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Canada slips in Economist's best places to be born list

Canada pulls in at Number 9 in The Economist’s ranking of the best places to be born in 2013.

It’s a slight slip from the fifth place Canada held in the magazine’s slightly more whimsical 1988 list.

A quarter-century ago, The Economist gave Canada maximum bonus points for scenery and “having the most desirable passport,” as well as good marks for lack of cultural poverty. Canada got a predictably low score on the yawn index in 1988.

This time, the magazine said, its scores have turned “deadly serious.” Rankings are calculated through a mix of wealth, crime rate, trust in public institutions and the health of family life.

Quality of family life is based primarily on divorce rates, explained Laza Kekic of the Economist Intelligence Unit. Job security is calculated by unemployment rates and gender equality by the number of seats in parliament held by women.

Switzerland turns out to be the best of the 80 countries on the list; Nigeria is the worst. The African country was close to the bottom 25 years ago, too, but Iran, Iraq and Zimbabwe all tied for last place.

The U.S. plunged to 16th from first in 1988, since it could no longer capitalize on The Economist’s generous points for culture and not being boring.

That 1988 “yawn index” clobbered the Scandinavian countries rankings as well, none more so than Denmark which got hammered with the biggest boring and cultural poverty factors.

Least boring places on the planet 25 years ago, according to The Economist? Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Most culturally vibrant? The U.S., France and Italy. The last two, plus Japan, got extra points for food and Switzerland and Belgium for chocolate.

What’s The Economist worried about for U.S. babies born in 2013? They’re going to “inherit the large debts of the boomer generation.”

Scandinavian countries captured three of the top five spots this time. Canada found itself sandwiched between the Netherlands and Hong Kong on the 2013 list.

Europe’s big economies — France, Germany and Britain — struggled. Germany tied for 16th with the U.S., while France and Britain reached only 26 and 27 respectively, behind Chile, Cyprus and Japan.

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