The Caribbean: great to visit, but not to live?

Well at least they admit it: “like any list, this one isn’t perfect.”

Newsweek has opened a hornets’ nest of inter-island and inter-country rivalry (at least in the Caribbean) alongside scepticism from social scientists, journalists and marketing professionals with the release of its first – and now quite controversial – The World’s Best Countries list, featuring the “world’s top 100 countries”.

The biggest problem here, and especially with marketing their project as such, is that only 100 countries were selected, so that these are not indeed “the world’s best countries”. And while it’s relatively clear how those selected were ranked, it isn’t entirely clear how countries were selected.

They explain their ranking and scoring criteria as such:

[W]e 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? … 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 top 10 of the pre-selected countries is not altogether surprising (though this too, of course, is debatable). Scandinavian countries have long been celebrated for their quality of life (the cold nothwithstanding), while Japan, Australia and Canada round out the “best countries”. The United States (#11) and the United Kingdom (#14) ranked just below.

It’s not till the 30th spot that a representative from Latin America & the Caribbean finds its way into the list with Chile. And it’s not until number 47 that we see any Caribbean country at all, with Jamaica opening the way for Cuba (#50) and the Dominican Republic (#55). These appear to be the only Caribbean nations selected for “rankining”, and it is a bit perplexing why well-known economic or tourism hubs like Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago were excluded.

What do you think of Newsweek‘s “Best Countries” list, and of these ranking lists in general?

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