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November 18, 2004

Ireland is the best place to live in the world, according to a "quality of life" assessment by Economist magazine.  

1 Ireland
2 Switzerland
3 Norway
4 Luxembourg
5 Sweden
6 Australia
7 Iceland
8 Italy
9 Denmark
10 Spain

Ireland was followed by Switzerland, Norway and Luxembourg. All but one of the top 10 were European countries.

The USA languished in 13th, while Britain was 29th - the lowest of the pre-expansion EU nations.

Although European nations generally do well in the survey, the continent's major industrial powers of France, Germany and Britain finish 25th, 26th and 29th respectively.

The researchers said although the UK achieved high income per head, it had high levels of social and family breakdown.

The worst of the 111 countries to live in was considered to be Zimbabwe, "where things have gone from bad to worse under [President] Robert Mugabe".

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