Canada is the 9th best place to be born, survey finds
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Published Wednesday, January 2, 2013 1:50PM EST
A baby born in Canada is better off here than in the U.S., but the child is still likely to fare better in Switzerland or Australia, according to a new ranking of the best places to be born.
The list – released Wednesday and put together by The Economist -- ranked Canada the 9th best country in which to be born, out of 80 nations included in the survey.
Switzerland topped the list, while the U.S. trailed back in 16th spot.
Countries were measured by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which compiled the data, based on the opportunities they offered for a baby to have a "healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead," taking into account 11 "statistically significant" indicators.
Those 11 indicators -- used to form the quality-of-life index that ultimately measured each country's performance -- included subjective factors. such as how happy people say they are and how much they trust their public institutions, and objective factors. such as personal income levels, crime and the health of family life.
Geography, demography and social and cultural factors were also included in the criteria, as was the expected economic performance of each country, projected to 2030.
"Small economies dominate the Top 10," said Laza Kekic, director of country forecasting for the Economist Intelligence Unit, in the report. "Half of these are European, but only one, the Netherlands, is from the eurozone. The Nordic countries shine, whereas the crisis-ridden south of Europe (Greece, Portugal and Spain) lags behind despite the advantage of a favourable climate. The largest European economies (Germany, France and Britain) do not do particularly well."
Here are the Top 10 countries, according to the survey:
- 1. Switzerland
- 2. Australia
- 3. Norway
- 4. Sweden
- 5. Denmark
- 6. Singapore
- 7. New Zealand
- 8. Netherlands
- 9. Canada
- 10. Hong Kong
Finland finished just out of the top-10 in 11th place, followed by Ireland, Austria, Taiwan and Belgium, then finally the U.S.
"America, where babies will inherit the large debts of the boomer generation, languishes back in 16th place," Kekic said.
Britain also performed poorly, finishing in 27th spot, one place behind France, which was 26th on the list.
The results also show it was more than just economic prosperity that determined where a country ranked on the list. A number of countries failed to score well despite their thriving economies (Brazil, 37th, Russia, 72nd, India, 66th, China, 49th), likely because their overall score was brought down by poor results in other areas.
Nigeria bottomed out the list in 80th spot, finishing just behind Kenya in 79th spot, Ukraine in 78th and Bangladesh in 77th spot.
Interestingly, when the list was last compiled in 1988 -- and The Economist admits it was then a "light-hearted" effort -- Canada finished in fifth place. The U.S. was first, followed by France, West Germany, Italy, then Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, the U.K., Sweden and the Netherlands.