNations, a resource website for expats, surveyed some 15,000 people who chose to leave their country of birth. Analysts asked them to rate their new home country on a variety of environmental factors, including their perception of the air quality, how strongly they think the government is tackling climate change, and rating local recycling and waste management efforts. Each factor was weighted and then countries were given an overall ranking. 

The US ranked 30th out of the 60 countries where people were surveyed, coming just behind Bahrain and before Panama. The low ranking was mainly because expats think the federal government does not care enough about climate change. 

These are the top 10 most eco-conscious countries, according to expats.

10. Luxembourg

View the overall natural environment positively: 92%

Are happy with the air quality: 78% 

9. Canada

View the overall natural environment positively: 96% 

Think the Canadian population is interested in environmental issues: 71% 

8. Germany

View the overall natural environment positively: 90%

Are happy with the availability of environmentally friendly goods and services: 86%

7. New Zealand

View the overall natural environment positively: 96%

Agree the government takes climate change seriously: 85%

6. Denmark

View the overall natural environment positively: 87%

Are happy with the quality of country's water and sanitation services: 93% 

5. Switzerland

View the country's natural environment positively: 83%

Are happy with the air quality: 91% 

4. Austria

View the country's natural environment positively: 97%

Are happy with the country's waste management and recycling efforts: 91% 

3. Norway

View the overall natural environment positively: 93%

Agree the government takes climate change seriously: 89% 

2. Sweden

View the overall natural environment positively: 95%

Are happy with the availability of environmentally friendly goods and services: 88%

1. Finland

View the overall natural environment positively: 98%

Are happy with the air quality: 95%

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