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Best Countries To Be Born In

What are the 20 best countries that will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead?
2013 data according to Economist Intelligence Unit. Full List
Scores are out of ten
Does not include small countries such as Luxembourg, Iceland, etc...
Last updated: July 13, 2017
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Score
Country
8.22
Switzerland
8.12
Australia
8.09
Norway
8.02
Sweden
8.01
Denmark
8.00
Singapore
7.95
New Zealand
Score
Country
7.94
Netherlands
7.81
Canada
7.76
Finland
7.74
Ireland
7.73
Austria
7.67
Taiwan
7.51
Belgium
Score
Country
7.38
Germany
7.38
United States
7.33
United Arab Emirates
7.25
South Korea
7.23
Israel
7.21
Italy
+23
level 60
Jul 13, 2017
Just curious how Singapore makes the list if small countries are excluded?
+4
level 71
Jul 13, 2017
Small by population apparently, not size.
+7
level 57
Jul 13, 2017
For reference: looks like the cut-off is Kuwait, 126th most populous country, 4 132 415 people.
+12
level 44
Nov 3, 2017
The list includes Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, which are well under that treshold, but not Qatar for example, which is more populous than the aforementioned. I don't think the list has a solid logic for those who are in or not
+4
level 49
Nov 3, 2017
Yeah, I also don't get how people call Iceland a small nation, sometimes even a micronation. It is huge! (even if the population is small).
+2
level 57
Nov 6, 2017
6/11/17 curious how many more debates there will be in this section?
+3
level 61
Jul 13, 2017
you should define small countries in the subtitles. seems like weak data. Is there a similar study that includes all countries?
+8
level 51
Nov 3, 2017
Mate, it's just a quiz; enjoy yourself.
+3
level 65
Nov 6, 2017
It's hard to enjoy a quiz if the rules are not appropriately defined. Specially in a test such as this one, since among the countries with greater living standards are many small ones in one sense or another (Luxembourg, Andorra, Singapore,...)
+3
level 74
Jul 14, 2017
So, Singapore doesn't classify as a "small country?"
+3
level 19
Aug 22, 2017
it's by population
+2
level 74
Nov 3, 2017
Where does it say that? Should be better explained.
+3
level 68
Jul 14, 2017
SWITZERLAND!!!! :D
+3
level 58
Nov 3, 2017
GERMANY!!!!! What are we doing?
+1
level 51
Nov 3, 2017
Go Australia! We may be number 2 on this list but we're number 1 on your list of where you'd like to be right now.
+1
level 20
Nov 3, 2017
czechoslovakia
+4
level 37
Nov 3, 2017
Every time i asked someone who lived in another Country which country they'd like to live in, 99% of them said Canada, one said Australia.
+1
level 56
Aug 31, 2018
I tend to agree with SeanersaurusRex. Canada would definitely be my choice as best country in the world to live in. Sure Switzerland may be on top of the list, but apart from the health care, what exactly does it offer, besides out of reach shopping and expensive places to eat? Can your average Joe go to Switzerland and make a great life for himself, or would he want to? Canada has something for everyone from everywhere, and I believe it is their diversity that is their strength. I won't even mention the USA because right now it's the last place anyone should want to go to. I'm surprised they even made the cut, here. As for Australia, yeah ok. Maybe it's great too. But, seriously? It's so far from everywhere else.
+1
level 16
Aug 31, 2018
Leni, I’m not trying to start an argument but I’m just going to say that Switzerland is also neutral and doesn’t have enimes I don’t think. It would be good to be born in, and be safe during WW2
+1
level 1
Nov 3, 2017
DENMARKKKKKKKK :D
+1
level 38
Mar 1, 2018
UNITED STATES!!!!!
+1
level 66
Jul 14, 2017
The title of this quiz is driving the grammar nerd in me crazy. It should be, "Best Countries in Which to be Born". Yes, I am aware that this is nitpicking.
+1
level 70
Jul 22, 2017
I thought the grammar on the title is OK - what's wrong with it? And nice quiz, guys.
