Golden palaces on public display are not always the full story behind a country's financial worth. Thanks to the digital age, the accuracy of modern economic data can now reveal whether nations are a financial success or a disaster in disguise. To do so, three metrics measure the wealth of a country: First, purchasing power parity (PPP) is a metric used to compare the buying power of different countries' currencies, measured by the price of certain goods in each country. Second, gross domestic product (GDP) is an annual measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced and sold in a country. 'GDP per capita (PPP)' is therefore found by dividing GDP by the total population after adjusting for PPP. Last, GNI per capita is the gross national income divided by population. After accounting for the relevant 2023 data from the International Monetary Fund, these Richest Countries in the World stand out amongst their peers.
- Known for high-income levels and a low unemployment rate, Luxembourg is the richest country in the world.
- Ireland, on the rise thanks to favorable corporate tax policies, is projected to hit #1 by 2027.
- The resource-rich land with the world's biggest economy, the United States, ranks 9th on the list.
The 15 Richest Countries in the World
- Luxembourg - $146,259
- Singapore - $140,280
- Ireland - $139,844
- Qatar - $123,039
- Switzerland - $87,522
- Norway - $82,496
- United Arab Emirates - $81,753
- Brunei - $79,408
- United States - $78,421
- San Marino - $74,970
- Netherlands - $72,363
- Denmark - $72,167
- Iceland - $69,811
- Austria - $69,399
- Andorra - $67,735
1. Luxembourg - $146,259
- Population: 647,800
- GDP per capita (PPP): $146,259
- GNI per capita: $88,190
Luxembourg was long known for its iron and steel industry, which comprised a large part of its GDP until the industry declined in the 1970s. At that point, Luxembourg transformed its economy by attracting conglomerates from the United States with market-oriented policies. This development ran in parallel with Luxembourg's investments in welfare and infrastructure, which helped Luxembourg become an attractive place to do business by providing stability while allowing companies to innovate and grow.
Cross-border workers make up around 46% of the Luxembourgian workforce – a higher percentage than any other developed country – driving up wages overall. Despite its small size, Luxemburg has become one of the most prosperous nations in Europe thanks to its focus on creating a pro-business environment that encourages investment. Its economic success is attributed mainly to its innovative policies, tax incentives, open borders, skilled workforce, and strategic location at the heart of Europe.
2. Singapore - $140,280
- Population: 5,230,000
- GDP per capita (PPP): $140,280
- GNI per capita: $64,010
Despite its limited natural resources, Singapore is a wealthy country, thanks to its strategic positioning as a global financial services hub with vital industries in manufacturing, transport, engineering, logistics, electronics, biotechnology, and chemical production. This wealth is further bolstered by the country's high-end infrastructure that encourages domestic and foreign investments. Morever, Singapore's dedication to fueling its education and tourism sectors have kept the local populace high-achieving, and the flow of visitors never-ending. In addition, the forward-thinking government further solidifies the nation's appeal with an array of investor-friendly policies that attract individuals and corporations worldwide, thus contributing to its wealth.
3. Ireland - $139,844
- Population: 5,054,000
- GDP per capita (PPP): $139,844
- GNI per capita: $74,520
Ireland boasts many natural and economic advantages that attract high-wage earners and businesses alike, making it a wealthy country. The country has remained stable with ongoing wealth gains from tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and other industries. Analysts predict that by 2027 Ireland will have surpassed Luxembourg as the wealthiest country in Europe. Ireland's main exports are metals, food products such as brewing, computers and parts, software, textiles, and more. Its open market and low tax rate make it a desirable destination for international firms and business travelers. Additionally, the proliferation of call centers, legal services, accounting departments, customer service outlets, stockbroking firms, and catering services has made Ireland quite the economic powerhouse in recent years.
4. Qatar - $123,039
- Population: 3,059,000
- GDP per capita (PPP): $123,039
- GNI per capita: $57,120
Qatar, a country famous throughout the Middle East for hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022, has come a long way since gaining independence from Britain in 1971. From its humble roots of just a small fishing industry, the nation has cultivated abundant wealth through its vitally important oil exports. However, since 1997 exports have increased tremendously, flowing directly into the country's GDP, making Qatar one of the world's wealthiest countries. Qatar has this plentiful supply of oil reserves almost exclusively fueling its GDP growth. They have also made substantial investments in tech startups and financial institutions. In addition, they are astute investors on the international scene utilizing hedge funds and foreign real estate to diversify their portfolios. One cannot help but be impressed by such fiscal management over such a short period.
5. Switzerland - $87,522
- Population: 8,771,000
- GDP per capita (PPP): $87,522
- GNI per capita: $90,360
Switzerland is an affluent country whose people's happiness has earned it a place among the highest-ranking nations in quality of life. Its higher cost of living may seem prohibitive to many, but generous tax rates have helped attract foreign investment from other parts of the world. This influx of global funds is apparent in Switzerland's GDP, with exports contributing significantly to its economic health. In addition, the industrious Swiss are renowned for their fine crafts and commodities, such as cheese, chocolate, jewelry, furniture, and much more, made with care and expertise using domestically-sourced resources.
