The Washington Post

Best place to be born in 2013: Switzerland

Switzerland is the best country for a baby to be born in 2013, according to a new study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which is based on both subjective and objective quality of life factors.

Mund, Switzerland (Sylvie Bigar)

The variables include life expectancy, gender equality, political freedoms, and even climate, but because the study looks at where "to be born" not "where to live," some of the factors look at what life will be like in those countries in 2030, when children born in 2013 reach adulthood. 

Rounding out the top 10 are:

2. Australia

3. Norway

4. Sweden

5. Denmark

6. Singapore

7. New Zealand

8. Netherlands

9. Canada

10. Hong Kong

It's not just the wealthy that rise to the top, and that might be why Costa Rica (#30) outranks the much wealthier Russia (#72) by so much. The report authors write:

Being rich helps more than anything else, but it is not all that counts; things like crime, trust in public institutions and the health of family life matter too. In all, the index takes 11 statistically significant indicators into account.

The United States didn't crack the top 10 this year, because American "babies will inherit the large debts of the boomer generation," the researchers write.  

In the 1988 survey, the United States came in first, followed closely by mostly European countries and several high-performing Asian ones, such as South Korea and Japan:

Screenshot: Economist

Now, Japan and South Korea rank 25 and 19, respectively, perhaps because their economies have become more troubled in recent years.

Europe has also slipped in the rankings because the ongoing euro-zone crisis there has caused severe unemployment and "eroded both family and community life," the authors write.

And the bottom five -- Angola, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Kenya and Nigeria -- may come as no surprise, since they are usual suspects in perennial "worst countries" lists.

Disagree with the list? The full methodology can be found here.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
In defense of dads
Play Videos
How to make head cheese
Perks of private flying
The rise and fall of baseball cards
Play Videos
Husband finds love, loss in baseball
New hurdles for a Maryland tradition
How to survive a shark attack
Play Videos
Portland's most important meal of the day
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to save and spend money at college
Next Story
Max Fisher · November 29, 2012

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.