The 25 Wealthiest, Healthiest, Happiest and Most Advanced Countries in the World
The Legatum Institute, a London based think-tank just released its 10th annual global Prosperity Index, a huge survey that ranks what it calls the most prosperous countries in the world.
The amount of money a country has is one factor of prosperity, but the Legatum Institute considers much more than that in its ranking.
The organisation compared 104 variables to come up with its list. These variables include traditional indicators like per-capita gross domestic product and the number of people in full-time work, but also more interesting figures such as the number of secure internet servers a country has, and how well-rested people feel on a day-to-day basis.
The variables are then split into nine subindexes: economic quality, business environment, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, social capital, and natural environment.
The index looked at the 149 countries in the world that have the most available data. For the last seven years of the index, Norway has taken the top spot, but in 2016 a new nation is the world’s most prosperous.
Find out the results below.
25. Portugal — Portugal ranked inside the top 50 countries globally in all but one sub-index, but scored highest in personal freedom, where it was 10th overall.
24. Malta — The small island nation in the Mediterranean was in the top 20 in four areas, but did best when it comes to social capital, ending 8th overall.
23. Hong Kong — Although Hong Kong’s status as an independent country is not recognised by the United Nations, it still features on the Prosperity Index, and does pretty well. Hong Kong has the 4th best business environment anywhere on earth.
22. Japan — Japan may be battling economic stagnation, but it is still one of the world’s most prosperous nations, ranking 3rd for safety and security, and 4th for health.
21. Spain — Political troubles have cast a shadow over Spain in the last couple of years, but thanks to top 15 scores for both natural environment and safety, it just misses out on being one of the world’s 20 most prosperous nations.
20. Slovenia — As well as being a thorn in the UK’s side when it comes to Brexit, Slovenia is one of Europe’s most prosperous nations, helped along by the best natural environment of any nation on earth, according to the Legatum Institute.
19. Singapore — Famous for its status as the world’s pre-eminent port and as a financial hub, Singapore is also a pretty good place to live, racking up 2nd place for health, and 1st for safety and security, in this year’s Prosperity Index.
18. France — Another nation with a stuttering economy, France scored well across the board, but did best in its natural environment, finished 4th.
17. United States — While Donald Trump vows to “Make America Great Again” the USA has fallen from 11th overall last year, to just 17th in 2016. Despite that fall, the world’s biggest economy ranks 1st for its business environment.
16. Belgium — While Belgium has received much negative press in the past year as the home of the perpetrators of the Paris terror attacks, it is one of the world’s most prosperous nations, ranking in the top ten in both the personal freedom and education sub-indexes.
15. Austria — The small central European nation picks up its best sub-index score for safety and security, coming in 9th of all countries ranked.
14. Iceland — Isolated from Europe and with a population of just over 300,000, Iceland might not seem like an obvious choice for one of the world’s most prosperous nations, but it ranks in the top five of three sub indexes — safety and security, personal freedom, and social capital.
13. Ireland — Ireland’s top sub-index score was in personal freedom, where it was 5th. It also picked up a top ten finish in the education category, coming in 7th.
12. Luxembourg — Famous as tax haven and the home of EU chief Jean Claude Juncker, Luxembourg is top of the pile for both personal freedom and health globally, according to the Legatum Institute.
11. Germany — The eurozone’s economic powerhouse finished in the top 10 for all but three of the Prosperity Index’s categories. Its best ranking was for economic quality, where it came in 5th.
10. United Kingdom — Despite Brexit, Britain has jumped in this year’s Prosperity Index, climbing from 15th. Britain’s best was for business environment, where it was 5th.
9. Denmark — Scandinavia has famously high standards of living, and coming in in 9th place, Denmark is actually the least prosperous nation in the region. It’s top score was 5th for safety and security.
8. Sweden — Just above its neighbour Denmark, Sweden ranked 3rd in the economic quality sub-index, and 5th for governance, but still fell to 8th overall from 5th in 2015.
7. Netherlands — Punching well above its weight, the Netherlands ranks 2nd in both education and economic quality, and in the top 5 of two other sub-indexes.
6. Australia — Famous for its laid-back lifestyle and good weather, it is no wonder Australia came second overall in the social capital sub-index, helping it climb one place overall from 7th in 2015.
5. Canada — America’s neighbour to the north is substantially more prosperous according to the Legatum Institute, finishing 3rd for social capital and business environment, and 2nd for personal freedom.
4. Switzerland — Switzerland frequently features at the top of lists like the Prosperity Index, thanks to fantastic education (1st overall), and great healthcare. It was 3rd in the health sub-index.
3. Finland — Finns may not class themselves as Scandinavian, but they can’t deny being a seriously prosperous northern European state. Finland has the best governance in the world, according to the Legatum Institute.
2. Norway — For seven consecutive years Norway had been ranked as the most prosperous country on earth by the Legatum Institute, but this year it loses its crown, with a highest ranking of 3rd in the governance sub-index.
1. New Zealand — Officially the most prosperous country on earth, according to the Legatum Institute, New Zealand ranked top of both the social capital and economic quality sub-indexes, and 2nd for business environment and governance.
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