The Swiss economy is currently one of the most attractive investments in Europe, and this is because of its lack of tax on capital gains, its low-value product tax at 7.7%, and lower than average income taxes. This triple benefit encourages citizens and foreigners to invest in Switzerland's economy, and residents show a preference for buying local products and other goods produced within the country. With such a strong commitment from investors, Switzerland has seen a steady increase in growth year after year, an investment climate that the rest of the world has noticed.
6. Norway - $82,496
- Population: 5,443,000
- GDP per capita (PPP): $82,496
- GNI per capita: $83,880
Norway is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with an estimated GDP per capita (PPP) of $82,496. This high standard of living is driven by Norway's numerous natural resources, raw oil and gas exports, its distinct social security system, and universal health care. It has been extracting its wealth of petroleum reserves since the 1970s, supplementing them with seafood, hydro-power, lumber, minerals, natural gas, and freshwater. On top of their abundant resources, Norwegians benefit from a highly productive society; primary occupations are in the telecommunications and technologies sectors that help guarantee low unemployment rates, which are at 5%, and even lower poverty rates at 0.3%. Wages, too, remain high despite the cost of living. All these factors contribute to making Norway's quality of life one of the highest in the world today.
7. United Arab Emirates - $81,753
- Population: 9,272,000
- GDP per capita (PPP): $81,753
- GNI per capita: $39,410
The United Arab Emirates is a vibrant country with a rapidly growing economy. Known for the luxurious lifestyles of the people living there, its capital Abu Dhabi has become a significant hub for business and tourism worldwide. Despite these sources of wealth, much of the UAE's fortune comes from oil production. However, the government has made strides to diversify its sources of income, particularly in technology and renewable energy sectors, as well as making significant investments in infrastructure development. This focus on continuous progress and innovation will no doubt help cement its status as a prosperous nation in the years to come.
8. Brunei - $79,408
- Population: 434,000
- GDP per capita (PPP): $ 79,408
- GNI per capita: $31,510
Brunei is a small, oil-rich country with a high GDP per capita compared to other countries worldwide. Surprisingly, this wealth has not translated into lower poverty rates. Brunei's poverty rate is higher than average for Southeast Asian countries, and the gap between the rich and the poor continues to be significant. The government of Brunei has focused on developing programs to pull more citizens out of poverty, such as zero-interest microloans and special food assistance for low-income households. Despite these efforts, progress toward reducing poverty still needs to be improved. It remains a significant challenge that requires further attention if Brunei seeks to become a genuinely wealthy nation.
9. United States - $78,421
- Population: 336,958,000
- GDP per capita (PPP): $78,421
- GNI per capita: $70,930
The United States of America is globally recognized as a wealthy country. It has a large, diverse economy that produces goods and services favored by people from around the world. This economic engine is driven by natural resources such as oil and gas and highly developed industries like biotechnology, engineering, and computer technology. The United States also benefits from infrastructure such as roads, bridges, ports, airports, railroads, telecommunications networks, utilities, and farming machines, allowing its citizens to live comfortably and efficiently. Finally, the US enjoys a relative level of political stability compared to other parts of the world, which enables it to maintain domestic order while supporting international investment with sustainable policies. Altogether, these elements make the United States one of the most impressive economies in the world.
10. San Marino - $74,970
- Population: 33,700
- GDP per capita (PPP): $74,970
- GNI per capita: $40,801
San Marino is well-known for its impressive wealth and it deserves its place amongst the world's wealthiest countries. This acclaim is partly due to its export of high-quality goods, enabling San Marino to achieve one of the lowest poverty rates on the planet. Moreover, more than half of San Marino's Gross Domestic Product comes from tourism due to its picturesque landscapes and warm Mediterranean climate. Thus it stands not only as a testament to fine Italian craftsmanship and cultured hospitality but also as an example of how financial prosperity is achieved through balance and concord.
11. Netherlands - $72,363
- Population: 17,650,000
- GDP per capita (PPP): $72,363
- GNI per capita: $55,200
The Netherlands is known for being a wealthy nation, and its citizens enjoy having one of the highest standards of living in the world. The country's wealth has been primarily attributed to its innovative economy, heavily driven by trading, particularly in services and technology. It also has an efficient infrastructure and tax policies that have incentivized both foreign and domestic investment. Additionally, the Dutch government makes conscious efforts to manage the budget responsibly, particularly when spending on public services like healthcare and education. This commitment to fiscal responsibility has paid off over the years, helping the Netherlands remain atop the list of wealthy European countries.
