Ranking falls, but Hong Kong still in world's top 10 places to be born

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 November, 2012, 2:44pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 November, 2012, 7:56pm

Despite out-of-reach property prices and dangerous air pollution, Hong Kong is the world’s 10th best place for a baby to be born - at least according to a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The EIU, a sister company to The Economist magazine, looked at “11 statistically significant indicators” including geography, demography, social and cultural characteristics, policies and the economy as well as taking into account a wide range of different life-satisfaction surveys. The study was conducted in 80 countries, of which Hong Kong and China received separate rankings.

Hong Kong ranked seventh the last time the EIU’s report was published in 1988. Singapore, No 6 on the list, has since edged Hong Kong out as the best place in Asia for a child to be born. 

For 2013, China languishes at a dismal 49th place, which means that other than stellar economic growth things have not improved that much over the last twenty years.

The United States, which took the top spot in 1988, dropped out of the top 10 to a meagre 16th place, putting the country only slightly higher than the United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Israel.

The EIU attributed America’s big drop to 2013’s babies having to “inherit the large debts of the boomer generation”.

Large European economies such as Germany, France and Britain did not perform well either, mainly because of uncertain circumstances of the euro-zone financial crisis. Germany fell from No 3 in 1988, just before unification with its eastern counterpart, to 16th place for 2013.

Australia and a handful of Scandinavian countries dominate in the top 10, with Switzerland taking the top spot as the best place for a baby to be born.

According to The Economist, the next where-to-be-born index is scheduled for publication in 2030, when the children born in 2013 reach adulthood.

The world's top 10 countries to be born in

Rank Country Score (of 10)
1 Switzerland 8.22
2 Australia 8.12
3 Norway 8.09
4 Sweden 8.02
5 Denmark 8.01
6 Singapore 8.00
7 New Zealand 7.95
8 Netherlands 7.94
9 Canada 7.81
10 Hong Kong 7.80

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit