For the seventh year running, Norway is the most prosperous country in the world, according to the 2015 Legatum Prosperity Index™. The annual Legatum Prosperity Index™ ranks 142 countries across eight categories: the Economy; Entrepreneurship & Opportunity; Governance; Education; Health; Safety & Security; Personal Freedom; and Social Capital.
Norway comes out on top due to the freedom it offers its citizens, the quality of its healthcare system, and social bonds between its people. Also among the top five most prosperous countries are Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, and Sweden.
“The Prosperity Index tells us that human progress goes beyond economics,” said Nathan Gamester, Director of the Prosperity Index at the Legatum Institute. “Norway and other countries at the top of the Index provide opportunity and freedom to their citizens, access to quality healthcare and education, and provide safe environments for people to flourish in.”
Economically, Singapore is the most successful country in the world, according to the Index. This year Singapore ranks first on the economy sub-index. It boasts the second highest capital per worker in the world at $240,750 per worker, and 47% of the country’s manufactured exports are classified as “high-tech,” the third highest in the world.
The five least prosperous countries are Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Haiti, Chad, and Burundi.
“By contrast those countries or regions of the world where people feel unsafe, where they are forced to flee from their homes, and where the education and healthcare systems are failing do not provide prosperity to their citizens,” added Gamester. “Sadly this year the Prosperity Index reveals that the world is becoming an increasingly dangerous place. A dramatic decline in Safety & Security in Africa and the Middle East threatens to undermine prosperity across the world. Many European countries are still struggling to grapple with unemployment. The Prosperity Index shows that the world is becoming more prosperous, but ominous developments suggest that this cannot be taken for granted.”
The report also found that:
- The UK is an increasing world-leader in entrepreneurship. The UK ranks sixth for Entrepreneurship & Opportunity and now ranks as the best place in Europe to start a business. Fittingly, 88% of Britons believe that if you work hard you can get ahead in life, up from 84% last year and 78% in 2010.
- Canada is the new “Land of the Free.” Canada is the now the freest country in the world, having risen five places to first on the Personal Freedom sub-index. The country is the most tolerant of immigrants in the world—92% of people think that the country is a good place for immigrants. Nearly all Canadians (94%) believe that they have the freedom to choose the course of their own lives.
- Despite some landing in the top five prosperous countries, many of the Nordic economies are struggling to create jobs. Unemployment stands at 7.8% in Sweden, 9.4% in Finland, and 6.3% in Denmark. Across all the Nordic countries employment is only 59.3%. This compares unfavorably to the U.S. and UK, where unemployment is 5.5% and 5.4% respectively.
- The resource-exporting countries of sub-Saharan Africa are seeing a slump in prosperity. Major resource exporters such as Botswana and Namibia fell four places in the Prosperity Index, due to a massive 19-place fall in the Economy sub-index. Botswana (ranked 77th) is no longer the most prosperous country in Sub-Saharan Africa as a result, falling just behind South Africa (75th).
To access the full report, data, and analysis, visit www.prosperity.com.