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Born in the USA? Too Bad

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Researchers have compiled a list of the best countries for babies to be born in, and the United States doesn't even crack the top 10.

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America prides itself on being the land of opportunity, where anyone can make a better life for himself. But editors at The Economist are taking exception to that notion.

They have turned to their colleagues at a sister company, the Economist Intelligence Unit, for metrics to determine the best places for babies to be born in 2013.

The Economist used the group's economic forecasts to 2030 to figure out where children born this year might be, financially and otherwise, when they reach adulthood.

It also looked at a variety of factors -- such as geography, demographics, state of the world economy, personal income and security -- to come up with its conclusions.

According to The Economist, given all those indicators, where is the luckiest place for a baby to be born in 2013?

Here are the top 10 countries for a newborn to have "the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead."
  1. Switzerland
  2. Australia
  3. Norway
  4. Sweden
  5. Denmark
  6. Singapore
  7. New Zealand
  8. Netherlands
  9. Canada
  10. Hong Kong
"America," according to the magazine, "where babies will inherit the large debts of the boomer generation, languishes back in 16th place."

Nigeria comes in last.

The Economist notes that "despite their economic dynamism," none of the so-called BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- did well on the list, either.

The magazine acknowledges its list has a lot of smaller economies in the top 10.

The current global economic crisis, it says, has also "left a deep imprint" in the eurozone, affecting unemployment and personal security there. The Netherlands was the only eurozone nation to make it into the top 10.

Of course, as with all top 10 lists, a lot of The Economist's findings are arbitrary.

"Quibblers will, of course, find more holes in all this than there are in a chunk of Swiss cheese," says the magazine, which also notes that, speaking of Swiss cheese, Switzerland rates high on its "yawn index."

And regarding Switerland's dubious standing as the top place to be born, the magazine quotes a line from Orson Welles' villainous character in the classic postwar movie "The Third Man":

"In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

Editor's Note: This story by Bruce Kennedy was originally published on MSN moneyNOW.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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