In this article, we take a look at the 25 wealthiest countries in the world by GDP per Capita. You can skip our detailed analysis of the global economic wealth dynamics and its current challenges, and go directly to 5 Wealthiest Countries in the World by GDP Per Capita.
GDP per capita is a measure of the economic output of a country or region, divided by its population. It showcases the economic productivity of individuals, and reflects their standard of living. Our list is meant to highlight countries which have a high GDP per Capita but not a high ratio of GDP per Capita to nominal GDP.
In that respect, certain countries like Monaco, Qatar and Luxembourg have high GDPs per Capita but their population sizes and nominal GDPs are too small that some countries with relatively lower GDP per Capita have more millionaires than their entire populations.
To make the case, consider the fact that India has a depressingly low GDP per Capita of only $2,257, but its population is big enough that there are nearly 700,000 dollar-millionaires in the country as of 2020. Monaco's entire population is only 5.5% of the number of millionaires in India. So if Monaco was to be on the list, India would practically be outranking it.
In addition, Monaco's nominal GDP is only $8.6 billion as of 2021. To then highlight the absurdity, it would take 15 Monacos to equal the wealth of the Indian billionaire Gautam Adani, the third richest man in the world, with a net worth of $126 billion in 2023. Further, the combined sum of $660 billion of India's top 100 billionaires is far bigger than the combined GDPs of countries like Qatar, Luxembourg and Monaco.
For this reason, we've excluded countries like Qatar, Luxembourg, San Marino and Monaco from our list. Their small GDPs and population sizes leave a lot to be desired when it comes to investment opportunities in terms of both capital inflow and outflow.
Europe: The Winner in GDP-Per-Capita Wealth
When it comes to global wealth, it is largely concentrated in the US and China, going by their GDP numbers. However, in terms of per capita wealth, the balance quickly shifts in favor of Europe. The continent is home to the majority of the richest countries in the world.
Europe is rich, largely due to the European Union. The EU's GDP per Capita has more than doubled in the past two decades. The union has also played an active and outsized role in the economic growth of the entire continent.
Europe also has a highly educated workforce and a robust focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, which has led to the emergence of corporations like Bosch, Dassault Systemes, Nokia, Ericsson, Siemens AG,Sanofi (NASDAQ:SNY), Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft (NYSE:DB) and Unilever plc (NYSE:UL).
The continent is also home to many natural resources like coal, natural gas, oil and agricultural produce. However, Europe’s top exports comprise high-technology manufactured products and services.
For instance, Machinery has been the EU's top export for a long time and accounted for $281 billion in exports in 2021, up from $264 billion in 2017. It is followed by pharmaceutical products, chemicals and electronics.
All these factors, albeit, combined with Europe’s dark legacy of colonialism, have led to it becoming one of the richest and most developed continents in the world. European economies are also overwhelmingly represented in the G20, making them politically influential.
Hard Times Ahead?
A number of factors like global inflation and Russia’s energy squeeze threaten the continent’s prosperity. Russia’s natural-gas supply cuts to many of the European countries, in response to sanctions due to its war in Ukraine, has threatened to derail Europe’s industrial capacity. So far, Europe’s gas consumption has fallen by 9%, shaving off 0.2% of the continent’s GDP.
The IMF also warned that Russian gas cuts could trigger a recession that would be far worse in Eastern European countries.Europe is also not immune to the post-pandemic inflation resulting from countries’ reopening with oversized stimulus packages.
According to McKinsey, rising prices have led to consumer confidence dwindling, with 43% Europeans doubting the prospects for economic recovery as of 2022.In addition, the report highlighted that more than a third have stopped spending money on non-essential items and tapped into savings to cover expenses.
So while Europe is rich, it is in no way insulated from the current economic downturn.
We chose countries with highest GDP Per Capita as of 2021 for this list. We excluded countries with GDPs less than $200 billion for this list to make sure we don't include any small countries with low investment opportunities and for the reasons discussed in the introduction of this article. We’ve ranked the countries in ascending order of GDP per Capita. We’ve obtained the data for GDP per Capita 2021 from the World Bank.
25. Czech Republic
GDP Per Capita: $26,821
The Czech Republic has fast become one of the wealthiest countries in the world by GDP per Capita, thanks to its industrious culture. A lot of cutting-edge manufacturing businesses that produce high-quality products are located in the country.
An example is Česká Zbrojovka, which manufactures high quality firearms that are especially popular in the US, with the company generating an estimated average revenue of $300 million in the US market.
24. South Korea
GDP Per Capita: $34,998
South Korea is located in the far East. South Korea's wealth mainly comes from its electronics industry. It is home to the third biggest electronics company in the world - Samsung.
GDP Per Capita: $30,103
Spain is one of the most well-recognized countries in the world, primarily due to its global cultural-reach. However, the country is also rich, with a GDP per Capita of over $30,000 as of 2021.
GDP Per Capita: $35,658
Italy is another one of the most culturally recognized countries in the world. Its soft power plays an important role in its economy through the tourism sector.
Italy is also known for some of the most cherished luxury companies in the world that contribute to its riches. These include Prada, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari, Armani and Gucci among many others.
