• Sun. May 26th, 2024

Top 100 Richest Countries In The World

What does it mean for a nation to be rich or poor at a time of global pandemic, high inflation and geopolitical tensions? GDP per capita adjusted for relative purchasing power gives us an idea, albeit an imperfect one.

Would you rather be rich in a poor country or poor in a rich one? Measuring the wealth of nations is not that easy (spoiler: it is not just about gross domestic product, or GDP). Determining the world’s richest countries how rich you are depends to a large degree on how rich and poor countries are defined.

If we simply consider a nation’s gross domestic product—the sum of all goods and services produced by a country during one year—then we would have to conclude that the richest nations are exactly the ones with the largest GDP: United States, China, Japan, Germany. But how could the economies, for example, of Singapore or Luxembourg ever match that of such powerhouses when they are no more than small dots on the world map?

Another problem with GDP is that it does not measure income inequality, that is, how a country’s riches are distributed among the population. That is why a more accurate representation of people’s living conditions begins with dividing a nation’s GDP by the number of people that live there: per capita GDP and its growth rate tell us much more about the social wealth potentially available to each person and whether this wealth is either increasing or decreasing over time.

However, using per capita GDP still poses a problem: the very same income can buy very little in some countries and go much further in others where basic necessities—food, clothing, shelter, or healthcare—cost far less. To gauge how wealthy a country’s citizens are it is necessary to understand how much they can buy. That is why, when comparing per capita GDP across countries, GDP should be adjusted for purchasing power parity, which helps us take into account the inflation rates and the price of goods and services in each given place.

When considering whether it is better to be rich in a poor country or poor in a rich one, the best chance of enjoying a superior standard of living is to reside in a richer nation no matter where a person falls on the income distribution scale. Then again, wealth for some without a good measure of equality for everyone is problematic, to say the least. The coronavirus pandemic proved it most strikingly. Low-income workers, often migrants, living in some very wealthy nations suddenly found themselves unemployed, homeless and stranded without much of a safety net. Many less affluent nations, in the meantime, bent over backwards to take care of all those in need during the crisis.

Further, the quality and availability of healthcare often go hand in hand with the quality and availability of education services, social security, housing assistance and other components of the social infrastructure. A country might boast a high GDP or a high GDP per capita but, if such services are inadequate or inaccessible to a significant portion of the population, these citizens will feel poor, regardless of the economic indicators might suggest.

Additionally, when it comes to inflation, because energy and food are essential goods with few substitutes higher prices are particularly painful for low-income households. It is easier for families to cut down or eliminate spending on electronics, clothing or entertainment when prices surge, but when it comes to food, heating or transportation—crucial to both live and earn a living—this becomes much more difficult. As a result, an inflationary scenario can often pose a threat to economic and social stability.

This is why, in the long run, it is better not only to be rich but to be egalitarian as well. Too much economic inequality stifles growth for all, political instability is more likely, healthcare care costs and mortality rates are higher, and so are crime and corruption rates. Being rich in a poor country also has costs.

Rank Country/Territory GDP-PPP per capita ($)
1 Luxembourg 143,743
2 Macao SAR 134,141
3 Ireland 133,895
4 Singapore 133,737
5 Qatar 112,283
6 United Arab Emirates 96,846
7 Switzerland 91,932
8 San Marino 86,989
9 United States 85,373
10 Norway 82,832
11 Guyana 80,137
12 Denmark 77,641
13 Brunei Darussalam 77,534
14 Taiwan 76,858
15 Hong Kong SAR 75,128
16 Netherlands 74,158
17 Iceland 73,784
18 Saudi Arabia 70,333
19 Austria 69,460
20 Sweden 69,177
21 Andorra 69,146
22 Belgium 68,079
23 Malta 67,682
24 Germany 67,245
25 Australia 66,627
26 Bahrain 62,671
27 Finland 60,851
28 Canada 60,495
29 France 60,339
30 Korea 59,330
31 United Kingdom 58,880
32 Cyprus 58,733
33 Italy 56,905
34 Israel 55,533
35 Aruba 54,716
36 Japan 54,184
37 New Zealand 53,797
38 Slovenia 53,287
39 Kuwait 52,274
40 Spain 52,012
41 Lithuania 50,600
42 Czech Republic 50,475
43 Poland 49,060
44 Portugal 47,070
45 The Bahamas 46,524
46 Croatia 45,702
47 Hungary 45,692
48 Estonia 45,122
49 Panama 44,797
50 Slovak Republic 44,081
51 Türkiye 43,921
52 Puerto Rico 43,219
53 Romania 43,179
54 Seychelles 43,151
55 Latvia 41,730
56 Greece 41,188
57 Oman 39,859
58 Malaysia 39,030
59 St. Kitts and Nevis 38,870
60 Russia 38,292
61 Maldives 37,433
62 Bulgaria 35,963
63 Kazakhstan 34,534
64 Trinidad and Tobago 32,685
65 Mauritius 32,094
66 Chile 31,005
67 Uruguay 30,170
68 Montenegro 29,696
69 Costa Rica 28,558
70 Serbia 27,985
71 Antigua and Barbuda 27,309
72 Dominican Republic 27,120
73 Libya 26,456
74 Argentina 26,390
75 Mexico 25,963
76 Belarus 25,685
77 Georgia 25,248
78 China 25,015
79 Thailand 23,401
80 North Macedonia 22,249
81 Grenada 21,799
82 Armenia 21,746
83 Islamic Republic of Iran 21,220
84 Brazil 20,809
85 Albania 20,632
86 Bosnia and Herzegovina 20,623
87 Barbados 20,592
88 Botswana 20,097
89 Colombia 19,770
90 Turkmenistan 19,729
91 St. Lucia 19,718
92 Gabon 19,452
93 Azerbaijan 19,328
94 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 19,196
95 Suriname 18,928
96 Equatorial Guinea 18,378
97 Moldova 17,902
98 Egypt 17,614
99 Fiji 17,403
100 Palau 17,381

Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook April 2024. Values are expressed in current international dollars, reflecting the corresponding exchange rates and PPP adjustments.

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