Ireland has  been declared one of the best countries to be born in according to The Economist.

A new survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has ranked Ireland 12th among 80 other countries in terms of the life chances of babies born in 2013.

Despite the terrible weather, recession, and Irish people emigrating to countries such as Australia and America, the EIU rated Ireland ahead of Germany (joint 16th) and France (26th). Ireland was ranked 15 spots ahead of the UK (27th) and ranked above the US (joint 16th).

Ireland is rated behind Australia (2nd), New Zealand (7th) and Canada (9th), other favourite destinations for the current generation of Irish emigrants.

According to the survey, Switzerland is said to have a reputation for being the most dull place, but also the best country in the world to be born in.

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The EIU used 11 different tools to rank the 80 countries. Prosperity, both present and projected, was the main indicator. Other criteria included life expectancy, quality of family life, trust in public institutions, health, education, crime and contentment as measured in personal satisfaction surveys.

Ireland still rates high in levels of reported satisfaction, but understandably low in terms of climate.

The EIU survey is similar to the one carried out by the Economist magazine, which found Ireland to be the best country to live in back in 2004.

The survey differs in its attempts to measure what life will be like for a child born in 2013 who enters adult life in 2030.

According to the Irish Times, the regional director of the EIU and one of the authors of the survey, Laza Kekic, said the results showed smaller countries are better to live in than big countries.

“There seems to be a positive small country effect,” he said. “Many of the large countries fall down on things like health, life expectancy, while quality of family and community life are not great,” he said, citing the examples of the US and the UK, which have high divorce rates.

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Mr Kekic said Ireland retained many of its strengths, most notably family and social cohesion, while remaining a prosperous country relatively speaking.

He added: “I’ve been asked why Ireland is so high in views of all these troubles, but you have to keep things in perspective.”

“When you look at the profile of Ireland and its general economic wealth despite the crisis, it is relatively well placed.”

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