+1
level 57
Jul 22, 2017
I'm not completely sure, and thanks!
+8
level 67
Jul 24, 2017
Some people believe that you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition in English. That's because back in the olden days linguists tried to force the English (and many other languages) grammar to follow the rules of Latin as closely as possible, which of course is like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. Often trying to avoid finishing a sentence with a preposition leads to comically complex phrases, which is rarely desirable. The title is fine, as was the quiz! :)
+3
level 68
Nov 3, 2017
Good explanation. Plus, the title isn't a sentence, so it's even less of an issue.
+8
level 75
Nov 3, 2017
Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.
+1
level 52
Nov 3, 2017
Ending a sentence with a preposition is something I won't put up with.
+1
level 81
Jul 15, 2017
Source says it is data collected from 80 countries and gives no explanation as to why the other 116 countries are 'ignored'. ... Meanwhile, I only speak English, so I guess I'm pretty lucky I was born in an English speaking country.
+4
level 57
Jul 15, 2017
Note that the Englishest-speaking country is missing from this list: the UK. No wonder with their wacky NHS and inflammable housing.
+1
level 56
Nov 3, 2017
What's wacky about the NHS?
+4
level 65
Nov 3, 2017
First, the UK isn't the Englishest-speaking country - there's a quiz on that somewhere. Re the NHS - it's well-intentioned, and venerated as a sacred part of the national infrastructure, but it's under-funded and it's a huge (almost Soviet-style) bureaucracy. Quality of patient experience varies wildly - I've personally experienced both excellent and dreadful. You generally get treated as some kind of traitor if you point out that most other countries with universal healthcare seem to do it better (France is a particular good and particularly nearby example), but that doesn't stop it being true. Impressive that the US makes the list given its lack of universal healthcare, actually - shows how highly it must score in other areas.
+2
level 77
Nov 3, 2017
What a dumb statement elbi. Wacky NHS? It's fine and would be even better if non-UK patients all settled their NHS treatment bills. Inflammable housing? One tower block had a tragic accident and the UK now has inflammable housing? I'd better warn my neighbours then!
+1
level 56
Nov 3, 2017
Utt, oh....Trumpoid alert
+2
level 57
Nov 3, 2017
Yeah, lucky I wasn't born in South Korea, since I don't speak Korean. Phew, close call!
+4
level 47
Jul 15, 2017
I thought about typing Israel but didn't think it would be here since it said "safe". The only one I missed.
+1
level 15
May 22, 2018
only democracy in the middle east, more safe than saudi arabia for women that's for sure
+2
level 65
Aug 31, 2018
Yup, as long as you're not Palestinian.
+1
level 32
Jul 15, 2017
Please specify whether small means in size or population, as Iceland is bigger in area than South Korea, Ireland, Taiwan, and Belgium (I think). Apart from that great quiz
+2
level 76
Jul 15, 2017
Kind of surprised to find Japan and UK not on the list. Also, the UAE is only good to be born in if you're born as a citizen (less than a 15% chance as I recall), otherwise relatively crappy.
+2
level 63
Oct 24, 2017
To be born as a male citizen is even better, I would assume.
+1
level 74
Nov 3, 2017
Like all such lists based on a small number of data points there are going to be blind spots and those blind spots are illuminated best by countries that might score well in the criteria they consider while being far behind in other areas. The UAE being the best example on this list. And while Israel is a very nice and well-developed country (and safe most of the time), I'm guessing they didn't include some parts of the West Bank or any of Gaza.
+1
level 69
Aug 1, 2017
I would love to know the parameters of this. UAE is a tiny country surrounded by very violent and larger Muslim countries. Germany's violence (especially rapes) has been increasing due to those Muslim's fleeing the Middle East for asylum countries like Germany. And South Korea has an insane dictator playing with nukes like they are building blocks for a five-year-old right on it's border constantly threatening to invade. I would imagine the UK, Portugal and/or Spain would be safer and more stable than any one of those three.
