Can you guess which countries are currently among the world’s wealthiest? You will be surprised at this list’s number one richest country in the world.
While many of the top countries in this list are among the world’s smallest, they still scored high in the various indices beyond Gross Domestic Product (GDP), indicating a country’s wealth.
Add to this the other social development markers that measure well-being in various aspects of the citizens’ life, balancing the traditional financial indicators.
Let’s learn about these extraordinary countries and why they are at the top of the world’s rich list.
Top 15 Richest Countries in the World
Which country is the richest in the world? It’s a question to which the answer constantly changes. While there is no definitive answer, using various criteria like GDP per capita, it is possible to compile a list of the 15 wealthiest countries in the world.
This list of richest countries may surprise you, as some of the countries on it are not perceived as wealthy in the traditional sense. So read on to learn more about the world’s richest nations.
15. The Netherlands
While the Netherlands is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, there is more to the story than just numbers. The Dutch have a long history of trading and commerce, dating back to the days of the Dutch East India Company.
This tradition of entrepreneurship and commerce has helped to create a strong economy, and the Dutch have used their wealth to invest in infrastructure and education. As a result, the Netherlands has one of Europe’s highest employment and economic growth rates.
In addition, the Dutch are known for their social welfare system, which provides healthcare and pension benefits for all citizens. All these factors helped make the Netherlands one of the most prosperous countries in the world, with a GDP of $68,572.
Taiwan began a period of fast industrialization and economic expansion known as the “Taiwan Miracle” in the early 1960s. Taiwan currently ranks as the 14th most prosperous country in the world.
Taiwan’s economy is diversified, from agriculture to technology to tourism. Such diversity has helped it stay afloat even during global economic recessions. However, its economy is mainly based on heavy industry and hi-tech innovation.
Also, the country is a major exporter of electronics and machinery. The GDP per capita of Taiwan is $68,730.
The Danish economy is supported by a high living level and dependence on foreign exports and imports. The country is known for its improved government services and income transfers. Some of the significant industries in Denmark comprise construction, medical and transportation equipment, food processing, wind turbines, etc.
The country’s thriving private sector is supported by a well-developed infrastructure and a highly skilled workforce. The country has a GDP of $69,273.
Denmark also has a tradition of social welfare policies ensuring a high living standard for all citizens. These programs include universal healthcare, free education, and generous unemployment benefits.
12. San Marino
The manufacturing and financial sectors account for half of San Marino’s GDP, and the country is home to several luxury resorts. Banking is another critical sector of the San Marino economy. The country has a lower tax rate for banks, making it a popular destination for offshore banking.
Exports are also crucial to San Marino’s economy. It has a stable government and a thriving tourism industry. San Marino also has a low unemployment rate, which helps keep the economy strong.
San Marino’s location is also a factor in its wealth. The country is located in the heart of Europe, which gives it access to a large market of consumers. As a result, its GDP per capita is $70,139.
11. Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s GDP per capita is estimated to be $70,448, making it the 11th richest country in the world. The country’s high standard of living is partly due to its low tax rates and vital economic freedom. Hong Kong also has a well-developed infrastructure, an excellent healthcare system, and one of the world’s lowest crime rates.
Its economy is underpinned by its strong financial services sector, which accounts for around 20% of GDP. It has a bustling tourism industry, with over 60 million tourists visiting each year.
Moreover, Hong Kong is a major manufacturing center, producing many goods, including electronics, textiles, and toys.
While Hong Kong is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it is also one of the most expensive. The cost of living in Hong Kong is notoriously high, with prices for necessities such as food and rent far higher than in other developed economies.
10. Brunei Darussalam
Brunei Darussalam is a small country located on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia, with a GDP per capita of over $74,953. Included in this GDP is the Sultan of Brunei, which is worth billions and is one of the wealthiest royals in the entire world.
There are several reasons for Brunei’s wealth and prosperity, including its natural resources, strategic location, and prudent economic policies.
Brunei has large oil and gas reserves, accounting for over 90% of its GDP. The country also has a strong manufacturing sector, with firms such as Procter & Gamble and HSBC having significant operations in Brunei.
Additionally, Brunei is located at the crossroads of East and West Asia, making it an important trading hub. And finally, Brunei has maintained a stable economy because of its prudent economic policies, including maintaining low public debt levels and controlling inflation rates.
9. The United States of America
The United States of America is the second-largest country in the world, with the largest natural resource reserves.
It is located in the heart of North America, a region blessed with fertile soil, ample resources, and a temperate climate. These features have enabled the country to develop a strong economy, with diverse industries contributing to its wealth.
The United States also has a stable government that encourages economic growth, helping to create a business-friendly environment that attracts investors and entrepreneurs worldwide. Today, the country’s GDP is $76,027.
The richest people in the world are from the US, including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates.
Norway is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with a GDP per capita of $77,808. The wealth comes from several sources, including its large oil and gas reserves, a well-educated workforce, and a high level of government transparency.
The country is also one of the world’s leading exporters of seafood, machinery, and metals. This beautiful country is home to several large multinational companies, such as Equinor and Norsk Hydro.
