Switzerland will be the best place to be born in the world in 2013 as people have the best quality of life in terms of wealth, health and trust in public institutions, research shows. Australia is the second best place according to the latest research report from the Economist Intelligence Unit which measures a country’s quality of life. The likes of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand and the Netherlands all scored well in terms of health, safety and prosperity.
The research shows that 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 including 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. It shows that half of the top 10 countries are European, but only one, the Netherlands, is from the euro-zone and the crisis ridden south of Europe, including Greece, Portugal and Spain, lags behind despite the advantage of a favourable climate.
The largest European economies of Germany, France and Britain do not do particularly well with France in 26th place, the UK 27th and Germany tied with the United States in 16th place. The report also shows that despite their economic dynamism, none of the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China score impressively.
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‘Both the present situation and the outlook are mixed from the point of view of the drivers of the quality of life. Despite the global economic crisis, times have in certain respects never been so good. Output growths rates have been declining across the world, but income levels are at historic highs in many countries despite the post 2008 recessions,’ the report says.
‘Life expectancy continues to increase steadily and political freedoms have spread across the globe, most recently in the hitherto authoritarian landscape of North Africa and the Middle East,’ adding, ‘In other ways, however, the crisis has left a deep negative impact particularly on the euro zone, but also elsewhere, especially on unemployment and personal security. It has eroded both family and community life’.
Among the 80 countries covered by the research Nigeria is named as the worst country for a baby to be born in 2013.