In 1988, when I was born, The Economist released a list of the best places to be born. South Africa came in at 40 with the top 5 consisting of the US, France, West Germany, Italy and Canada. That list has been updated for the coming 2013. South Africa has dropped to 53 and the new top 5 are Switzerland, Australia, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Canada is the only one of the original top 5 to still be in the top 10, in 9th place.
Of course such figures are rather generalised. You won’t usually be living in the country as a whole but in just a single city. To see the best cities in the world we need to go to Mercer’s 2011 Quality of Living survey. Cape Town, at 88, is the highest ranked city on the mainland of Africa with Port Louis (Mauritius) coming six points ahead. The top five cities are Vienna (Austria), Zurich (Switzerland), Auckland (New Zealand), Munich (Germany) and a tie for fifth between Düsseldorf (Germany) and Vancouver (Canada).
This seems to confirm what I would have already guessed, as far as living in Africa goes I’m in about the best situation I can be. On the other hand the best possible place, according to these two rankings anyway, would be Zurich. Of course there are many other factors that come into play, such as language issues, places of education or best place to be for your business. Still these rankings are at least interest as a general guide and, if we know what are considered the best places to live, we can try to emulate those places.