The Top 10 Richest Country in The World Right Now
What is the first thing people think of when they think about the wealthiest countries in the world? What do people think of when they think of the smallest countries in the world? Surprised to learn that many of the richest nations are also the smallest?
Some small, but very wealthy countries like Luxembourg, Singapore, and Hong Kong benefit from sophisticated financial systems and tax regimes that encourage foreign investment and professional talent. Qatar and Brunei, for example, have huge reserves of hydrocarbons and other lucrative natural resources.
What does it mean to call a country “rich” in these times of increasing income inequality? Gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the total value of all goods or services produced in a country, can be divided by the number of full-time residents to determine how rich or poor a country is. This is why “rich” often means “small”.
Only when inflation rates are taken into consideration and the cost of local goods, services and other costs can we get an accurate picture of a country’s average standard of living. The result is known as purchasing power parity (PPP). This figure is often expressed in international dollars to enable comparisons between countries.
Do we assume that countries with high levels of this figure are more fortunate than those in other parts of the world? Not quite. This is because we are talking about averages. In any country, structural inequality could tip the balance in favour of the already privileged.
These disparities were revealed in ways that few could have predicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it is clear that the richest nations, which are often more susceptible to the coronavirus because of their older populations and other risk factors, had the resources to provide better care for those in need, there was no guarantee that everyone could have equal access to these resources. The economic downturn also hit lower-paid workers more than those in higher-paying jobs. There is a new type of inequality: while some people can work remotely, others lose their income and find themselves without any safety net. Large holes were discovered in some of the most renowned welfare systems in the country.
You can be certain that in times of crisis such as those of unprecedented proportions, you would prefer to be somewhere where social services and welfare can provide some assistance, and where hospitals have reliable electricity access. According to the International Monetary Fund data, the average per capita purchasing power in the 10 poorest countries is less than $1200. In the 10 richest, it is close to $80,000.
There is another reason to be cautious about accepting economic prosperity as it stands. The IMF has repeatedly warned that certain numbers should not be taken lightly. Many countries in our ranking are tax-havens. This means that wealth generated elsewhere ends up inflating their own GDP due to sophisticated accounting and legal procedures. It is believed that more than 15% of global jurisdictions have been identified as tax havens. Additionally, 40% of global direct foreign investment flows are “phantom transactions”. These are financial investments that pass through empty corporate shells without any real impact on the country’s economy or people’s financial well-being. It is easy to see why people in very wealthy countries are often very poor.
List Of World’s Richest Country By Economy in 2021
Current International Dollars: 58,932 | Click To View GDP & Economic Data
Jantelovenm is a Danish moral concept that has been popularized in Denmark and other Nordic countries. It means “the law Jante.” It places the well-being of society above individuality and personal ambition and makes equality a key component of interpersonal relations as well as policy decisions. This is why we can say that the average Danish per-capita purchase is $60,000, which is also truer than the statements made in countries with fewer people and more money.
Denmark’s modern, internationally competitive service-based economy means that both public and household finances were less affected by the pandemic than countries that heavily rely on tourism, manufacturing, or oil product exports. Its 5.8 million citizens enjoy high employment rates and wages, an efficient social security system, and routinely topping the world’s happiest countries ranking
9. Hong Kong SAR
Current International Dollars: 59,519 | Click To View GDP & Economic Data
This former British colony is now a gateway to China’s mainland. It also houses Asia’s largest financial centre. Hong Kong’s economy is low in taxes and has no capital gains, inheritance levies or taxation. There are no tariffs for the import or export of goods. Foreigners can also own their businesses without any citizenship, residency, or nationality requirements.
This tiny island, measuring just 1,104 kilometres (427 miles), is therefore extremely rich. However, this does not mean that every one of the 7.5 million inhabitants is rich. According to government statistics, one-fifth of them lives below the poverty line. Hong Kong, with its roughly 9,000 ultra-high-net-worth individuals with net worths of $30 million or greater, is battling New York for the title of the city with the most ultra-high-net-worth people in the world.
Remarkably, the widening income inequality has also been a contributing factor to the political unrest that roiled Hong Kong since 2019, disrupting businesses and spooking foreign investors. The pandemic caused a 6.1% decline in the economy last year, which was the largest ever recorded.
