Published — Friday 4 January 2013
Last update 4 January 2013 12:42 am
The Economist magazine has just published an interesting index — where to be born index — ranking the countries that provide overall the best quality of life in terms of wealth, health and trust in public institution.
Not surprisingly it has ranked Switzerland number one country, the best place to be born in the world, followed by Australia, Norway, Sweden and Denmark while Singapore topped Asia at number 6 followed by Hong Kong at number 10. America, once the dreamland of every inhabitant of this world, has slipped to 16th place from number 1 rank in 1988. No wonder the three Scandinavian countries made it to top five with UAE leading the Middle East at No 18, followed by Kuwait at 22 and Saudi Arabia at 38.
The future of this world, the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) led by Brazil at 37, China 49, India 66 and Russia at 72, with all the wealth has shied some poor African countries. Surprisingly Qatar didn’t appear in the list and Ireland seems to be a better place than England.
A study says American babies will have a dimmer future than those born in Hong Kong, Ireland and even Canada. The EIU, a sister company of The Economist, has attempted to measure how well countries will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in years to come.
People born in Switzerland will tend to be the happiest and have the best quality of life judged in terms of wealth, health and trust in public institutions, according to the analysis.
The Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Denmark also make the top five in a ‘quality-of-life’ index highlighting where it is best to be born next year.
In 1988, the United States came top of a rank of 50 countries, but has not achieved the top spot since. The index links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys — how happy people say they are — to objective determinants of quality of life across countries.
One of the most important factors is being rich, but other factors come into play, including crime, trust in public institutions and the health of family life. In total, the index takes into account 11 indicators. These include fixed factors such as geography, others that change slowly over time such as demography, social and cultural characteristics, and the state of the world economy.
The index also looks at income per head in 2030, which is roughly when children born in 2013 will reach adulthood. Small economies dominate the top 10 countries, with Australia coming second and New Zealand and the Netherlands not too far behind. Half of the top 10 countries are European, but only one, the Netherlands, is from the euro zone.
The crisis-ridden south of Europe, including Greece, Portugal and Spain, lags behind despite the advantage of a favorable climate.