Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Congrats, Malta!

What better way to procrastinate studying for exams than by blogging? I could think of many other ways... including reorganizing my closet, freeing up space on my DVR, and systematically cooking my way through David Rocco's Dolce Vita... but wait. I've already done those things.

On behalf of my new home I would like to express my delight at Malta's newest claims to fame - best climate in the world and best place to live for expat, according to International Living Magazine. International Living (IL) conducts a worldwide "Quality of Life Index" each year. They base their scores on nine qualities - cost of living, culture, economy, environment, freedom, health, infrastructure, safety and risk, and climate. For more information on how their scores are calculated you can check here. A full list of scores can be found here. I would be ashamed of any journalism training I have if I didn't also mention that IL is an American magazine whose target audience is Americans. That being said, when they discuss the best place for expats to live they mean American expats. And the magazine openly acknowledges any Western bias they may have, as their "quality of life" index is certainly based on Western concepts.

According to IL Malta ties for 1st in the best climate category with Zimbabwae - although the good folks at IL declare Malta the winner for its superior public safety record. IL indicates Malta's average 5.2 hours of sunshine per day as its prime assest here - and (bonus!) its stable government, economy, and English as a second language are listed among the other reasons why Malta is simply awesome. If that isn't incentive enough to visit Malta, "the temperature nudges 70 degrees Farenheit even in November." Malta really couldn't have paid for a better advertisement. IL continues its praise,

"Crime hardly exists [in Malta], the locals are hospitable and the health care is excellent. There aren’t any property taxes, and the U.S. [and, ahem, Canadian] expats who benefit most from living here are those who retain earnings from elsewhere that they then elect to get taxed in Malta, at 15%. At roughly twice the size of Washington D.C., it’s easy to socialize with other expats. There’s regular 90-minute ferry service to Sicily and a modern airport at Luqa with flights to numerous other European countries, including Rome, just one hour away by plane. Along with its top climate ranking, Malta’s many other virtues combined to earn it third place overall in the 2011 Quality of Life index, beaten only by New Zealand and the U.S."

That's right - third place overall - in the world! So if America isn't your cup of tea and you don't have a thing for sheep, this is apparently the place for you. I can't say I'm entirely surprised, although that isn't to say Malta doesn't have some things to work on. Compared to her deveoped Western counterparts, Malta's infrastructure is sadly lacking as its roads and public transport are outdated. As for freedom - I'm not sure IL are bang on with this one either. Malta enjoys a stable democracy, but that isn't to say there hasn't been political violence here in the past. Malta does not allow divorce, abortion, and still openly practices censorship on many things (particularly in the arts) which it deems immoral or against the church. In fact, Catholicism is their "state religion", written expressely into their Constitution. I'm not sure that really goes with the whole "freedom" thing.

Let's not be too hard on Malta though. During the latest economic downturn Europe's largest and smallest countries fared the best, avoiding bank bailouts - Germany and Malta. As for public safety, according to Europol Malta has the lowest crime rates in Europe. It is also cheaper to live in Malta than in any other European country. For Maltese residents, healthcare and education (including post secondary) are free and paid for. Literally. You get stipends to attend university. But let's not get into where the best country is to live for citizens...

Back to climate. This is, to my knowledge, Malta's second year winning IL's best climate nod. IL describes Malta as,

"blessed with mild winters and hot summers. Spring comes early, around late February, and the summer lingers until October. Frost and snow are completely unknown. There is winter rainfall, but it tends to fall in heavy bursts for short periods…an average of 583 mm (23 inches) a year. Temperatures from November to April average 57 degrees Fahrenheit. During summer and fall, the average is 73 (it can get very hot between July and September). There’s no shortage of sunshine: an average of 6.5 hours daily in winter and 10.5 in summer."
I should also mention that there are no monsoons, hurricanes, tropical cyclones, snow storms, ice storms, or long "wet" seasons in Malta. There is also none of the scorching summer temperatures you find in desert countries. So, while I can think of many other climates besides Malta's that I would consider fantastic, perhaps only Malta can claim that it gets both the best and gentlest weather on earth. A little flooding, some big thunder and big deal.

I am inclinded to write the good folks at IL and let them know that we've been having an especially nice January, with temperatures this past weekend hovering around 20 deg C. Yes, both M and I got a January tan.

Congratulations Malta on your latest claims to fame. Back to the books!

- J

1 comment :

  1. hi guys. I am from Ireland, I realy like your Blog pages and its realy helpful for those who want to expat.( like me). I will move in Malta with my wife and my son, september and I dont realy now where should I goand if I find any job. My profession is in Health Care Assistant and Holistic Massage( swedish) my wife is Beauty and HAir stylist. please give us some information how we rent an apartment online and all this. thank you so much. my email address: Marcel


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