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8. Brunei Darussalam
Current International Dollars: 62,371 | Click To View GDP & Economic Data
There are 1,788 rooms including 257 bathrooms. A banquet hall can hold up to 5,000 people. A mosque for 1,500, a stable for 200 ponies, 5 pools and 18 elevators. This is where Hassanal Bolkiah (the Sultan of Brunei) lives. His fortune, derived from the vast oil and natural gas reserves of the country, is estimated at $28 billion. This figure is more than 50 times greater than that of Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain.
It isn’t all roses for the sultanate. Not because Bolkiah no longer holds the title of the richest monarch in the world (Thailand King Maha Vajiralongkorn, about $15 billion, is more wealthy). Brunei’s malnutrition is common despite the monarch’s wealth and a per-capita buying power of more than $60,000 on paper. It is estimated that 40% of the country’s 450,000 inhabitants earn less than $1,000 per year, although data is limited. The country was spared from the worst COVID-19 pandemic, with just a handful of cases. It was also hit hard by the oil price plunge that was caused by the pandemic. After registering a 13.9% increase in economic growth in 2019, it fell to 1.2% in 2020.
7. United States
Current International Dollars: 63,415 | Click To View GDP & Economic Data
Did you know that the richest countries also tend to be the poorest? The United States is an exception to this rule. Despite being at the bottom of the rankings for most of the past two decades, it managed to rise to the top 10, despite having been struggling to make ends meet.
Did the pandemic really make Americans richer? It all depends on who you ask. It is not the people who lost their jobs or businesses and found themselves with high-cost medical bills and other expenses. They flocked to food banks. The top earners in the top quintile, who make more than $60,000 per year, we’re able to work from home and see their stock investments increase in value. They also received stimulus checks.
Another story concerns how the super-rich fared in the wake of the crisis. According to the Institute for Policy Studies’ data, between March 2020 and April 2021 the total wealth of the 719 billionaires in America jumped by $1.62 trillion or 55% from $2.95 trillion up to $4.56 trillion. The wealth they now have is four times greater than that of the approximately 165 million Americans living in the bottom half. In 1990, the think tank says, the situation was reversed–billionaires were worth $240 billion and the bottom 50% had $380 billion in combined wealth.
This means that if your income is less than the average per capita GDP, you can argue that someone else is eating your lunch.
Current International Dollars: 65,800 | Click To View GDP & Economic Data
Oil has been the fuel for Norway’s economic engine since the discovery of large offshore oil reserves in the late 1960s. The country is the largest producer of oil in western Europe and has enjoyed rising oil prices for many decades. But not anymore. Prices crashed at the start of 2020 and then there was the global pandemic, which saw the krone plunge into freefall. Last year’s 2.5% decline in the Norwegian economy was the largest annual drop in over 50 years and possibly since World War Two.
Is this a sign that Norwegians today are less financially privileged than they were a few years ago? It is unlikely, and the GDP growth rate is expected to increase by 3.9% in 2021.
Norwegians have the luxury of relying on their $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth account, which is the largest in the world, for any economic problems that may arise. But Norwegians also know that wealth comes with great responsibility. High per capita GDP figures, unlike other rich countries, are a reflection of people’s financial well-being since Norway has one of the lowest income inequality gaps worldwide.
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Current International Dollars: 72,873 | Click To View GDP & Economic Data
The bobsleigh, white chocolate and the Swiss Army knife are all available. The computer mouse, the immersion blender and velcro are just a few of the inventions that Switzerland has contributed to the world. These are just a few of the many inventions Switzerland has made to the world. This country of 8.6 million owes a lot to its banking and insurance services, tourism, and exports such as pharmaceuticals products, precious metals, tourist goods, and precision instruments and machinery (from watches to medical equipment and computers).
It is not surprising that Switzerland has the highest concentration of millionaires worldwide. The latest estimates show that there are 9.428 millionaires for every 100,000 people (billionaires excluded) – 11.8% of the total population.
However, all that money could not protect the Swiss economy against the effects of Covid-19. In 2020, production fell by 2.9%. It could have been worse, particularly when you consider that the contractions in Italy, Spain and France were respectively 8.8%, 10.9% and 8.2%, respectively.
What are we responsible for the difference? The IMF owes the difference to an immediate and sustained policy response via emergency spending and containment. But also to the Swiss economy, which has strong public and household finances, competitive industries and low dependence on contact-intensive sector sectors.
Current International Dollars: 93,508 | Click To View GDP & Economic Data
It’s not just the last year’s oversupply/demand crisis and the exacerbating effects of COVID-19. Oil prices have been falling steadily and sometimes dramatically since the mid-2010s. In 2014, the per-capita GDP for a Qatari citizen was more than $143,222. It was $97,846 in 2014. Today, it is lower.
