Hong Kong slips down 'best place for babies' league
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Property prices are out of reach, there's a wide wealth gap and the air pollution is terrible - yet Hong Kong is the world's 10th best place for a baby to be born in 2013, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
But that was three positions lower than in the last study in 1988 by EIU, a sister company to The Economist magazine.
Singapore, No 6, has edged Hong Kong out as the best place in Asia for a child to be born.
For Sze Lai-shan, of the Society for Community Organisation welfare group, it depends on which family one is born into. "Hong Kong may be a heaven for wealthy people, but it's also a hell for the destitute group," she said.
For 2013, the mainland languishes at a dismal 49th place, which means that other than stellar economic growth, things have not improved much over the past two decades. Taiwan came in 14th, outpacing South Korea at 19th, and Japan, 25th.
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 above the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
Uncle Sam's sharp drop was attributed to the need for 2013 newborns to "inherit the large debts of the boomer generation".
European countries such as Germany, France and Britain did not perform well either, mainly because of the uncertainties of the euro-zone financial crisis. Germany fell from No 3 in 1988, right before unification with its eastern counterpart, to 16th place for 2013, tied with the US.
The top 10 saw a handful of Scandinavian and Oceanic countries. Switzerland takes over as the best country for a baby.
The EIU looked at 11 "statistically significant" indicators and took into account a wide range of life-satisfaction surveys. The study was conducted in 80 countries or regions; the mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong were measured separately.