Where to Move If You Never Want to Catch Malaria

There are four places on earth, not counting Antarctica

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Editor’s note: This article originally claimed that the locations below were all free of any mosquitoes. That claim was based on a Science Daily article, which actually stated that these locations were free of Anopheles mosquitoes, the species that can carry malaria. That information has been corrected. Since the original publication of this article, Anopheles mosquitoes have been found in New Caledonia.

An article yesterday in Science Daily pointed out that there are five parts of the world where Anopheles mosquitos—the species that can carry malaria—don’t live. This seems like useful information, though unfortunately (and obviously), they're not exactly centers of commerce and culture. Jobs are scarce, for example, in Antarctica. Here’s a quick snapshot of each of the four places on earth where Anopheles mosquitos are not found and people are.*


(Photo: Matt Chapman / Flickr)

This North Atlantic island nation sits more or less in between Europe and the Unites States, but a little closer to Europe. It has a population of 318,452, according to Wikipedia (which is going to supply a lot of the information in this roundup), and has a per-capita GDP of $38,022. The high temperature in July averages 55.9 degrees, and the low in January is 26.6. The language is Icelandic, but a lot of people speak English.

Pros: It's beautiful, with green valleys, glaciers, miles of wild coastline and quaint villages. The capital city of Reykjavik is considered a cultural and artistic center, and famous pop acts Bjork and Sigur Ros hail from there (this could be a con, depending on your taste). Also, there are these famous volcanic hot springs that people flock to the country for. Icelanders eat a lot of fish, and are presumably good at preparing it.

Cons: It never gets that warm, and it snows a lot in the winter. The economy is still pretty sour after all the banks imploded in the financial crisis of 2008. A huge volcano there shut down air traffic in Europe for a few months in 2010, which is only a problem if you're trying to leave. Still, they have volcanoes big enough to shut down continents' air travel. That's the flip side of the coin to your hot springs.

New Caledonia:

(Photo: M0les / Flickr)

This tiny archipelago is considered a "special collectivity" of France. It sits in the southwest Pacific, across the Coral Sea from the east coast of Australia. It has a population of 249,000 and a per-capita GDP of $36,376. The temperature fluctuates from about 70 to about 90 degrees.The official language is French, and nickel mining and tourism anchor the economy.

Pros: It is very beautiful in a tropical-island sort of way. Blue lagoons, coral reefs and white-sand beaches line its coasts, and its biodiversity is legendary. Wikipedia says it is one of the most "critically endangered and botanically most important hotspots." The temperature is warm enough to wear a t-shirt all year round (unless you think that's a con).

Cons: It's pretty isolated, but tourism is huge, so you may wind up working in some capacity that puts you in touch with lots of vacationers and not many other folks (though perhaps you think this is a pro). Politics can be tricky, as the territory is always kind of at odds with France over how much autonomy it gets. Unless you're a geologist or own a hotel, it may be hard to find a job here.

French Polynesia:

(Photo: Benoit Mahe / Flickr)

Another special collectivity of France, this group of islands in the central southern pacific contains some of the most remote places in the world. The most well-known island is Tahiti. The population of the whole collectivity is 267,000, and the per-capita GDP is $21,999. The official language is French, and the main industry is tourism, though some agriculture concerns operate here and there throughout the collectivity. The temperature swings from about 70 to about 90 year-round.

Pros: This is one of the most remote places in the world. You can probably find some tiny island where you'll never see another person again, if that's your thing, let alone an Anopheles mosquito. But there are also some fairly developed resort destinations, like Bora Bora, where you can find high-end lodging if you can land a good enough job. Divers and snorkelers will be in heaven.

Cons: This is one of the most remote places in the world. You may wind up on some tiny island where you'll never see another person again, let alone an Anopheles mosquito. The people that are there seem to have a hard time coming to an agreement on how to govern themselves, and they've had a lot of emergency elections lately. Also, they have crabs there that can chop a coconut in half with their claws.

The Seychelles:

(Photo: ThisIsDuffy / Flickr)

This little archipelago in the Indian Ocean, just off the northeast tip of Madagascar, is what people may mean when they say "tropical paradise." It's the smallest African state, with a population of 84,000, and it has a per-capita GDP of $24,837. The temperature hovers at about 80 degrees all year round. There is no indigenous population and the official languages are French and English.

Pros: A stable political climate, high literacy rate, and decent infrastructure mean the quality of life in Seychelles is pretty good overall. The myriad beaches and coves are studded with dramatic rock outcroppings and the water is very clear. It's warm enough to wear short sleeves, but it can get humid.

Cons: There are no mammals--including people--indigenous to these islands. Apparently, though, society there now has developed its own culture, which Wikipedia says is "decidedly French". You won't be happy if you don't like warm weather, and you'll need to be careful if you go boating, as you're getting somewhat close to Somali pirate territory.

*This article originally misstated that no mosquitos could be found in these parts of the world.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.