GDP Per Capita: $37,000
Taiwan has a GDP per Capita of $37,000 as of 2023, per figures from the IMF. As of 2022, its nominal GDP stands at $0.8 trillion and is projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2027. Taiwan owes its riches largely to its position in global electronics industry. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited alone has a 54% market share in the global chip-manufacturing industry as of Q1, 2022.
GDP Per Capita: $39,313
Japan is the third biggest economy in the world, with a nominal GDP of $5 trillion as of 2021. Japan has a knowledge-based economy, with the country being a leader in electronics industry with companies like Toshiba, Hitachi, Panasonic and Sony. It is a superpower when it comes to robotics industry, with 45% of all industrial robots in the world having their origin in Japan, per International Federation of Robotics.
GDP Per Capita: $43,659
France is another one of the richest countries in the world by GDP per Capita. The luxury industry has a key role in the economy of France. It is home to the biggest luxury brand in the world - Louis Vuitton. Other globally renowned French luxury companies include Chanel, Balenciaga and Hermes.
The country also has a huge aeronautical industry, with companies like Dassault Aviation, and pharma industry, with companies like Sanofi (NASDAQ:SNY). To give you a sense of the scale of the French pharma industry, Sanofi (NASDAQ:SNY) alone had a 2022 revenue of $44 billion.
18. United Arab Emirates
GDP Per Capita: $44,315
United Arab Emirates is located in the Middle East. As of 2021, it has a GDP per Capita of $44,315, making it one of the richest nations in the world. UAE's wealth mostly comes from its oil resources. The country contributed 4% to the global oil production in 2021.
17. United Kingdom
GDP Per Capita: $46,510
In nominal terms, the United Kingdom has the second biggest economy in Europe behind Germany. Its GDP per Capita as of 2021, stands at over $46,000.
Major contributors to its economy are the services sector, which includes financial, insurance and professional services, and high-tech manufacturing sector, of which, the aerospace industry is most notable with companies like Rolls-Royce, Ultra Electronics and BAE Systems.
On the consumer-goods front, UK's Unilever plc (NYSE:UL) is one of the biggest companies in the world. Unilever plc (NYSE:UL) grew by 4.5% in 2021. Its capital, London, is widely regarded as one of the three global financial hubs, the other two being the New York City and Hong Kong.
16. New Zealand
GDP Per Capita: $48,781
New Zealand is located in Oceania, near Australia. The country has a GDP per Capita of $48,781 as of 2021. The country's wealth primarily stems from the agricultural industry.
15. Hong Kong, SAR
GDP Per Capita: $49,800
Hong Kong, SAR, had a GDP per Capita of $49,800 as of 2021. The wealth that puts Hong Kong on the list primarily comes from its financial and electronics industries.
GDP Per Capita: $51,204
Germany is behind many other advanced European economies in GDP per Capita. However, it is the biggest economy in Europe in nominal terms. Germany's riches come from its highly industrialized economy. In 2018, the country contributed 11% to the global exports in Knowledge and Technology Intensive (KTI) industries, per the National Science Foundation.
Apart from KTI sectors, Germany is also known for highly sophisticated financial services. Its Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft (NYSE:DB) is one of the most renowned financial companies across the globe. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft (NYSE:DB) is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany.
GDP Per Capita: $51,237
Belgium is located in Northwestern Europe and is one of the richest economies in Europe, with a GDP per Capita of $51,237 as of 2021.
GDP Per Capita: $51,988
Canada is one of the wealthiest countries in the world by GDP per Capita. It is rich due to a large and diversified economy reliant on mining, services and a knowledge-based technology industry. It is home to one of the world's largest e-commerce technology companies, Shopify Inc. (NYSE:SHOP).
GDP Per Capita: $53,638
Austria is in the Southern region of Central Europe. Like other advanced economies in Europe, sectors like services and high-tech manufacturing, owing to a highly educated workforce, make it one of the wealthiest European countries.
GDP Per Capita: $53,655
Finland is rich due to a strong GDP per Capita, resulting from a highly educated workforce, employed in diverse industries from services to manufacturing. It is known for cutting edge tech companies like Nokia.
9. The Netherlands
GDP Per Capita: $57,768
The Netherlands is one of the richest countries in the world, with an economy driven by high technology and services. It is highly advanced in engineering, with an intense focus on agricultural technology.
GDP Per Capita: $60,443
Australia is located in Oceania. As of 2021, the country has a GDP per Capita of $60,443, making it one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
GDP Per Capita: $61,029
Sweden, like Finland, is located in the Scandinavian region of Europe and has a high GDP per Capita of $61,029. Sweden has a highly educated and skilled workforce running its knowledge-based economy.
GDP Per Capita: $68,008
Another Scandinavian country, Denmark is one of the wealthiest countries in the world by GDP per Capita. Like The Netherlands, Denmark also has a focus on high-tech agriculture. It is a high-income country with a strong social welfare system.
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Disclosure: none. 25 Wealthiest Countries in the World by GDP Per Capitais originally published on Insider Monkey.