The annual Legatum Prosperity Index™ [PDF] ranks 142 countries across eight categories: the Economy, Entrepreneurship & Opportunity; Governance; Education; Health; Safety & Security; Personal Freedom; and Social Capital.

The 2015 findings reveal:

  • 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.
  • Switzerland is ranked 2nd in the Index for the third year in a row while Denmark has risen from 4th to 3rd compared to last year.

With seven years of comparable data the Prosperity Index is able to track national progress.

  • Indonesia has performed better than any country in the world over the past seven years, rising 21 places up the rankings to 69th this year.
  • Another strong performer since 2009 is Rwanda, which has risen 17 places up the Prosperity Index and now ranks 101st.
  • At the other end of the scale the poorest performers have been Syria (down 23 places), Tunisia (down 28 places) and Venezuela (down 16 places).

The least prosperous countries are predominantly found in sub-Saharan Africa, with the Central African Republic bottom of the rankings for a second year in a row. Six of the bottom ten countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, many countries in the Middle East also perform poorly:

Afghanistan is ranked second from bottom (141st), Syria is ranked 136th and Yemen is ranked 135th.

The 5 most prosperous countries are: The 5 least prosperous countries are: 
1. Norway
1.Central African Republic
2. Switzerland
2. Afghanistan
3. Denmark
3. Haiti
4. New Zealand
4. Chad
5. Sweden
5. Burundi
 

Other interesting findings from the report include:

  • Singapore is the most successful economy in the world. This year Singapore ranks 1st on the Economy sub-index. The country has the second highest capital per worker in the world: $240,750 per worker. 47% of the country’s manufactured exports are classified as ‘high-tech’, the third highest in the world. 
  • The UK is an increasing world-leader in entrepreneurship. The UK ranks 6th for Entrepreneurship & Opportunity. The country now ranks as the best place in Europe to start a business and 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 1st 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. 94% of Canadians believe that they have the freedom to choose the course of their own lives.
  • 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 unfavourably to the US and UK, where unemployment is 5.5% and 5.4% respectively.
  • The resource-exporting countries of sub-Saharan Africa see a slump in prosperity. Major resource exporters such as Botswana and Namibia fall 4 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).
  • People in the majority of countries in Latin America do not feel safe, or trust their government, or the law. Only 22% of people in Venezuela feel safe walking alone at night—the lowest in the world. Across the region fewer than 50% of people feel safe, trust the law, or approve of their government.

Nathan Gamester, Director of the Prosperity Index at the Legatum Institute, said:

“The Prosperity Index tells us that human progress goes beyond economics. 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. ”

“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. 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.”

To access the full report, data, and analysis, visit www.prosperity.com.

ENDS

Media Enquiries

For more information, please contact Nick Faith at the Legatum Institute (P: +44 (0) 7960 996 233)

About the Legatum Institute

The Legatum Institute is an international think tank and educational charity focused on promoting prosperity. We do this by researching our core themes of revitalising capitalism and democracy. The Legatum Prosperity Index™, our signature publication, ranks 142 countries in terms of wealth and wellbeing. For more information please go to www.li.com and www.prosperity.com


Regional Press Releases


Press Coverage

  • The most prosperous countries in the world, based on happiness and financial health, Daily Telegraph (View)
  • Low costs make UK best place in EU for business start-ups, Financial Times (£) (View)
  • Britain ranked as 15th most prosperous country in the world, City A.M. (View)
  • Britain best place in EU to start a business after economic recovery, Daily Mail (View)
  • Canada falls among world's most prosperous countries, Huffington Post Canada (View)
  • Britain ‘outstrips rest of EU in economic performance’, The Scotsman (View)
  • City and Business: UK the ‘go-to’ destination for new business, Daily Express (View)
  • The 26 happiest, richest, healthiest, and most crime-free countries to live in the world, Business Insider (View)
  • Safety and security fears hit US prosperity, CNBC (View)
  • Ireland is tenth most prosperous country in the world ahead of Britain and US, Irish Post (View)
  • Russia isn’t looking good. But it sure is feeling good, Washington Post (View)
  • Prosperity survey shows Malaysia just ‘upper middle’ class, trailing ‘high’ Singapore, The Malay Mail Online (View)
  • Singapore is world's top-ranked economy, Business Times Singapore (View)
  • Where Is India on the Global Prosperity Index?, Wall Street Journal India (View)
  • India ranked 99th in Prosperity Index 2015, The Times of India
    (View)
  • Australia Tops Education Marks In Global Prosperity Report, Huffington Post Australia (View)
  • Report Ranks Morocco Most Prosperous Country in North Africa, Morocco World News (View)
  • India ranks 92 in education among 145 countries, India Today (View)
  • You never walk alone, TimesLive South Africa (View)
  • UAE is 30th most prosperous nation in the world, The National UAE (View)
  • UK has best economy in the EU for starting a business, International Business Times (View)
  • Canada a little less prosperous but ‘freest country in the world’, Globe & Mail (View)
  • Canada ranks first in world for personal freedom and social tolerance, Yahoo News (View)
  • You are living in the world's fourth most prosperous country, NBR New Zealand (View - Paywall)
  • Norway ranks first at World Prosperity Index, New Europe (View)