The Economic Intelligence Unit has carried out a study to discover where a baby in 2013 has the best chance of having “a healthy, safe and prosperous life”.
The study is based on the results of a series of life-satisfaction surveys and takes into account indicators that include geography, demography, policies, and economy. The survey looked at 80 counties.
The last time this list was composed was 1988 and the USA was placed first, however the indicators were a very different and it was done mostly as a joke (there was a “yawn index,” which is “the degree to which a country might, despite all its virtues, be boring”), so the two aren’t really comparable.
The bottom ten countries were Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Russia, Syria, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Kenya, and lastly, Nigeria.
Here’s The Top 20
1. Switzerland Because of a belief that individuals have a right to control information about their personal affairs, Switzerland has a strong human rights policy that protects financial privacy.
2. Australia ranks as the second best to live in the world by all indices of income, human development, healthcare and civil rights.
3. Norway has an extremely high standard of living due to its discovery of large reserves of offshore oil and gas deposits in the 1960’s. It has a considerable surplus is invested in a sovereign wealth fund, estimated in 2009 at $400bn.
4. Sweden has the world’s eighth highest per capita income and a population density of just 21 people per square kilometer. Five weeks paid vacation is nice too.
5. Denmark was a founding member of the UN, NATO, and the OECD.
6. Singapore is currently the only Asian country to have AAA credit ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch.
7. New Zealand Despite its remoteness the New Zealand economy is heavily dependent on international trade. In 2005 the World Bank named the country as the most business-friendly in the world.
8. The Netherlands is the only Eurozone country to make the top ten. It is one of the world’s leading supporters for international cooperation.
9. Canada The North American Free Trade Agreement, involving Canada, the US and Mexico, has brought a trade boom for Canada. Canadian cities are constantly voted among the most livable in the world.
10. Hong Kong contains a huge number of opportunities. A truly vibrant international city.
11. Finland Among other things, the Scandinavian country boasts great air and water quality, low rates of infant diseases, universal health care, and protection from water pollution and natural disasters.
12. Ireland has a vibrant culture and beautiful landscapes. It makes the top twenty despite its current economic problems. The country has a great education system.
13. Austria is a very safe and stable country with little corruption. The standard of living is high yet the cost of living is reasonable and compares to the UK.
14. Taiwan The quick industrialization and rapid growth of Taiwan during the latter half of the 20th century has been called the “Taiwan Miracle”. Taiwan is one of the “Four Asian Tigers” alongside Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore.
15. Belgium is noted for its solid culinary traditions and is particularly famous for its fine chocolate and selection of beers.
16. Germany stunning beautiful country with a strong economy and friendly people. Germany is efficient and effective.
17. United States is home of most of the global popular culture. Despite economic troubles, the U.S. is still a land of a lot of opportunities.
18. UAE Before oil was discovered in the 1950s the UAE’s economy was reliant on fishing and a declining pearl industry. However since 1962, when Abu Dhabi became the first of the emirates to begin exporting oil, the country’s society and economy have been transformed. It is today one of the richest countries in the world.
19. South Korea South Korea has developed into one of Asia’s most affluent countries since partition in 1948.
20. Israel is a surprise entry due to the religious conflict in the country. Israel has developed from an agrarian state run along collectivist lines into a hi-tech economy in the past 60 years.