Nigeria – worst country for a baby to enter the world in 2013?

Nigeria is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. However, if a new index by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is to be believed, Nigeria is also the worst country to be born in the year 2013.

American billionaire investor Warren Buffett has attributed much of his success to being born in the right country at the right time. He has suggested that if he was born a hundred years earlier in a country like Afghanistan, for example, he would probably not have been able to amass such great wealth.

So which are the best countries for a baby to enter the world in 2013? This is the question the EIU wanted to answer in its new where-to-be-born index.

Switzerland (1st), Australia (2nd) and Norway (3rd) emerged as the top three countries, while Kenya (79th) and Nigeria (80th) feature at the bottom of the list of 80 countries. Africa didn’t do well in the ranking as no country from the continent is placed in the top half. In overall 53rd place, South Africa is the best performing African country.

African countries in the 2013 where-to-be-born index
CountryOverall rank
1.South Africa53

To compile the index, the EIU measured the quality of life based on a methodology that links the results of subjective life satisfaction surveys to the objective determinants of the quality of life across countries. The determinants are a mix of fixed factors, such as geography, factors that change only very slowly over time (demography, many social and cultural characteristics), and some economic factors that depend on policies and the state of the world economy. The determinants of the quality of life include GDP per capita; life expectancy at birth; the quality of family life; the state of political freedoms; job security; climate; personal physical security; the quality of community life; governance and gender equality.

The EIU didn’t just rely on a snapshot of today. Even though many of the drivers of the quality of life are slow-changing, some variables such as income per head need to be forecast. For this, it made use of long-term economic forecasts to 2030, the year that children born in 2013 will approximately reach adulthood.