Yet, the country’s oil and gas, petrochemical and petrochemical resources are so vast and its population is so small (just a 2.8million), that this wonder of ultramodern architecture and luxury shopping malls has managed to remain at the top of the list of the richest countries in the world for the past 20 years.
Despite only 12% of residents being Qatari, COVID-19 spread quickly in the country, similar to other Gulf states. It was especially prevalent among low-income migrant workers who live in cramped quarters. Although curfews, lockdowns, and quarantines have been used more than once in Qatar, the country still has one of the highest numbers of positive cases within the region.
The economy is still resilient, having contracted by 2.6% in 2020. It is expected to rebound with an increase in gas production and investments in preparation for the 2022 World Cup.
Current International Dollars: 94,391 | Click To View GDP & Economic Data
Ireland was unstoppable until recently. While Europe was dealing with all sorts of uncertainties (Brexit and trade tensions between the U.S. and Europe to name a few), Ireland’s economy continued to thrive: while the Eurozone experienced a 1.2% growth rate in 2019, it experienced an increase of over 5.9% which consolidated its position as the fastest-growing country on the continent. This all changed in 2020. Although it is expected that economic growth will rebound nicely this year, it has more than halved since the previous levels.
Ireland, a nation with fewer than 5million inhabitants, was among the most severely affected by the 2008 financial crisis. The island nation was able to recover its fiscal health and boost its employment rates by taking difficult reforms like deep cuts in public-sector salaries and restructuring its banking sector. It also saw its per capita GDP nearly double within a short time.
Are citizens now twice as wealthy as they were 10 years ago? It is unlikely. Ireland is the largest corporate tax haven in the world, and ordinary citizens benefit far more than multinationals. They are certainly better off now than they were before, but the OECD data shows that the per capita disposable income of the national household is lower than the average for all member countries, at $25,300 a year versus $33,600. The country’s unemployment rate will rise to 8.1%, from 5.8%, due to the planned withdrawal of government pandemic support. There is a significant gap between the wealthiest and the poorest, with the top 20% earning almost five times more than the bottom 20%. Most families wouldn’t be happy to think that they are wealthy.
Current International Dollars: 97,056 | Click To View GDP & Economic Data
Zhang Yong, a restaurateur, has an estimated net worth of $23 billion. Goh Cheng Liang (93), who is the founder of the largest paint manufacturer in the world, is a close second, with a $21.7 billion fortune. Eduardo Saverin (co-founder of Facebook) comes in third with assets of around $15 billion. He left the U.S. in 2011 with 53 million shares and became a permanent resident of Singapore. Saverin chose Singapore, not for its natural gateways or urban attractions. Singapore is a wealthy fiscal haven, where capital gains, as well as dividends, are exempt from tax.
How did Singapore become so successful? One-half of Singapore’s population was illiterate when it became an independent city-state in 1965. Singapore, which had virtually no natural resources, managed to pull itself together through hard work and smart policies, becoming one the most business-friendly countries in the world. Singapore today is a vibrant financial, trade and manufacturing hub. 98% of Singapore’s adult population is now educated. It isn’t as if Singapore has been immune to the effects of global downturns: In 2020, the economy plunged a record 5.4%, putting the country in recession for the first time in over a decade.
Current International Dollars: 118,001 | Click To View GDP & Economic Data
Luxembourg is known for its beautiful castles, stunning countryside, cultural festivals and gastronomic delights. You could also open an offshore account with one of the banks to avoid ever returning, which many people do. This would be a shame, as Luxembourg, a nation of 625,000, is located in the heart of Europe and has much to offer its citizens and tourists. Luxembourg spends a lot of its wealth on better housing, education, and healthcare for its citizens, who enjoy the highest standard of living in the Eurozone.
Despite the fact that the global financial crisis and pressure from the EU/OECD to reduce bank secrecy had minimal impact on the economy overall, many businesses were forced to close down and employees lost their jobs due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Luxembourg, however, has fared better than many of its European neighbour’s thanks to effective testing and contact traceability measures. In 2021, the GDP of the grand duchy will rise by 4%, compared to -1.3% in 2020. In 2014, the country reached $100,000 per capita in GDP and has not looked back since. That was true despite the pandemic.
Here is a quick recap of the Top 10 Richest Countries in the World 2021.
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