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Irish beat Swiss to top quality of life survey

The Swiss have something to smile about Keystone Archive

Switzerland has taken the silver medal in a global quality of life survey published by the London-based “Economist”.

This content was published on November 18, 2004 - 15:46

Ireland topped the poll, which rated more than 100 countries based on criteria including income, health, unemployment, climate and political stability.

According to the survey’s authors, Ireland is officially the best place to live in the world.

But Switzerland also scores well, coming in ahead of Norway, Luxembourg and Sweden. Zimbabwe brought up the rear end, coming in in 111th position.

Apart from Australia, which came in sixth, all the countries in the top ten were European. The United States came 13th, while Britain scraped into the top 30 in 29th place.

“Some countries did well when it came to material well-being, but less well in some of the other factors,” said The Economist’s Daniel Franklin.

“But Switzerland scored highly across the range of criteria,” he told swissinfo.

Not just economics

Unlike other surveys, which tend to focus on economic output and GDP, researchers at The Economist took a range of criteria into account – including factors such as “stability of the family and community life”.

Gender equality and climate were also assessed during the research and evaluation stages.

“Simply measuring economic well-being doesn’t capture the full quality of life,” said Franklin.

“We have tried to go beyond this… to get a broader measure of relative well-being in a new and interesting way.”

Room for improvement

Franklin says there is room for improvement, even for countries at the top of the table.

“Ireland falls behind slightly on climate, as you might imagine, and gender equality, but does particularly well in all the other factors,” he said.

“Switzerland is known for its civic virtues and strong sense of community, as well as [high] life expectancy. But clearly what will matter in future is continued economic growth.”

Franklin points to the “danger” that Switzerland could “fall behind in the economic stakes”.

“It will also have to hold on to some of the community and family structures that really matter for quality of life.”

swissinfo

Key facts

Top five countries:

Ireland
Switzerland
Norway
Luxembourg
Sweden

Bottom five countries (starting with last):

Zimbabwe
Haiti
Botswana
Nigeria
Tanzania

End of insertion

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