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Best Places to Be Born in 2013 by Sagittarius ,  Nov 29, 2012
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Though America may be the "land of opportunity," Switzerland will be the best place to be born in 2013 according to a quality-of-life index from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The EIU, a sister company to The Economist magazine, determines quality of life based on surveys of the population covering 11 factors including wealth, crime, family life, trust in government and the stability of the economy.

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Income estimates for babies born in 2013 are based on projections for the year 2030, when those children will come of age.

The top ten best places to be born in 2013:

1. Switzerland
2. Australia
3. Norway
4. Sweden
5. Denmark
6. Singapore
7. New Zealand
8. Netherlands
9. Canada
10. Hong Kong

With its small but very stable economy, Switzerland comes in first, wealthy, healthy and trusting of its public institutions. The United States, "where babies will inherit the large debts of the boomer generation, languishes back in 16th place," the EIU explains. Feeling the effects of the European monetary crisis, "the largest European economies, France (26), Germany (tied with the U.S. for 16) and Britain (27), don't do particularly well."

The quality-of-life index also reflects changes in the Middle East and North Africa, where "life expectancy continues to increase steadily and political freedoms have spread across the globe," though Nigeria comes in as the worst place for a baby to be born in 2013.

Other interesting ratings include China, coming in at 49, and Russia, coming in at 72.

Back in 1988, the United States was in first place, with France in second, and West Germany in third. Zimbabwe was last, with Iraq second to last and Iran third to last.

For a more detailed explanation of how these numbers are calculated, see "the lottery of life methodology."

All said, the takeaway from the index seems to be that in today's world, a country's stability and trust in public institutions results in the best quality of life for its citizens.

Of course, it’s the country with most bunkers per capita, whose people eat more chocolate, ride more trains and commit more suicides with guns than anyone else: Switzerland.

Using a set of parameters ranging from the number of seats in parliament held by women, to life expectancy, divorce rates and average rainfall, the Economist Intelligence Unit released its yearly ranking of countries which offer the best opportunities for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for children born in the coming year.

Switzerland, a land-locked, multilingual country of eight million at the heart of Europe but outside the European Union, leads the ranking, followed by Australia and Norway. Five of the top ten countries are in Europe. Canada ranks 9th. The business hubs Singapore and Hong Kong are leading in Asia.

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The United States ties with Germany at 16, behind Ireland — a country that almost defaulted over its debt during the financial crisis — and Taiwan. A quarter a century ago, the U.S. led the global ranking and all other ten leading nations were European with the exception of Japan, then ranked 6th. But 25 years of heavy debt and slow economic growth has pulled Japan, still the world’s third-largest economy, down to 25th place, behind sleepy Cyprus and Chile.

The United Arab Emirates, home to the economic hub Dubai, is the first place in the Middle East to make the list, coming in at 18. Israel places 20th. (The Palestinian Territories are not included in the survey, but considering an unemployment rate three times higher and per capita income almost thirty times lower than it’s neighbor’s, it would arguably rank much lower.)

Latin America’s most auspicious place is its country with the highest life expectancy, Costa Rica, which comes in at 30, ahead of Brazil (37), Mexico (39) and Argentina (40). South Africa is the best place to be born in Africa, but that’s still not saying much: the country comes in 43rd. China, the world’s second-largest economy, ranks 49th. India, the world’s most populous democracy, ranks 66th.

Among the 80 countries surveyed, Nigeria ranked last. Riven by poverty, corruption and sectarian violence, “it is the worst place for a baby to enter the world in 2013,” the study said