+2
level 19
Aug 24, 2017
based off of Material well-being as measured by GDP per capita (in $, at 2006 constant PPPS) Life expectancy at birth The quality of family life based primarily on divorce rates The state of political freedoms Job security (measured by the unemployment rate) Climate (measured by two variables: the average deviation of minimum and maximum monthly temperatures from 14 degrees Celsius; and the number of months in the year with less than 30mm rainfall) Personal physical security ratings (based primarily on recorded homicide rates and ratings for risk from crime and terrorism) quality of community life (based on membership in social organisations) governance (measured by ratings for corruption) gender equality (measured by the share of seats in parliament held by women)
+3
level 58
Sep 2, 2017
South Korea has a dictator? What?
+3
level 58
Nov 6, 2017
You didn't read the entire sentence.
+1
level 75
Feb 10, 2018
^ It wasn't a very well-composed sentence to be fair.
+1
level 63
Oct 24, 2017
The data is from 2013. Even if what you say about the crime rates in Germany is true, the refugee wave started only in 2015, so this factor could not have been taken into account yet.
+7
level 72
Nov 3, 2017
Congratulations, this rates among the most ignorant comments I have ever read on this site.
+2
level 74
Nov 3, 2017
Finish reading the sentence, guys. He said the dictator was playing on the border.

That said, the UAE borders Saudi Arabia and Oman. Neither are "very violent." Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world and Oman, by Middle Eastern standards, is downright pleasant. South Korea is a beautiful and peaceful country in spite of technically being at war with the north since the 1950s, and we can hope that the bluster from Pyongyang is not turned into all out catastrophe by the idiot currently occupying the White House; most analysts believe that it won't be. Germany and Scandinavia certainly have their problems, Muslim/South Asian rape gangs amongst them, though you'll find plenty of those in the UK as well. Shockingly large numbers of them, actually, many ineffectively prosecuted by police for fear of appearing racist. Meanwhile Iberia is still dealing with economic recession and massive unemployment. And they have immigrants, too.
+2
level 72
Nov 3, 2017
I've read the whole statement about South Korea, doesn't make it any less ignorant. Same goes for all the other the drivel in the original post. Germany and Scandinavia might have their issues, to which I'm not blind, but they consistently rank amongst the safest nations in the world regarding violent crime, yes even today. Media like to make the most out of sensational events, certainly does not mean it is part of daily reality. As you correctly point out, the UK scores much worse on such metrics, as do almost all developed nations. Putting Spain and Portugal ahead of Germany despite massive youth unemployment is simply laughable.
+1
level 74
Nov 3, 2017
kolp.... the ignorance in the comment you're calling out is still nowhere near as bad as that in the comments made on this site every day about the USA. See luxint's below, for example.
+1
level 72
Nov 4, 2017
Let's agree to disagree. I also get annoyed by the constant anti-americanism btw, as evidenced in quite a few of my post. There seems to be a complete inability for some to distinguish the rare and extraordinary (mass shootings, mass sexual harassment) from the ordinary.
+1
level 49
Nov 6, 2017
I think we can all agree that the world is deteriorating, even though we don't want it to.
+1
level 74
Jan 31, 2018
No we can't. At what point in history was the world better than it is today?
+1
level 58
Aug 3, 2017
¿Where is France and Spain? Only Spain Is better than most on the list.
+1
level 29
Aug 18, 2017
2:53 left
+4
level 58
Aug 29, 2017
Safe... Do you have to stay inside in Australia or does this include going out into the wirld with all the poisonous and dangerous animals that can kill you? IT'S A JOKE.
+2
level 52
Oct 18, 2017
Please accept "ROK" for South Korea.
+2
level 60
Nov 3, 2017
Israel? Yeah, right...
+2
level 60
Nov 3, 2017
Yeah #1!
+1
level 43
Nov 3, 2017
UAE...
+1
level 49
Nov 3, 2017
Strange.. I tried North Korea three times and nothing.
+1
level 72
Nov 3, 2017
That Kim jong-il seems to have been born in something good
+1
level 56
Nov 3, 2017
Saudi Arabia and Israel and not France or UK. Hahaha!
