Moving to a new country can be a life-changing experience. World traveler Amanda Walkins had this to say about her experience: "... it was a constant barrage of new feelings associated with normal activities. The longer I was there, the more I realized that, in fact, it was overall very much like home…"
That said, if you have considered relocating to a different country for work or to have a different experience, there are some countries that you should probably stay away from when you conduct your research. Tragically, the worst countries to live in are not only uncomfortable but dangerous.
In this article, we'll examine the bottom of the barrel when it comes to relocating. You'll find that the 20 worst countries to live in are considered so because of the danger locals face regularly and the poor quality of life you gain from that experience.
Based on statistics of danger regarding civil unrest in these areas and economic statistics surrounding the quality of life and prosperity, below are countries you should not have on your list for full-time residency in the near future.
Our Methodology Section
When researching each of our articles, we carefully follow a complex research process that draws information from across the internet and beyond. We do the hard work of identifying information and collecting it so that you don't have to do it yourself. We will:
- Examine official government statistics from around the world
- Find various news sources with real authority on the subject
- Compare and contrast statistics to gauge the country's quality
- Read blogs by people who've been to or lived in these countries
- Create an in-depth list for your enjoyment
- Update the article regularly to ensure accuracy
The 20 Worst Countries to Live in the World
Below, you'll get an in-depth look at the worst countries to live in around the world and why you should stay away from them. Please read on if you're planning on relocating and want to make sure that you don't end up living somewhere dangerous or threatening to your family.
Angola is located in the southwest corner of Africa and has a culture known for being a bit abrasive, especially to outsiders. Statistics show that there is some economic growth in the area, with a GDP growth rate of 0.2% per year.
Visitors coming to the country should be concerned about the locals, who can be unpredictable. Currently, Angola’s crime index is 66.48, a very poor number. Furthermore, the area's water and health conditions aren’t great, with the country ranking 163rd in water quality and 49.9 in the health quality index.
While some facilities in the capital of Luanda are available to assist residents and visitors, these resources are limited throughout the country as a whole, and there is a risk for several vector-borne diseases that can be dangerous to your health when traveling based on danger statistics.
Located in South America, Suriname has features that attract visitors to the area. There are even some positive trends in growth for this area, with statistics indicating that it has been on the rise for several years. For example, the interest rate has decreased in recent years, as has the inflation rate.
However, the danger in Suriname cannot be overlooked. The majority of the economy in the area is poor, which has caused a heavy increase in crime. Between 2018 and 2019, there was an 81% increase in crime, and while that’s decreased in recent years, it’s still very high.
Statistically, Suriname is one of the poorest countries in South America. It has a GDP of just $3.6 billion, ranking it as 152nd in the world. So even if its health index of 60.8 is decent, it’s best to avoid this nation.
While there are gorgeous beaches on this island, the country of Haiti is one of the 20 worst countries to live in due to its poor economy and high crime rate.
Though Haiti ranks a somewhat respectable 114th in GDP with $20.25 billion, over half of the population lives in extreme poverty, with starvation and hunger being a large part of the issue. That’s one reason why its health index is a meager 52.9.
The high crime rate of eight people per 1,000 means that there is a chance you can be a victim of a crime by visiting or moving to Haiti. Currently, Haiti is the fourth-worst nation for crime, with an index of 78.4.
For every 1,000 people in Kenya, there is a death rate of seven percent, which means someone dies every five minutes. This high rate is related to the poor economy and harsh living conditions of the locals. Though Kenya has the 65th largest GDP ($113 billion), wealth disparity impacts most of the population.
Tragically, there is an HIV/AIDS epidemic happening in Kenya that is the leading killer of the local population, with four percent of the nation having AIDS and 35,000 new infections every year.
In addition to this disease, the country has had its share of notorious serial killers in the last few years, attacking those who have recently moved to the area and those who are more prosperous. Kenya ranks as the 34th most crime-ridden nation in the world.
The environment in Bangladesh is not the best to live in, especially if you are planning to raise a family there. While it is not as violent as some countries on the list, it’s still the 20th most crime-ridden country on the globe.
Furthermore, it is one of the worst countries to live in because of limited access to health care and modern medicine. Its 67.4 health index may seem okay, but it ranks 177th in the world for environmental safety.