12. Denmark - $72,167
- Population: 5,893,000
- GDP per capita (PPP): $72,167
- GNI per capita: $68,300
Denmark is a small but wealthy country located in Northern Europe. It has a strong economy driven by its high-tech manufacturing sector and service industry, which comprise the bulk of the GDP. The nation also benefits from its well-developed infrastructure, with transportation networks that are highly efficient, affordable, and reliable. Denmark's high standard of living has been made possible by sensible fiscal policies that have enabled the country to maintain low unemployment rates and high levels of growth. Moreover, Denmark's generous welfare system provides all citizens free education, healthcare, and other services, such as childcare, which help families thrive. With easy access to credit and financial assistance for entrepreneurs, it also encourages investment in businesses and innovation. Overall, Denmark is known as one of the most prosperous countries in the world thanks to its economic strength combined with progressive social policies that are highly beneficial for all its citizens.
13. Iceland - $69,811
- Population: 380,500
- GDP per capita (PPP): $69,811
- GNI per capita: $63,460
Iceland's wealth relies on the fact that it has been able to transition from a resource-dependent economy to one driven by innovation and technology. This transition was primarily spurred by access to capital, investment in education, and the emergence of high-tech industries such as biotechnology, healthcare, renewable energy, and software development. The nation also benefits from having abundant natural resources like geothermal energy, marine resources, and hydropower. Additionally, Iceland has built solid economic connections with other European countries, a reputation for transparent government institutions, and an educated labor force. These factors have made Iceland one of the most prosperous nations on Earth.
14. Austria - $69,399
- Population: 9,003,000
- GDP per capita (PPP): $69,399
- GNI per capita: $52,760
Austria is a wealthy nation due to its strong economy, supported by numerous industries such as tourism, banking, insurance, and medical technology. The country's high-tech businesses benefit from favorable corporate tax rates and access to the EU's single market. In addition, Austria boasts a robust social safety net that has helped support economic growth and keep unemployment low. Furthermore, the country's proximity to other major European economic powers has allowed it to capitalize on expanded export markets. This level of interaction has enabled businesses to create jobs and contribute significantly to Austria's wealth. Furthermore, Austria is home to several prominent universities and research centers that have become hubs for knowledge-intensive business activity. All of these factors have contributed heavily to Austria's success in becoming one of the wealthiest nations in Europe.
15. Andorra - $67,735
- Population: 80,300
- GDP per capita (PPP): $67,735
- GNI per capita: $46,530
Andorra is one of the world's wealthiest countries, and its economy continues to thrive. The country is nestled between France and Spain in Europe, and its small size masks the large number of invaluable benefits that it offers. Andorra has no income tax alongside a customs union with the European Union, allowing border-free trade. It also offers low corporate taxes and financial incentives for businesses investing there. In addition, the country offers attractive real estate investments due to its picturesque landscape, mild climate, and excellent skiing opportunities in winter. Andorra is a shopping mecca, with price savings of up to 17% due to the lack of VAT or sales tax. This consumer-friendly environment ensures that goods are affordable for citizens and tourists alike. Lastly, Andorra has a stable government that provides solid infrastructure and public services for those living there or visiting from abroad.
Extreme Wealth in Partially Recognized Territories and Countries
- Macao - SAR GDP per capita (PPP): $92,409
- Hong Kong - GDP per capita (PPP): $75,134
- Taiwan - GDP per capita (PPP): $74,066
Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao are three highly prosperous territories that have become symbols of success in the eastern hemisphere. While many refer to these regions as 'countries,' they either do not have sovereignty under international law, remain part of China, or are in a unique political situation. Hong Kong became a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China in 1997 after more than 150 years of British rule. Taiwan is a de facto independent nation controlled by neither China nor any other sovereign entity. Macao, meanwhile, is an autonomous administrative region of China led by a governor appointed by Beijing. Despite their quasi-independence from the parent country, all three territories enjoy considerable economic prosperity and serve as models for developing nations across the globe.
After reviewing the world's wealthiest countries and their economic prosperity, it's clear that financial success has many different looks. Luxembourg currently leads the way across most metrics. Others on the list also possess strong economies due to a focus on innovation and investment in technology, finance, tourism, and natural resources. It is no surprise, then, that Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Switzerland, and Norway are leading countries in attaining wealth. However, it is incredible how there is still room to grow and expand within such thriving economic spaces. While San Marino and Brunei might boast lower GDPs per capita or employ fewer people than other nations on this list, specific industries have put them on track to become highly successful economies. This potential proves that any country can strive towards significant financial gain through dedication to their citizens and self-investment as long as they stay steady towards consistent improvement.
Richest Countries by Continent
- The Richest Countries in Asia
- The Richest Countries in Europe
- The Richest Countries in North America
- The Richest Countries in South America
The 50 Richest Countries in the World
|Rank||Country||GDP/Capita in PPP|
|7||United Arab Emirates||81753.063|
|**||Hong Kong SAR||75134.78|
|**||Taiwan Province of China||74066.517|
|27||Korea, Republic of||56693.665|
|47||Türkiye, Republic of||40882.732|
**: Macao and Hong Kong are special adminstrative regions of the People's Republic of China, and Taiwan is a province in the PRC.
Data taken from World Economic Outlook (October 2022) - GDP per capita, current prices (imf.org) in February, 2023.
Cory Price February 28 2023 in Economics