+1
level 72
Nov 3, 2017
Saudi Arabia is not in the list though...
+2
level 74
Nov 3, 2017
Israel over France and the UK makes pretty good sense. Saudi wouldn't... but as kolp pointed out it's not on here. Maybe you're confusing Saudi Arabia with the United Arab Emirates? I've lost track of how many people I've known who didn't know the difference between the two.
+1
level 74
Nov 3, 2017
Since everyone is obviously too lazy to make a single click, here's a breakdown of the criteria:

The independent variables in the estimating equation for 2006 include:
Material well-being as measured by GDP per capita (in $, at 2006 constant PPPS)
Life expectancy at birth
The quality of family life based primarily on divorce rates
The state of political freedoms
Job security (measured by the unemployment rate)
Climate (measured by two variables: the average deviation of minimum and maximum monthly temperatures from 14 degrees Celsius; and the number of months in the year with less than 30mm rainfall)
Personal physical security ratings (based primarily on recorded homicide rates and ratings for risk from crime and terrorism)
Quality of community life (based on membership in social organisations)
Governance (measured by ratings for corruption)
Gender equality (measured by the share of seats in parliament held by women)
+1
level 74
Nov 3, 2017
My thoughts on this:
CLIMATE! yes finally a list that includes that. But... but... wtf!!?? FOURTEEN!!!?? 14 is NOT the ideal temperature. It would be maybe 25. Is this organization based in Iceland?

Material well-being, fine. Though I don't think GDP tells the whole story maybe include happiness index or suicide rates.

I would not count divorce rates as a bad thing. Having a realistic understanding of relationship dynamics and acknowledging that sometimes marriages ought to end is a good thing. Much better than, say, the Philippines where divorce is illegal. Though better to not get married at all.

Unemployment rate: probably as I guessed before a big part of why Spain is omitted.
+1
level 72
Nov 4, 2017
Not a lot of information is given on the calculation method for climate, but going by some logical metrics, countries scoring well on this criteria would have a climate similar to that of the south of France. Makes it a pretty good benchmark I guess, though still too warm for me.
+1
level 54
Sep 22, 2018
25 might be the ideal temperature but this is measured as an average deviation. If it were an average deviation from 25 that would mean 60 degrees was as good as -10. I have experienced temperatures of -10 degrees (I think), and though it wasn't anywhere near ideal I didn't die. At 60 degrees (which it has never been anywhere ever on Earth since records began) I think it would be very difficult to survive for extended periods of time.
+1
level 74
Nov 3, 2017
Homicide rates: fair to look at. Though, while insecure Europeans *desperate* to find anything to cling to to prop up their sanctimonious condemnation of Americans as inferior love to jump on the lower homicide rates in *some* European countries as justification for her smugness, the difference in probability that you will be murdered in any of these countries is absolutely minuscule. The chance that you'll be the victim of terrorism is even less. Yes, even in Israel.

governance: hard to measure accurately.

gender equality: Good to include. But I can think of far better ways to measure this.
+1
level 55
Nov 3, 2017
If everyone in the world were told that their children had to live in another country other than the one they currently live in (and using only the criteria of health, safety and prosperity to decide), the vast majority would choose the United States. But the USA is 15th on their list. So this is a list of someone's idea of what the answer should be, but not what actual people would choose.
+1
level 74
Nov 3, 2017
It's based on data points which I listed above. Of course someone had to choose which data points to factor in but aside from that it's not really a matter of opinion, with a few exception (such as the thing I pointed out above about the ideal temperature being a frigid 14 degrees Celsius.)
+1
level 74
Nov 3, 2017
Incidentally I think there is another quiz on the site somewhere about which countries people most want to emigrate to. The USA obviously was at the top of the list for that one. But... maybe that's just a result of better PR? Hollywood? The fact that the US is full of immigrants and many people around the world have family there already? I don't think it's objectively the best place in the world to try and immigrate to. Howevver that's different from being the best place in the world to be born in.