Statistical data indicate that Bangladesh is currently one of the more impoverished countries, and the leading killers of children are diseases that can be treated with modern medicine. Death rates are 5.5, and a total of 849,561 new deaths a year.
War-ridden Iraq is another country in the Middle East that makes a list for being one of the worst countries to live in. With the constant terror of war and potential bombs blowing up in the area, there is a reason to be concerned before moving to Iraq.
Data from that region highlights a poor economy due to bad conditions in the country, and it is only 48th in the world’s GDP. Most of this wealth is centered on just a rich ruling class, which explains the civil unrest that plagues the country.
Some parts are more violent than others, but at least five of the 1,000 people who move to the area are victims of these violent crimes resulting from terrorist attacks. That’s good for a death rate of 4.8.
In the last decade, Egypt has also undergone civil violence and unrest throughout the country, making it one of the worst countries to live in the world.
The crime rate in Egypt has increased significantly; statistics regarding the crime rate indicate that there has been a gradual rise in violent crimes over the last five years. It’s ranked the 65th worst country based on crime.
These crimes include assault, armed robberies, and even high rates of petty theft. In addition to these numbers, the economic data in Egypt indicate that it isn't as high as it was over a decade ago. Ranked 31st in GDP, it does have one of the better economies in the Middle East and North Africa regions.
Unfortunately, a large number of the citizens are still impoverished with limited access to modern medicine. Egypt’s death rate is 5.8.
Vietnam has been considered one of the worst countries to live in for several decades due to the poor economy of the country and the periodic attacks resulting from civil attacks.
The economy is already one of the poorest in Asia and is expected to weaken further throughout the 2023 fiscal year. Though the GDP is strong at 35th in the world, financial disparity is rampant.
Many of the residents in the country experience a poor credit rating, limiting the quality of life in Vietnam. The country itself has only a BB+ credit ranking, which isn’t poor but also not great.
There is also limited access to healthcare and technology throughout the country, especially as you navigate the less populated communities. As a result, the death rate is 6.3.
12. Sri Lanka
The current national economy of Sri Lanka is a negative debt from the government due to outstanding debt to other countries. It actually defaulted on its debt in 2022 as its crisis ballooned.
While some regulations and policies are in place to help current residents, those moving to the country will find that the living conditions are some of the poorest compared to Western countries.
This outstanding debt that Sri Lanka experiences regularly makes it hard to bring in higher quality products, restaurants, and other things that improve overall quality of life. So, while the death rate of 6.6 isn’t terrible, life quality in Sri Lanka is rough.
11. North Korea
The economy in North Korea is not nearly as dire as many of the countries on this list, as it’s worth $18 billion US. However, North Korea is one of the worst countries to live in because of its brutal leadership and hostility to the environment.
North Korea has been so terrible to its own environment, with rampant deforestation, that it has triggered multiple famines and millions of deaths over the years.
Danger statistics for those not Korean and moving to this area are relatively high, especially if they announce themselves as Christian and practice Western cultural ideas. The Kim dynasty in North Korea has strict laws that all living in the country must abide by to survive.
Even worse, a death rate of 9.1 means that life in North Korea is dangerous and best avoided.
Although Libya has a great oil and natural gas trade, the sale of these products is slowly working its way through the country. But even though Libya has a republic government that advocates for equality, it’s still one of the worst countries to live in by far.
That’s because many citizens of Libya reject this new government that went into place in 2011 and commit violent crimes. Though ranked 29th in safety in the world, violent crimes remain an issue.
Violent crime statistics in Libya indicate that outsiders moving to the area have a 50 percent chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime.
Iran is one of the worst countries to live in for Western travelers or transplants. If you attempt to move to this country, there is a high risk of becoming a victim of civil unrest or a detention sentence.
The economy of Iran is not the strongest in the Middle East, although they have started to build back since the pandemic. Ranked 40th in the world by GDP, most of this wealth is concentrated in the hands of the rich.
The environment is very hot and dry, with long periods of droughts and intense heat throughout the summer months. Health statistics surrounding Iran indicate that many residents suffer from hunger, starvation, and heat strokes regularly. It’s also the 56th most crime-ridden nation in the world.
