According to a new study produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Switzerland is the best place to be born in the world in 2013, and the U.S. is just 16th.
The study says American babies will have a dimmer future than those born in Hong Kong, Ireland and even Canada.
The EIU, a sister company of The Economist, attempted to measure how well countries will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in years to come.
People born in Switzerland will tend to be the happiest and have the best quality of life judged in terms of wealth, health and trust in public institutions, according to the analysis.
The Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Denmark also all make the top five in a “quality-of-life” index highlighting where it is best to be born next year.
In 1988, the U.S. came top of a rank of 50 countries, though has not achieved the top spot since.
The index links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys – how happy people say they are – to objective determinants of quality of life across countries.
One of the most important factors is being rich, but other factors come into play – including crime, trust in public institutions and the health of family life.
In total, the index takes into account 11 indicators.
These include fixed factors such as geography, others that change slowly over time such as demography, social and cultural characteristics, and the state of the world economy.
The index also looks at income per head in 2030, which is roughly when children born in 2013 will reach adulthood.
Small economies dominate the top 10 countries, with Australia coming second and New Zealand and the Netherlands not too far behind.
Half of the top 10 countries are European, but only one, the Netherlands, is from the euro-zone.
The crisis-ridden south of Europe, including Greece, Portugal and Spain, lags behind despite the advantage of a favorable climate.
Interestingly, the largest European economies – Germany, France and Britain – do not do particularly well.
Nigeria has the unenviable title of being the worst country for a baby to enter the world in 2013.
Despite their economic dynamism, none of the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – score impressively.
Brazil ranked 37, China came in 49th and India was 66th and Russia came in 72nd out of 80 countries listed in the index.