Canada is the ninth best place in which to be born in 2013 and easily outranks other countries in the Americas, says a recent index published in The Economist. Switzerland occupies the top spot, followed by Australia and Norway. Nigeria finishes last out of 80 countries surveyed.
The where-to-be-born index “attempts to measure which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead,” says a statement. The results, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, are based on both subjective life-satisfaction surveys and objective measures of quality of life. The index also uses economic forecasts for 2030, the approximate time when children born next year will reach adulthood.
Canada has dropped four spots since 1988, when the index was first compiled, though the past quarter century has been less kind to the United States. In the past 25 years, the U.S. has dropped from first position to 16th. Having said that, The Economist acknowledges that its first index was more light-hearted, including a “yawn index” to penalize boring countries. Canada fell victim to the “yawn index,” but scored bonus points for “scenic attractions” and “for having the most desirable passport.”
It’s worth noting that this year’s edition featured five European nations in the top 10, though only one (the Netherlands) is part of the eurozone. Europe’s largest economies—Germany, France, Italy and Britain—didn’t crack the top 15. Likewise, BRIC countries didn’t fare well, with China placing 49th, nestled between Latvia and Thailand.
Reaction to the index hasn’t been nearly as angry as you might imagine. It does seem the results have been a source of pride in the United Arab Emirates, the top-ranking Arab country. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the country’s vice president and ruler of Dubai, tweeted the news to his nearly 1.3 million followers. One UAE-based newspaper used the occasion to favourably compare itself with Britain, which ranked nine spots lower.
The Nigerian blogosphere has clearly taken notice of their low-standing position. Here’s the sober reaction of one blogger: “Not very good outcome. Not good at all.”
Here is the top 10 on the where-to-be-born index:
7. New Zealand
10. Hong Kong