“The Best Countries to be Born in Are Small, Peaceful, Homogenous, Liberal Democracies”

So, not the United States, basically. That’s according to a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which looked at 80 countries, scoring them across 11 variables to determine “which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead.”

The United States and Germany ranked 15th on the list of best countries to be born in.

Yes, it’s yet another international ranking on individual well-being where the Nordic countries come out on top, alongside Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The top 15 also include Austria and Switzerland, which seem to meet similar criteria. The three best places to be born are, in order: Switzerland, Australia and Norway.

Here’s a surprise: the top-ranked countries also include Asia’s two super-rich city-states, Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as Taiwan. I’ll admit to being surprised by the data’s suggestion that a newborn today is better off being Taiwanese than American or German, particularly because Taiwan’s aging population and declining birthrate could lead the economy to decline. But Taiwan does enjoy good political freedoms and improving health and living standards.

There is some interesting variation among the top-ranked countries. New Zealand ranks seventh overall even though its GDP per capita is low compared to many worse-ranking European countries. Singapore, though ranked sixth, is not a liberal democracy by any stretch, and life satisfaction in the hyper-competitive city seems relatively low. But it sure is rich.

Anyway, take it all with a grain of salt.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Next post:

Previous post: