photo: Richard Harris
In this report The Economist
has ranked "which country will be the best for a baby born in 2013." They picked 80 countries and used these criteria: "Its quality-of-life index links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys—how happy people say they are—to objective determinants of the quality of life across countries. 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. In all, the index takes 11 statistically significant indicators into account. They are a mixed bunch: some are fixed factors, such as geography; others change only very slowly over time (demography, many social and cultural characteristics); and some factors depend on policies and the state of the world economy.
A forward-looking element comes into play, too. Although many of the drivers of the quality of life are slow-changing, for this ranking some variables, such as income per head, need to be forecast. We use the EIU’s economic forecasts to 2030, which is roughly when children born in 2013 will reach adulthood."
Belgium came in at 15 with a rating of 7.51, so in the top 18%. In terms of its immediate neighbors, it came in behind The Netherlands (#8, rating: 7.94) but ahead of Germany (#16, tie with the US, rating: 7.38) and France (#26, rating: 7.04) and the UK (#27, rating: 7.01). Belgium's other immediate neighbor Luxembourg is not one of the 80 countries.
Of course, the reality is probably quite different, for instance, in the US where wealth has gotten so concentrated in the top few percent, many people's experience is probably less rosy than its position at #16 indicates.