Dateline: Belgrade, Serbia
As I was flying into Belgrade for a quick visit with my team, I was thinking about some of the questions that I’m frequently asked in my line of work.
Some of them are technical questions about things like visas, passports, or second residencies, but others tend to be about more general subjects like how to get out of the rat race or even airline points.
One question that’s always stuck with me is, “where are the best places to be born in?”
As I mentioned in my article on giving birth in Brazil, where you’re born can give you a head start on life. You might get a second passport as a child by getting birthright citizenship, or you might have a leg up by being born in a country with a high-quality education system.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll talk about how to determine where the best places to be born in are as well as where some of those places might be.
The Economic Intelligence Unit: the Best Countries to be Born Report
One way that we can determine the best places to be born in the world is by using the Economic Intelligence Unit’s Best Countries to be Born Report. According to Wikipedia, this report “attempts to measure which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead” by considering factors such as GDP per capita, life expectancy, unemployment, and gender equity.
This list, however, often changes dramatically over the years. The US, for instance, was at the top of the list when I was born in 1984, but in 2013, it barely made it into the top 20, which goes to show just how often circumstances can change – even in what we think of as stable and prosperous countries.
My View: Where are the best places to be Born?
While the Best Countries to be Born Report certainly gives us a good idea of which countries offer citizens the most opportunity, I tend to look at this issue from more of a global citizen perspective.
This means that when I think of the best countries to be born in, I tend to look at issues beyond just facts and figures. Obviously, you should always take quality of life issues into account, but to think like a Nomad Capitalist, you need to look beyond that raw data and see what else matters as you create an international lifestyle.
You see, as someone who’s globally mobile, your life isn’t going to be bound to the country that you or your child is born in, so you will want to consider more than just whether that country alone can offer the opportunities that you and your family will need to be successful.
So, when deciding the best places to be born in, I take these factors into account:
When thinking of the best places to be born, one of the first things that come to my mind is whether or not that country offers birthright citizenship.
When a country offers citizenship by birth, any person born on that country’s soil is eligible to become a citizen – regardless of whether or not their parents are citizens (or even residents, for that matter) of that country. So, if you give birth to your child in a country that offers birthright citizenship, such as Brazil, you’re automatically setting them up for success by giving them automatic second citizenship at birth.
This is a factor that most Best Countries to be Born rankings tend to leave out. Switzerland, which tops the Economic Intelligence Unit’s list, doesn’t offer birthright citizenship, so even if your child is born there, they may not be able to reap all of the benefits of being Swiss since they will not automatically be considered a citizen.
If your child is born in Canada, on the other hand, then they’ll be able to take advantage of all of the benefits of being Canadian because that country has birthright citizenship.
As the Economic Intelligence Unit’s list suggests, the best countries to be born in are often the most developed.
Put simply, you don’t want to give birth and raise your child in a place with inadequate health care, poor infrastructure, and a bad educational system.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have your child in traditional “developed countries” like the US, Australia, or Western Europe. Countries like Malaysia, for instance, have high-quality healthcare at a low cost as well as an excellent selection of international schools, and Brazil can be a similarly good option for those looking in South America.
You’ll certainly want to ensure that your children can get the best healthcare and education available, but you should open your mind beyond the West.
In addition to being developed and offering birthright citizenship, the country that you raise your kids in should also be globally-minded.
This is where countries like the US often fail in my book. While the US does offer birthright citizenship and plenty of resources, it’s not exactly the most globally-minded place in the world.
Instead, you want to look for a country that has an international mindset both culturally and legally. You want your child to be exposed to many different cultures and people at a young age, and you don’t want them to be hindered by things like citizenship-based taxation or poor visa-free travel in the future.
Global-mindedness also means that the country should be well-prepared for an internationalized future. This may mean that you want to choose a larger country with plentiful natural resources, or you might want to choose an economically successful and stable country that will set your child up for prosperity.
What is the Best Country to be Born in?
So, based on these criteria, what country is the best place to be born in the world?
My answer: Chile.
This answer might be a bit surprising to many of you. Unlike Norway or Sweden, Chile isn’t known for having an extensive social safety net, nor is it an established world power like the US or UK.
So, why do I think that Chile is one of the best places to be born?
First, Chile offers citizenship to anyone born in the country, so getting your child Chilean citizenship is rather easy if you’re willing to give birth there. As an added bonus, Chileans are allowed to hold dual citizenship, which means that your child can also inherit any passports that you currently hold, too.
Chile is also relatively well-developed despite its low cost of living. In fact, it has some of the highest living standards in all of Central and South America, and it offers plenty of international schools and hospitals for expats and their children. And the country seems to be improving steadily every year.
Finally, Chile is also fairly globally-minded. It’s a larger country with numerous natural resources, and living there will help enhance your child’s exposure to different cultures. Plus, Chilean citizenship doesn’t come with burdens like FATCA or citizenship-based taxation.
You see, the best countries to be born in today might not be your standard Scandinavian or North American countries. As the US backslides in major areas of development and the EU becomes more of a regulatory albatross, it may be better to live and have citizenship in up-and-coming parts of the world like South America and Southeast Asia. Countries in these regions are thinking toward the future while traditional “developed countries” seem to be stagnating.
If you’re interested in becoming a resident of Chile (or a similar country like Brazil) and giving birth there, feel free to reach out. My team and I can help you find the best solution for your individual needs and situation.