Verifying the where-to-be-born index
Which country can provide a child born in the year 2013 the oppourtunities needed for a safe, prosperous and healthy life in the coming years? The Economist Intelligence Unit‘s earnest attempt to find out has produced the where-to-be-born index (quality of life index) which shows Switzerland is the best country for a baby to enter the world in 2013 while Nigeria is the worst. Even Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest men in the world attributed his success to being born in the right country (USA at the time). It is worth noting that there are about 196 +/- 1 countries in the world and the index ranks just 80 of them. The index was calculated based on 11 indicators, some like geography are fixed while others like demography change over time.
Being born in the right country at the right time can be a recipe for success.
First published in 1988, the US was ranked number 1 out of 50 countries, a quarter of a century later it has fallen to 16 while China fell 17 places to 49. Both countries have a combined economy about 4 times larger than the combined economies of the top ten countries in the index. The index uses economic forecasts of 2013 to 2030 when children born in 2013 would have reached adulthood, the indicators include material wellbeing (GDP per head), life expectancy at birth, quality of family life (divorce rates), political freedoms, job security, climate, personal physical security (crime, terrorism and homicide rates), quality of community life (membership in social organizations), governance (corruption) and gender equality (share of seats in parliament held by women).
Plotting the trend back in time (1988) using publicly available data and forecasting to 2017, the where-to-be-born index can be expanded, showing how the top 5 countries, bottom 5 countries and the 2 largest economies in the world have progressed over time in terms of GDP per head which explains some two thirds of the variation in the quality of life index.
The index can be further expanded to include many other indicators (you gotta love google) which were not considered in the economist’s calculation such as ICT;
the environment (a totally different chart when viewed per capita);
The analysis is pretty much spot on, the best countries show positive trends all through as indicated in the report, the bottom countries occupy their rightful place while the US and China carry on with their tug of war in the middle. Interesting piece by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).