World's best countries 2010

How We Ranked the World
In NEWSWEEK’s first-ever Best Countries special issue, we set out to answer a question that is at once simple and incredibly complex—if you were born today, which country would provide you the very best opportunity to live a healthy, safe, reasonably prosperous, and upwardly mobile life? Many organizations measure various aspects of national competitiveness. But none attempt to put them all together. For this special survey, then, NEWSWEEK chose five categories of national well-being—education, health, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and political environment—and compiled metrics within these categories across 100 nations. A weighted formula yielded an overall list of the world’s top 100 countries (for a look at the exact data points we used and how we weighted them, as well as how each country did across the various categories, check out newsweek.com). …the list tells us some important things about the world. For starters, smaller is often better. While there’s no denying the vitality of emerging-market giants like China or Brazil or Turkey, they are often bested by tiny nations like Slovenia or Estonia, according to the data, simply because it takes less effort for these countries to improve their overall levels of well-being.

Interactive infograph –There are some fascinating surprises in the list.

Why cold, dark, small, and depressive nations top the rankings.
Intuitively, one would think that people who are warm most of the year would be better off than people who are not. Yet Finland is in the No. 1 spot, and tropical Burkina Faso dead last at 100. The link between freezing and a high ranking becomes more explicable when the following dots are connected: a heated classroom is better than being outside chopping trees, hence education is important; moving briskly is good preventive medicine, thus health is robust; quality of life improves immensely when one must get as close to one’s beloved as possible to fend off the chill; the political environment is likewise better when governance is kept simple and equitable because it’s too cold to fight in the streets; and finally, economic dynamism is bound to be high among peoples who have learned to combat frostbite with a maximum of movement and the least expense of calories.

An off-beat list of best places to – fly a kite ( India), or best music (Mali) The World’s Real Winners

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