Maps That Might Make You Rethink How You See the World

Swiss Children Will Be The Happiest in the World By 2030

In 2013, The Economist’s sister company, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), ranked the best places to be born, and “measure[d] which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead.” While they used life-satisfaction surveys to determine “how happy” citizens were, they also relied on more objective data like geography, climate and economy to generate the following rankings on each country’s quality of life:

Max Fisher/Washington Post

The EIU’s survey forecasts what life will be like when the children born throughout the world in 2013 will be approaching adulthood in 2030. The EIU ranked Switzerland in the premiere spot in their “Lottery of Life,” proving that life satisfaction can be quantifiable. Out of 10 possible points, much like the Olympics country ranking system, Switzerland scored 8.22, with Australia as a close runner-up at 8.12.

It’s no surprise that Switzerland comes in first, once you review some of their laws. Truly embracing Sunday as the day of rest, the Swiss not only consider it indecent but illegal to mow one’s lawn, hang one’s laundry or recycle bottles, all so citizens don’t disturb their neighbors. It is also illegal to flush goldfish down the toilet on any day of the week. All jokes aside, what lessons can we learn from their culture to improve the lives of the next generation?

Nordic countries fill out the top spots in the EIU survey: Norway (8.09), Sweden (8.02), and Denmark (8.01). Germany and the U.S. are tied for 16th place with 7.38 points. Due to the current economic climate, countries like the U.S. will fall behind because the next generation will inherit its debts, which are close to $18 trillion. Similarly, many struggling nations in the Euro zone (Greece, Portugal, and Spain) trail the more stable Nordic countries. Among the 80 countries ranked, Nigeria comes in last as the worst place for a baby to have entered the world in 2013.

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