Where Is the Best Place to Be Born in 2013?
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 30, 2012
Of course, it’s the country with most bunkers per capita, whose people eat more chocolate, ride more trains and commit more suicides with guns than anyone else: Switzerland.
Using a set of parameters ranging from the number of seats in parliament held by women, to life expectancy, divorce rates and average rainfall, the Economist Intelligence Unit released its yearly ranking of countries which offer the best opportunities for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for children born in the coming year.
Switzerland, a land-locked, multilingual country of eight million at the heart of Europe but outside the European Union, leads the ranking, followed by Australia and Norway. Five of the top ten countries are in Europe. Canada ranks 9th. The business hubs Singapore and Hong Kong are leading in Asia.
The United States ties with Germany at 16, behind Ireland — a country that almost defaulted over its debt during the financial crisis — and Taiwan. A quarter a century ago, the U.S. led the global ranking and all other ten leading nations were European with the exception of Japan, then ranked 6th. But 25 years of heavy debt and slow economic growth has pulled Japan, still the world’s third-largest economy, down to 25th place, behind sleepy Cyprus and Chile.
The United Arab Emirates, home to the economic hub Dubai, is the first place in the Middle East to make the list, coming in at 18. Israel places 20th. (The Palestinian Territories are not included in the survey, but considering an unemployment rate three times higher and per capita income almost thirty times lower than it’s neighbor’s, it would arguably rank much lower.)
Latin America’s most auspicious place is its country with the highest life expectancy, Costa Rica, which comes in at 30, ahead of Brazil (37), Mexico (39) and Argentina (40). South Africa is the best place to be born in Africa, but that’s still not saying much: the country comes in 43rd. China, the world’s second-largest economy, ranks 49th. India, the world’s most populous democracy, ranks 66th.
Among the 80 countries surveyed, Nigeria ranked last. Riven by poverty, corruption and sectarian violence, “it is the worst place for a baby to enter the world in 2013,” the study said.