Norway is gifted with multiple natural resources, and its fishing industry is booming. Consequently, Norway’s citizens enjoy excellent living conditions, healthcare, education, and leisure activities. In short, Norway is a great place to live if you want to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.
7. The United Arab Emirates
The Trucial States, today called the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was once known for its booming pearl industry. The industry thrived from the 1770s until the late 1930s, when pearl diving became a significant income source for people living in small villages.
During this time, Dubai established some of the most luxurious resorts in the world. However, when oil was discovered in the late 1950s, Dubai and Abu Dhabi had a clash over the oil boundaries. Abu Dhabi eventually got the upper hand, leaving Dubai to struggle.
Since then, Dubai has invested heavily in tourism which has caused it to grow and become more popular. Consequently, Dubai is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world and contributes to the growing GDP, which is about $78,255.
Despite its high cost of living, expensive products, and services, people are drawn to Switzerland for its stable economy, fixed currency value, and attractive tax rates.
This alpine country has been peaceful and prosperous for over 800 years, thanks to the harmonious relationship between its German, French, and Italian-speaking citizens.
Switzerland is one of the happiest countries, with an $84,658 GDP per capita. The Swiss take full advantage of their stunning natural surroundings, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and snowboarding.
They also enjoy a high standard of living, with excellent infrastructure and a world-class healthcare system. So it’s no wonder many people want to do business in Switzerland or visit this beautiful country.
Macao is often called the “Las Vegas of Asia” because of its booming gambling and tourism industries. The city is home to many luxurious hotels and casinos, which attract visitors worldwide.
Another important industry in Macao is retail. The city-state has a high concentration of luxury stores and malls, which appeal to local shoppers and tourists looking for designer brands.
The GDP per capita of beautiful Macao is $85,611, and its total population is approximately 650,000.
Qatar is a small country with a significant impact. Sitting on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, this tiny nation has one of the highest GDPs in the world; $112,789. Qatar’s wealth comes from its vast natural gas and oil reserves.
Qatar’s economy was based on pearl hunting and fishing for centuries, but the discovery of oil and gas in the 1940s transformed Qatar into a wealthy powerhouse. Today, Qatar exports more than 60% of the world’s liquefied natural gas and is one of the top crude oil producers.
In addition to its abundant natural resources, Qatar has also made smart investments in infrastructure and education. As a result, Qatar enjoys a young and educated workforce and a well-developed infrastructure.
Ireland is a small island in the Atlantic Ocean west of Great Britain. It’s a well-known country that is the home of many celebrities. One of the most well-known Irish is Conor McGregor, the MMA fighter and entrepreneur.
On top of that, Ireland has played an outsized role in the global economy for centuries. The country is well known for its low corporate taxes, attracting numerous multi-billion dollar companies to relocate and grow their business.
The country’s stability and ongoing wealth gain from tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing, are coveted by others. Ireland’s main exports include metals and food products, computer parts and software, and textiles.
It also largely depends on its tertiary industries, including call centers, legal services, accounting, customer service, stockbroking, and catering. Its GDP value is $124,596.
The island-state of Singapore has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a British colony in the 19th century. Located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore has no natural resources, yet it is now the second richest country in the world.
A key driver of Singapore’s economy is its status as a global financial services hub. Hundreds of central banks and financial institutions have set up operations in Singapore, drawn by its favorable business climate and well-developed infrastructure.
This sector provides high-paying jobs for skilled workers and generates significant tax revenue for the government. The GDP of the country is $131,580.
Luxembourg, a small country in Western Europe, is the world’s most prosperous country as measured by GDP per capita. Having a population of 645,397, Luxembourg has a GDP of $140,694, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Luxembourg has a lot to offer. This landlocked nation is home to many people working in various industries. The advanced infrastructure and high values for the labor market are attracting investments.
Moreover, it outperforms other countries in the Eurozone in income, health, environmental quality, safety, and life satisfaction with its excellent social welfare programs for its citizens. Their average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is $44,773 a year.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Richest Country in the World
Is the USA the Richest Country in the World?
No, Luxembourg is the richest country in the world, with a GDP per capita of $140,694 and a 5.23% unemployment rate.
Which Country Is the Richest this Year?
The distinction belongs to Luxembourg. Despite its small stature compared to other countries in the world, it boasts a better economy than its neighboring European countries.
Conclusion – Richest Country in the World
Since 2014, when Luxembourg surpassed the $100,000 GDP mark, it has steadily reached the top as one of Europe’s richest economies. The Grand Duchy’s business-friendly reputation, a stable workforce, low corporate taxes, and various incentives for investors ensure its economy will continue to thrive. Given that Luxembourg has these working for their economy, it’s not surprising that their GDP is high.
We see that a country’s GDP is directly related to being included in the list of the top richest countries in the world. Though a high GDP is important, it can change based on the wealth distribution per capita to the high population of some countries. The crucial factor here is how the government and its citizenry, especially private corporations manage themselves to ensure that work and wealth are distributed equally.
The country is only as strong as its weakest link, so ensuring everyone is considered a vital balance that needs to be played out to be a part of the richest countries in the world.
This post originally appeared on Hello Sensible.
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Celebz Net Worth, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content. I’m a full-time traveler, and I’ve been to 49 countries and 5 continents.
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.