If you are planning to move to Madagascar, reconsider your choice: it’s one of the worst countries in the world to live in. After all, it’s only the 129th-best economy in the world right now.
Please keep in mind that some who live there have been relatively safe, but there are many comforts and risks that you take coming from a first-world country. For example, its health ranking is just 54.1.
Furthermore, population density is odd, as Madagascar is highly populated in one part of the country because the highlands on the Western side are hard to populate.
In these bigger cities, there is a higher crime rate, while smaller crimes are not as violent. The highest risks in this country come at the environmental level, with lots of overpopulation and poor planning.
There are constant cases of soil erosion, deforestation, and soil degradation, which are impacting the quality of life in the country immensely.
Venezuela's natural beauty makes it a tempting place to relocate to as a second home or permanently. However, current statistics indicate that this is not a safe place to travel and is currently one of the worst countries in the world to live in.
The instability in the government and poor economy that has taken over as a result has made the country a civil battleground. Currently, many residents are experiencing unemployment and severely impoverished conditions.
So, while Venezuela may have a strong environmental rating of 67th in the world, it’s not worth the potential danger to your life.
6. South Africa
One of the countries with the highest crime levels in the world is South Africa. Currently, it’s the fifth-worst nation for crime, with a crime index of 75.5.
While more than half of the crimes committed are nonviolent, foreigners who relocate are often the victims of sexual assault and murder. That may explain why its health index is weak at 59.9.
Even worse, the economy is on a gradual decline (currently 37th in the world), and more rural areas are experiencing higher levels of poverty since the pandemic, and it is affecting the country as a whole. Perhaps that’s why the country has a BB- credit rating.
According to the national travel advisory, it is not safe to relocate and move to Niger at this time. There are high levels of crime and terrorism developing throughout the country. It currently ranks as the 14th worst country for crime, with a rating of 65.8.
The economy of Niger consists of agriculture, uranium deposits, and some livestock, but the economic gains are not properly diversified throughout the country, leaving the majority impoverished.
If you are considering a relocation, Mali is not the place to move in the near future. There is a high chance of terrorist attacks, with residents having almost a 50 percent chance of being close to or a victim of an attack in the larger areas.
In the last few years, the economy has been declining, so those already living in a poor state are more impoverished. As the 119th largest GDP in the world, Mali’s economy is rather weak.
While Lebanon has not had a super strong economy, the last two years have been very devastating, moving unemployment rates to nearly 30 percent after they were only 11 percent.
In fact, Lebanon ranks just 109th in GDP, though its economy is not verified by statistics keepers. Even worse, the most populated cities have a high crime rate of over 60 percent. Things are so bad they don’t even report their crime statistics to most statistics firms.
It is very difficult to get items into the country, such as vaccines and basic medicines, so the life expectancy is low and unhealthy. The country has a putrid 54.5 health index.
Tragically, nearly 20 percent of their children do not live past 16 because of viral diseases, and others can be treated with modern vaccines. The nation has a 9.8 death rate.
2. South Sudan
South Sudan has been considered one of the worst countries to live in globally for many years. As there is a long history of communism in South Sudan, there is a lot of civil unrest and terrorist attacks in this area.
The economy is so poor it doesn’t even show up on the top 177th list of countries in the world. Sadly, The residents are purposely kept poor to be controlled, and those who are foreign moving to the area are targeted for violent crimes such as kidnappings, extortion, and even murder.
Chad easily tops the worst countries to live in for a variety of reasons. Like South Sudan, Chad has the same travel advisory to avoid visits. Civil war and protests have racked the nation in recent years.
Furthermore, those living in Chad are forced to live impoverished and continue watching for terrorist attacks. It’s currently the 138th economy in the world, with poverty running rampant.
As the climate changes, violence is not the only stress residents are experiencing. As the 165th worst nation for the environment, Chad is doing little to protect its citizens.
The country continues to become drier, worsening the already limited agricultural economy and animals for food moving out of the country. People are struggling to stay healthy here, and Chad has a 39.2 health index.
Poor health is likely the result of poor water. The lack of clean water means that starvation, hunger, and poor living conditions are enough to be responsible for nearly 20 percent of deaths yearly. Staggeringly, Chad has a 12.2 death rate, confirming its status as a must-avoid country.
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Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker