Gen Z utopias: The top destinations for Gen Z to study, work, and adventure

Like so many that came before them, Generation Z is drawn to the concept of the American Dream—rewarding careers, financial freedom, and a life rich with experiences. Empowered by remote work and expanding immigration options, they are willing to venture far and wide in search of it.

We’ve analyzed seven key factors—education, early career opportunities, work-life balance, political stability, cost of living, adventure, and hospitality—to uncover the best destinations where young people can build successful lives and live them to the fullest. 

So get packing, Gen Z. It’s time to make your mark on the world!

Oceania & the Great White North lead Gen Z destinations

Money isn’t everything to this young demographic. They also want the time and amenities to spend it.

Unsurprisingly, New Zealand is the top destination for Gen Z’s looking for a new place to call home with its unmatched work-life balance, offering a generous 32-day statutory annual leave allowance and 80% sick pay for those unable to work.

Australia ranks second, boasting the world’s highest friendliness index, welcoming newcomers into its thriving hospitality sector and vast leisurely pursuits. Alternatively, third-placed Canada offers some of the world’s most stunning scenery and diverse culture, supported by its robust economy.

Scandinavia dominates the ranking

If you’re thinking of heading to Europe, there are few better places than Scandinavia to settle down. Sweden, Denmark, and Norway are celebrated for their exceptional quality of life, forward-thinking policies, and commitment to rewarding hard work by fostering a harmonious work-life balance.

One more standout from northwestern Europe: the Netherlands. With just 26.9 hours worked per week and a high minimum wage of 11.98 USD/hour, it's a great place to find balance. Plus, it boasts one of the highest LGBTQ+ inclusivity rates globally. 

Hidden gems beyond the top ten

We’re all searching for something different, and our perfect country will depend on what we desire most. For those looking to study, adventure, and experience, there are plenty of unearthed utopias outside of the top ten worth exploring.

If you crave knowledge and career opportunities, there are few better places than France, which ranks 5th for education and 3rd for work-life balance. However, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland could also meet your needs. 

Likewise, if you seek adventure, Brazil beckons with its endless celebrations and wallet-friendly cost of living, averaging just $736/month. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more laid back experience, Portugal and Italy await. They offer access to the natural world—and a coffee shop on every corner for when you need some rest and relaxation.

The top 10 most Gen Z-friendly countries

1. New Zealand

new zealand

Photo by Te Pania ♡ on Unsplash

New Zealand is famed for portraying Middle Earth in the “Lord of the Rings” franchise, and it can often feel like a different world as you explore its breathtaking scenery, rich Māori culture, and welcoming communities. 

It ranks first for work-life balance—a top priority for Gen Z workers. Furthermore, New Zealand leads thanks to its political stability, surpassed only by Singapore, along with one of the world's best friendliness indexes and adventure opportunities. No wonder it's a bucket-list destination for wanderers and sets the standard for those looking to settle down. 

2. Australia


Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

Australia, a land full of warmth and hospitality, proudly holds the title of “the world's friendliest place”. Australians know how to live life to the fullest and prioritize leisure activities, outdoor pursuits, and making memories with loved ones. It's a cultural melting pot with a vibrant social scene, supported by remarkable political stability.

However, paradise does come with a price tag, and it isn’t friendly to the wallet—If you intend to start a life Down Under, be prepared to spend $2,000/month on average on living costs.

3. Canada


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If you’re not too fond of the wildlife in Oceania and don’t mind the cold, Canada will welcome you with open arms—as long as you’re willing to embrace ice hockey as your favorite sport and consume copious amounts of maple syrup.

Canada is top of its class for education, boasting top-notch universities and colleges renowned for innovation and inclusivity, where Gen Zs should fit in just fine. Likewise, ranking second for career opportunities, you will have no shortage of offers as you take your first steps into working life.

4. Sweden


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Sweden is the epitome of Scandinavian charm, combining picturesque landscapes with progressive values. Sweden is among the top ten countries for education or starting a career. Additionally, this country boasts good scores for work-life balance, political stability, and friendliness. Europe’s capital of egalitarianism, Sweden prioritizes equality and sustainability, making it the ideal destination for the socially conscious Gen Z. 

Home to some of the world’s most successful tech startups, such as music streaming giant Spotify, Sweden offers a thriving digital landscape—and endless possibilities for young innovators.

5. Singapore


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If the Far East is more your thing, Singapore offers an excellent option due to its high standard of living. It consistently comes out on top for political stability and boasts a low crime rate and public service efficiency. Coupled with its strong economy, low unemployment, high salaries, and impressive education system, it’s like paradise for the ambitious Gen Z.

6. Spain


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Offering an equal dose of fiestas and siestas, Spain is a hot spot for those who are both a social butterfly and a lone wolf. Ranked second for friendliness and work-life balance, a good time and good company are guaranteed, but Spain knows how to chill too. 

With a reasonable cost of living, you’ll have plenty of time and money to explore picturesque mountains, dine on a healthy Mediterranean diet, or sit in the sun—which shines for almost 320 days a year.

7. Netherlands


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With its world-renowned museums, bike-friendly streets, and heavy investment in innovation, the Netherlands is a hub of progress. Committed to sustainability, it offers a sanctuary to the eco-conscious Gen Z with few compromises. The country's emphasis on work-life balance, with just 26.9 hours worked per week and a high minimum wage makes it an ideal destination for those seeking equilibrium. Moreover, it fosters a diverse and inclusive environment for all. By day, the Netherlands provides ample education and career opportunities, while by night, vibrant music events, bars, and clubs offer opportunities for social connections. There are endless options for young people looking for both professional growth and social life.

8. Denmark


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Denmark, the land of hygge and happiness, embodies well-being and contentment. And thanks to its inclusive community, everyone is welcome to enjoy it for themselves. 

With an average work week of 26 hours and a generous 36 days of statutory annual leave, its young workers have plenty of time for exploring serene landscapes, leisurely bike rides, and cozy evenings by the fire. Escaping from the daily grind isn’t easy—but moving to Denmark is one way to do it.

9. Norway


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If you’re looking for balance, Norway does just about everything to a high standard, boasting one of the world’s top education systems, a favorable work-life balance, and a high standard of living supported by a robust social welfare system. And let’s not forget its breathtaking natural beauty and vibrant cultural scenes.

With a thriving economy and plenty of opportunity in sectors such as oil and gas, renewable energy, and technology, there are few better destinations than Norway for Gen Zs with the future in mind. 

10. Japan


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Whether you’re exploring Kyoto’s unmissable shrines or navigating Tokyo’s bustling streets, Japan offers adventure at every turn—delicious cuisine, ancient traditions, and cutting-edge technology.

If you decide Japan is the place to settle down, you’ll be happy to know it ranks fourth globally for political stability and promising career opportunities. A global leader in education and innovation, it’s the perfect place for those seeking personal and professional growth. 

Detailed findings and methodology 

To create this research, researchers at EduBirdie analyzed a range of publicly available data from US News, Immigrant Invest, Remote, World Population Review.  

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