Despite the fact that economic growth has been slowing down across the globe, there are still some wealthy countries in the world. Using data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Global Finance Magazine compiled a list of the richest countries in the world.
The ranking is based on per capita gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of per capita income. Moreover, in order to compare living standards across different countries, the study is based on purchasing power parity (PPP), which takes into account the relative cost of living and the inflation rates of each country.
All values are expressed in 2015 international dollars, a measure that combines exchange rates, PPP, and average commodity prices. (Source: “The Richest Countries in the World,” Global Finance Magazine, last accessed January 18, 2016.)
So, which is the richest country in the world? Let’s find out…
Located in the center of Europe, Switzerland has always been one of the best places to live in the world. It’s strong financial sector and robust public finances helped it make the top 10 wealthiest list with a per capita GDP of $56,815. Despite the Swiss Central Bank’s decision to allow the Swiss franc to appreciate against the euro, the country seems to be doing just fine.
9. United States
For a country that fostered the American dream, people would be surprised if they don’t see it on the list of wealthy countries. However, given the size of its economy, it’s not that easy to make it into the top 10.
In 2015, though, the U.S. made it with an impressive per capita GDP of $57,045.46, suggesting that the U.S. economy has made solid progress in terms of economic recovery following the Great Recession. With the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates for the first time since the financial meltdown, the country’s economy seems to have moved on to a steady growth path.
8. Hong Kong
With China’s economic growth slowing down, there might be concerns that Hong Kong will be affected due to its huge connection to the mainland. However, Hong Kong seems to be more than okay, with a per capita GDP of $57,676.79. Sure, sales of luxury brands in Hong Kong are not as good as the old days, but as one of the leading financial centers in the world, Hong Kong continues to benefit from its prosperous financial services industry.
7. United Arab Emirates
Despite the slumping oil prices, United Arab Emirates (UAE) managed to maintain its position as one of the richest countries in the world with per capita GDP of $67,201.88. The country has made sold progress in diversifying its economy, with non-oil sectors contributing to more than 70% of UAE’s total GDP.
Isn’t it nice that a country with some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth also turned out to be one of the wealthiest? Norway’s per capita GDP stands at an impressive $67,619.10. Note that Norway currently faces strong headwinds from low oil and gas prices and its government has decided to cut taxes in the hope of bringing growth back to the economy.
Kuwait has the most expensive currency in the world—the Kuwaiti dinar (KWD). Today, one Kuwaiti dinar can get you US$3.2868. The country also has nearly 10% of the world’s oil reserves, which isn’t necessarily a good thing when oil prices are dropping to the floor. Nevertheless, Kuwait still remains one of the richest countries in the world, with a per capita GDP of $71,600.96.
You might have noticed something here: small oil-producing economies tend to place well when it comes to GDP per capita. So it should come as no surprise that Brunei, a tiny nation on the island of Borneo, captured fourth place among the wealthiest countries in the world with a per capita GDP of $80,335.27.
Brunei’s economy is a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition. Oil and gas make up a large fraction of the country’s total output.
When a country’s economy is known for its trade openness, pro-business attitudes, lack of corruption, and low tax rates, it’s bound to do well. Yep, I’m talking about Singapore. After its miraculous growth from the 1960s to the 1990s, Singapore’s economy continues to prosper, earning it third place on the wealthiest list, with its per capita GDP coming in at $84,821.40.
Known for its stability, low inflation, and low unemployment, Luxembourg’s economy is enjoying a level of economic prosperity that is quite rare among industrialized democracies. Its industrial sector is well diversified and its financial services sector is going strong. Luxembourg has the second-highest per capita GDP in the world—$94,167.01.
On the basis of per capita GDP, Qatar is undisputedly the richest country in the world. Its per capita GDP sat at a whopping $146,011.85 in 2015, more than 50% higher than second-place Luxembourg. Note that the oil and gas–focused country is going to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, meaning there could be more infrastructure projects coming along for its economy.