Lucky country ... Index rates Australian babies as among the luckiest in the world.

Lucky country ... Index rates Australian babies as among the luckiest in the world.

They say we live in the lucky country, and babies born in Australia in 2013 are almost the luckiest in the world – in fact, they’re second only to those born in Switzerland.

That’s according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which created the ‘2013 where-to-be-born index ’. The index aims to reveal which country gives the most opportunities for a “healthy, safe and prosperous life”, wrote Laza Kekic, the director of EIU’s country forecasting services, for The Economist

“Its quality-of-life index links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys – how happy people say they are – to objective determinants of life across countries,” Kekic said.

The 'where to be born' index, as published in <i>The Economist</i>

The 'where to be born' index, as published in The Economist

The index, also known as the “lottery of life”, takes into account 11 different statistically significant factors, including national crime rates, trust in public institutions, geography, policies, and national economy.

The forecasters also look at the economic future of the countries in 2030, when babies born in 2013 will reach adulthood, including the estimated average salary.

Switzerland nabbed the top spot with a score of 8.22 out of 10, with Australia’s score of 8.12 placing us at number two.

Rounding out the top five were the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Denmark, with other small economies filling in the top 10 – including New Zealand at number seven.

At number 16, America trails behind much of Europe, which can be partially explained by the fact that babies will inherit large debts of the boomer generation, Kekic wrote.

The global financial crisis also played a role in the scores of European countries – not just on the financial ratings,  as Kekic points out, but also “on unemployment and personal security … In doing so, it has eroded both family and community life”.

Of the 80 countries included in the index, Nigeria placed last.

Read about the methodology behind the study on The Economist's website