Sweden is the 4th best place to be born in 2013, a new global survey laying bare the "lottery of life" reveals.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a sister company of the Economist, polled people in 80 nations to find out which countries have the highest quality of life and which countries would give babies a "healthy, safe and prosperous life".

"Being rich helps more than anything else, but it is not all that counts; things like crime, trust in public institutions and the health of family life matter, too," observed Laza Kekić, director of country forecasting services at the EIU.

Switzerland topped the chart, scoring 8.22 out of 10, followed by Australia and Norway. Sweden came in at number four, scoring 8.02 points.

"Yes, it’s yet another international ranking on individual well-being where the Nordic countries come out on top", the Washington Post wrote.

The study concluded that crisis-ridden south of Europe (Greece, Portugal and Spain) lags behind despite the advantage of a favourable climate. The largest European economies (Germany, France and Britain) do not do particularly well.

America, where babies will inherit the large debts of the boomer generation, languishes back in 16th place. Despite their economic dynamism, none of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) scores impressively.

Among the 80 countries covered, Nigeria comes last: it is the worst place for a baby to enter the world in 2013.

Small economies dominate the top ten.

Despite economic turbulence and general day-to-day hardship, the Economist point out our era of time is not as bad as it might seem.

"Despite the global economic crisis, times have in certain respects never been so good. Output growth rates have been declining across the world, but income levels are at or near historic highs.

"Life expectancy continues to increase steadily and political freedoms have spread across the globe, most recently in north Africa and the Middle East.

"In other ways, however, the crisis has left a deep imprint—in the euro zone, but also elsewhere—particularly on unemployment and personal security. In doing so, it has eroded both family and community life.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 15 January 2013 04:03)