A new global survey has ranked Australia the second best country to be born in, in 2013, only behind the chocolate-loving, watch-making Switzerland.|
Eighty countries were ranked against 11 statistical indicators from national wealth, life expectancy, crime rates, weather, family ties and political freedom to what today's newborns can hope to earn in 2030 to compile a where-to-be-born index.
Essentially a ''lottery of life'' league table, the index found babies born in landlocked Switzerland the ''luckiest'', narrowly ahead of Australia, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
New Zealand ranked seventh on the index, well ahead of the Old Dart at 27, while researchers from the Economist Intelligence Unit - a sister research company to The Economist magazine - named Nigeria as the worst place to start life.
Australia jumped 11 places since a similar survey of 50 countries was done in 1988 that ranked the US No.1 and Britain seventh.
EIU forecasting director Laza Kekic said the league table was "deadly serious'' because place of birth would become increasingly important as the world faced an uncertain future.
''It earnestly attempts to measure which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead,'' he said.
''However, there is surely a lot to be said for boring stability in today's, and no doubt tomorrow's, uncertain times.''
Small economies dominated the top 10 with Nordic countries shining compared with the crisis-ridden south of Europe such as Greece (ranked 34), Portugal (30) and Spain (28) despite their favourable climate.
Singapore and Hong Kong were the only two Asian places to make the top 10.