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The Truth about Living in Andorra

Is living in Andorra as good as people say it is ?
The Truth about Living in Andorra

When talking about living in Andorra, you must be able to discern the inherent bias that a few will have, as well as to consider many different viewpoints. Lastly, you’ll have to contrast the viewpoints of the individuals you might’ve talked with to what the statistics and data actually say.

You might expect the biggest “ambassadors” about living in Andorra to be those that benefited the most out of moving to Andorra; a business strategy that is in many cases, particularly for entrepreneurs, the absolute best strategy for many businesses. We’ve written an article on this exact matter which you can have a look at here. Conversely, those that report the most negative experiences are usually either locals or those whom have been rejected in the immigration process.

Living in Andorra: Quality of Life

Air quality & Life expectancy

Lacking the heavy-duty industry, largely due to its disadvantageous terrain when it comes to the construction of large factories, Andorra can claim top-tier air quality. In fact, you can check the day-to-day evolution of air quality in Europe with this tool.

Andorra’s life expectancy ranks as the world’s 8th according to the CIA’s 2022 Factbook, with an average life expectancy of 83.4 years. If the reasons for such life expectancy are environmental, then living in Andorra could also be considered a health improvement.

Only a tiny percentage of the country is urbanised, leaving most of its 468 square kilometres mostly untouched and truly natural, a godsend for those that love hiking into the mountains or in deep and steep forests.

Health system

Andorra’s health system is managed by the CASS (Caixa Andorrana de la Seguretat Social). Usually ranked among the world’s best. The World Health Organization ranks it 4th. Andorra’s health system is typically European, in the sense that most costs are covered, if not all costs depending on your situation.

Featuring a co-payment system, at least 75% of all costs are paid by the Seguretat Social. Hospitalization and surgery costs are paid 90% and costs related to emergency situations (car accidents, work-related accidents) and childbirth are entirely free.

The funds from the C.A.S.S. come from the mandatory employer and employee payments to it, which are of 15.5% of the employee’s base pay. The employee also sponsors his own affiliation to the C.A.S.S., paying between 6 and 9% of the his salary.

Education system

A concern of many new residents, particularly those with a family, is how their children’s education might be like. Possibly a traumatizing experience for many minors, particularly if they are forced to learn another language without any prior – leaving them as no better than outcasts.

Andorra’s system takes care of this problem by offering three types of public education, which are the result of deep collaboration with its two direct neighbours.

  • Andorran Education System: entirely provided in Catalan, puts an emphasis on the history and values of Andorra. It is managed by Andorra’s Ministry of Education.
  • French Education System: taught almost exclusively in French, it is managed by the French government.
  • Spanish Education System: taught mostly in Catalan, it nonetheless also uses Spanish and French as languages within its system. It is managed by Spain’s Ministry of Education.

This alliance of systems allows for immigrants looking to move to Andorra to not necessarily have to commit their children’s education to their decision, assuming they are from Spain or France. This freedom therefore allows these new residents to “test the waters” of the Andorran system, without sacrificing their children’s education.

Of course, every school year you may freely choose to change school systems. It goes without saying that Andorra’s French, Spanish and Andorran systems are completely free. Private options exist such as the British College of Andorra, which focuses on English as a vehicular language.

Crime rate

Andorra has the lowest crime rate in Europe after Saint Marin and the Vatican. It’s definitely a country where you will not fear the rising insecurity , since a true aura of trust exists within Andorran society.

In Andorra, you will find drivers leaving their cars unlocked and sometimes even with the doors open¬† – despite the fact they’ll be gone for perhaps half an hour, leaving their priced possession without any safety measure. This trust and expectation of not being stolen is the ultimate proof of a low-crime society.

Here’s the crime rate between the UK, France and Spain compared to Andorra.

France
46.39 (37th)
United Kingdom
42.72 (32th)
Spain
32.46 (17th)
Andorra
13.33 (3rd)

Employment

Andorra’s unemployment levels are among the world’s best, sitting at 3.7%. It is in line with world powers such as the U.S., China and Japan. It is far ahead of its southern neighbour, Spain, whose current unemployment sits at 13.2%, its best number since 2007.

Usually, low-unemployment countries have wages that are very dynamic and negotiable, in the workforce’s advantage. Unfortunately, Andorra’s tiny scale implies that this effect is seldom seen. The high minimum real estate prices with the low population of the country create an unusual dynamic. Here’s an example: a logistics worker will only find a few companies to work for in a tiny country such as Andorra. If these handful of companies agree with one another on salaries, then there is no leverage to be played by the employee – barring a coordination with all of the sector’s workers.

Here’s the unemployment figures for a handful of countries:

Spain
13.65%
France
7.3%
United Kingdom
3.8%
Andorra
3.7%

The work-week is a standard 40 hours. Annually, the maximum hours worked must not be above 1800 hours, the equivalent of 45 weeks of work.

Andorran employees have a right to paid leave, equivalent to 23 natural days (holidays) as well as the four bank holidays, totalling a minimum of 27 days of paid leave.

Conclusion

Like anything else in life, Andorra has a certain set of advantages and a certain set of disadvantages. It is not only wise but necessary to listen to those that had both positive and negative experiences from their stay in Andorra.

From someone’s negative experiences, you may learn mistakes to avoid or misconceptions to clear away.

In a similar manner, listening to someone’s success in Andorra must also be contrasted with that person’s situation: are they an employee, entrepreneur, investor… ? What exactly are the steps they took to be where they are today ? Etc.

Andorra, as you’ve heard a thousand times now, is very tiny. This means there isn’t a large diversity of landscape or climate. If you dislike t mountain life, you won’t like Andorra.

With a population of a bit over 80 thousand, Andorra is not a metropolis like other micro-states are, such as Singapur. The capital feels like a medium sized city, concentrated in a small zone. In our opinion, this is the ideal sweet-spot between urban life and rural life – It’s as technologically advanced as any city can be, while not being overbearing on the senses or despite being surrounded by people, feeling like you know nobody. In this sense, we believe Andorra has struck the ideal middle ground.

 

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