Best place to be born isn’t the good ‘ol US of A…it’s Switzerland

The Economist magazine released it’s results from a study on where they believe the best places to be born (right now) are in the world.  America came in 16th, behind:

  1. Switzerland (pop. 8 million)
  2. Australia (pop. 22 million)
  3. Norway (pop. 5 million)
  4. Sweden (pop. 9 million)
  5. Denmark (pop. 5 million)
  6. Singapore (pop. 5 million)
  7. New Zealand (pop. 4.5 million)
  8. Netherlands (pop. 16.7 million)
  9. Canada (pop. 35 million)
  10. Hong Kong (pop. 7 million)
  11. Finland (pop. 5.4 million)
  12. Ireland (4.5 million)
  13. Austria (pop. 22.9 million)
  14. Taiwan (pop. 23 million)
  15. Belgium (pop. 11 million)
  16. USA (and Germany) (USA pop. 310 million)
    These lists are always interesting.  Whether you agree with the list or not, I’m always skeptical of ranking countries one way or the other.  There’s simply too many differences between nations to compare them effectively.  That said, as I scanned through this list I couldn’t help but feel like this wasn’t a fair comparison at all.  The United States was the only country in the top third of the list which had a significant population.  In fact, if you add up the 15 countries positioned before the US, you come to about 185 million total.  That’s just over half of the size of the US. 
    This is significant for many reasons (too many to go through in this blog post).  Could it be that the global challenges and responsibilities held by countries like Switzerland, Norway, Singapore, and New Zealand are vastly different that the United States’?  Of course they are.  Perhaps when The Economist reissues these results next year, it should examine some of the top States within the United States and compares them to these other countries.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the individual states like Indiana, Virginia, or Texas compare favorably to similarly-populated countries world-wide.