+1
level 39
Dec 5, 2017
People who only know about the US from TV and movies would probably choose to live there but most educated people wouldn't. The list is based on different criteria (like unemployment, life expectancy, gender equality) that try to objectively measure which countries would be the best to live in. No one claimed that those were the countries people would choose to live in.
+2
level 74
Jan 31, 2018
Only ignorant people would try to claim that the US was somehow a bad place to live due to economics, life expectancy, or gender equality. It's not a product of poor education that people want to go there, though yes, American culture as depicted in Hollywood movies is definitely part of the draw. No need to smear immigrants to the US as uneducated just to prop up your own biases. I made a similar point immediately before yours but didn't feel the need to tag on the uneducated thing.
+3
level 56
Nov 3, 2017
For Israel I'm sure it's great to be born a Jew but not a Palestinian
+1
level 63
Nov 3, 2017
even Palestinian Jews are not safe
+1
level 74
Nov 3, 2017
if by "Palestinian" you mean Israeli Muslim or Israeli Christian or Israeli who self-identifies as "Arab"... it's still far, far better to be born in Israel than in... Egypt, or Lebanon, or Jordan, or Syria, or Saudi Arabia, or Iraq, or the Islamic State, or Sudan, or Somalia, or Djibouti, or Eritrea, or Libya, or Iran, or Turkey, or Armenia.... those are your options in the area.
If by "Palestinian" you mean non-Israeli citizen born to parents from the "West Bank"... well... even if you live out your entire life in Ramallah or Nablus, you're going to be much better off than the average Syrian, Egyptian, Iraqi or resident of Daesh and you'll enjoy much better freedoms and opportunities than residents of Saudi Arabia or Iran. And you would also have greater opportunity to become an Israeli citizen than residents of Beirut or Amman which, if you pursued, would make your life better.
If by "Palestinian" you mean resident of Gaza, yeah, that would suck.
+1
level 56
Nov 3, 2017
Great to see you are still out there, patrolling and giving comment in a detailed way. What would JetPunk do without you? Every site needs an........
+1
level 76
Nov 3, 2017
Intellectual who knows what he’s talking about most of the time? I think that’s how that sentence goes.
+1
level 74
Nov 4, 2017
If Napoleon Bonaparte can find time to whisper from the great beyond his thoughts on what it means to be born in Israel, I can find time to answer back with my own.
+1
level 56
Nov 4, 2017
Thank the lord for Kalby. He (for he must be a he, surely Shirley) is a much needed JP eccentric. It gives him a role, if nothing else...gawd bless ya KB!
+1
level 45
Nov 3, 2017
"Does not include small countries" Includes Singapore Haha
+1
level 58
Nov 3, 2017
I would not want to be born in Israel. Not now, not ever !
+1
level 24
Nov 3, 2017
Taiwan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
+1
level 15
Nov 3, 2017
OH MY GOSH. TAIWAN'S ACTUALLY ON THERE!!! WHOOOO HOO!
+2
level 58
Nov 4, 2017
Living in New Zealand and loving it.
+1
level 55
Nov 4, 2017
America is pretty far down the list in the minds of whoever created this list. It's the most guessed answer however, so I think we can see who's winning in the court of public opinion :-)
+1
level 74
Nov 4, 2017
it's based on numbers not opinion.
+1
level 39
Dec 5, 2017
Or maybe people guess their own country first and most user are from the US?
+1
level 30
Nov 4, 2017
Poeple who do not know much about the UAE need to educate themselves. You will be surprised how good they have it there in the UAE, esp. Dubai. Dubai is like a paradise....15 million tourist every year visit it. They are surely doing something right.
+1
level 74
Nov 4, 2017
Social welfare is incredibly strong... probably to the point of being excessive there. The government is very wealthy. It's GDP per capita score is probably the thing that gives it the most points on the above criteria. There are other problems with the UAE, though, and it falls short in most of the other metrics used for the list.
+1
level 54
Nov 5, 2017
Interesting...USA comes in at 16th, but then why in heck does everybody and their cousins try to get in here by hook or crook, risking their lives in many cases?
