This Is the Richest Country in the World

There are several ways to measure a country’s wealth. Gross domestic product, for one, measures the total value of goods and services produced within a country and is a good gauge for the size of an economy. Another measure is gross national income. When the total GNI of a country is divided by its population, GNI per capita can provide insights into the economic well-being and standard of living within a nation. 

For example, residents of countries with the highest GNI per capita tend to enjoy longer life expectancies and governments with relatively less corruption than poorer countries. 

GNI per capita is a useful measure of a country’s wealth as it takes into account both the income generated domestically and income earned from abroad, offering a more comprehensive reflection of a nation’s economic performance in relation to population size.

To determine the 20 richest countries in the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on GNI per capita for 198 countries and special regions from the World Bank. The World Bank estimates GNI per capita using the purchasing power parity method. Figures are in current international dollars. The 20 countries on this list have GNI per capita of over $56,000.

Because GNI per capita considers both total income and population size, not just countries with the largest economies are on this list, but also small nations that have both smaller economies and smaller populations. So while China has the world’s second largest economy by GDP, it is not on the list as its population is the world’s largest. China’s GNI per capita is $19,160, ranking 79th. (See if the wealthiest countries also rank among the happiest countries in the world.)

Conversely, a small country like Iceland makes the list. Although it has a relatively small economy by GDP (only 110th largest), it has just about 370,000 residents, making for a relatively high GNI per capita of $56,250. (Iceland also has no military. See the countries without a military and who defends them.)

The majority of the countries on this list are European, including all Scandinavian countries, but there are also several countries in Asia, two in the Middle East, and one from North America – the United States, which ranks 11th on the list with a GNI per capita of $70,480 despite having by far the largest economy in the world by GDP.

Click here to see the richest country in the world.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

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