The Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister company of The Economist, used a quality-of-life index that links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys -- how happy people say they are -- to objective determinants of the quality of life across countries.
The researchers used data from 2006, collected by the Gallup Poll, and conducted a regression analysis for 11 significant indicators.
The independent variables included: material well-being as measured by gross domestic product per person; life expectancy at birth; the quality of family life, based primarily on divorce rates; the state of political freedoms; job security measured by the unemployment rate; climate measured the average deviation of minimum and maximum monthly temperatures and the number of months in the year with less than 1 inch of rainfall; personal physical security ratings based on homicide rates and ratings for risk from crime and terrorism; quality of community life; governance measured by ratings for corruption; gender equality measured by the share of seats in Parliament held by women.
Following Switzerland the best places for infants to be born in 2013 were: Australia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Singapore, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong, Finland, Ireland, Austria, Taiwan, Belgium, Germany tied with United States, United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Israel, The Economist said.
Despite their economic dynamism, none of the BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- scores impressively. Nigeria came in last.