+1
level 39
Nov 6, 2017
Because they're not here yet. Or want to come for nefarious purposes.
+1
level 32
Nov 5, 2017
Taiwan isn't even a country
+1
level 45
Nov 6, 2017
So Israël and the USA before Spain or France or even Italy ? Well, it is done by an US organisation I suppose... :')
+1
level 70
Nov 7, 2017
Israel and UAE on the list. And into the trash it goes.
+2
level 74
Nov 10, 2017
best way to deal with any information that contradicts your opinions.
+1
level 36
Nov 9, 2017
Interesting quiz! <3 Israel <3
+2
level 74
Nov 10, 2017
Both the Americans crying about the USA placing less than 1st, and the Europeans crying about the USA placing at all or above whatever country they happen to be from: you both look pathetic. And most of the people here commenting on the Middle East appear simply ignorant. Not going to reply to every one of you individually so this takes care of all of them...
+1
level 51
Nov 11, 2017
Netherlands!! :)
+1
level 39
Dec 5, 2017
Most of the countries are pretty obvious except for Israel. It doesn't really seem like a safe country... And it might be a good idea to clarify that "small" country refers to population not area and maybe add the exact cutoff point. Otherwise excluding Iceland for being too small but including Singapore doesn't make any sense.
+1
level 74
Jan 31, 2018
It's an extremely safe country. Beautiful. Vibrant. Full of friendly people. Well developed. Clean. Rich in history and culture. I lived there for a while. Have you ever been?
+1
level 8
Jan 30, 2018
Taiwan is the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
+1
level 8
Jan 31, 2018
I was born there, stuff is so cheap
+1
level 27
Feb 15, 2018
I was expecting Slovenia, Estonia, Japan, Chile, Uruguay, and Hungary to be here.
+2
level 46
Mar 5, 2018
What? The US is guessed most? There are way more countries where you live better.
+1
level 74
Aug 31, 2018
All much smaller, less populous, less influential, and less obvious answers, though.
+1
level 65
May 14, 2018
The absence of Japan surprised me. In my opinion it's definately better to be born in Japan than (most of) The US
+1
level 74
Aug 31, 2018
If by "most of" you're speaking purely in terms of geographic area I think I probably agree with you. If by "most you" you're talking about the urban and suburban areas where the majority of Americans are born, then I think you're probably wrong. However, I would much rather be born in Japan than in the United Arab Emirates. If this list were based on opinion and not a simple calculation then I would find this odd.
+1
level 35
Aug 31, 2018
I don't even know why The United States is on this list? And, yes. I'm American
+1
level 74
Aug 31, 2018
See my post above about the criteria. It's objective and based on numbers, not opinion. You've been brainwashed into hating your own country or falsely believing that the grass is greener elsewhere.
+1
level 35
Aug 31, 2018
What about UK
+1
level 74
Aug 31, 2018
Based on the criteria I detailed above if I had to guess I would say 1. high divorce rate 2. lower GDP per capita than many other countries on the list (using Purchasing Power Parity, due to the high cost of living in the UK) 3. higher crime rates than many Western European countries (though the difference is even more negligible than the difference between the US and those same Western European countries) 4. and they were probably docked points for climate due to all the rain.
+1
level 54
Aug 31, 2018
Wikipedia should never be used as a source because it's always citing another source itself. In this case, it's citing an Economist article from 2012 making predictions about the best places to be born in 2013. The data was already kinda stale when this quiz was made in 2017. Beyond that, there was highly subjective primary research done and even the objective secondary research is rife with cultural biases. But what it does do really, really well is start conversations about these sorts of ideas and what we should be valuing, and that is important.
+1
level 66
Sep 1, 2018
This quiz should be in 2 parts: 1) Which country is it best to be Born Rich in? ....... 2) Which country is it best to be Born Poor in? ........ Many so called poor countries have the richest people living the life of Gods ..... and some 'Rich countries' have plenty of poverty.
+1
level 48
Sep 1, 2018
UAE? Not if you're gay!
+1
level 51
Sep 18, 2018
Seems just a bit biased in favor of the West
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