2020 Legatum Prosperity Index™

The Legatum Prosperity Index™ has been designed to be a transformational tool to help enable targeted policy responses that can drive tangible improvements in prosperity.

A report for the Legatum Prosperity Index™ programme by Dr Stephen Brien

Published 16 Nov 2020

The 14th edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index™

The Legatum Prosperity Index™ analyses the performance of 167 nations across 66 policy-focused elements, measured by almost 300 country-level indicators. The Index enables us to construct a thoroughly comprehensive picture of prosperity, across its institutional, economic, and social dimensions. It is our ambition that leaders around the world will use the Index to help set their agendas for growth and development, and that it will enable others to hold them to account.

The indicators used in the Index are organised into 12 pillars which are grouped into three domains essential to prosperity:

  • Inclusive Societies: Safety and Security, Personal Freedom, Governance, and Social Capital
  • Open Economies: Investment Environment, Enterprise Conditions, Market Access and Infrastructure, and Economic Quality
  • Empowered People: Living Conditions, Health, Education, and Natural Environment

Using the Prosperity Index framework, nations around the world can assess their strengths and weaknesses in order to determine the economic and strategic choices that need to be made to drive greater levels of prosperity.

Key Findings

  • In the decade prior to COVID-19, global prosperity had risen continuously, driven by people’s lived experience improving and by more open economies.
  • People’s lived experience improved due to better education and living conditions across all regions. Health also improved in all regions except for North America.
  • Economies had become more open, due to improvements to communication and transport infrastructure, strengthened property rights, greater protections for investors and increased access to finance.
  • The improvement in social capital also contributed to the increase in global prosperity, but further improvement in prosperity has been held back by governance and personal freedom stagnating.
  • A lack of contestability within domestic markets and extensive restrictions on international investment is acting as a brake on economies becoming more open across parts of the world.
  • The improvement in global prosperity in the last 12 months has not kept pace with the progress of the previous two years, as Asia-Pacific and Western Europe stalled, and North America deteriorated slightly.

The Index shows that, overall, Denmark is the most prosperous country in the world, followed by Norway and Switzerland. North America remains the most prosperous region, followed by Western Europe and Eastern Europe.

Of the 167 countries included in this year’s Index, 147 have seen an improvement in their prosperity since 2010.

To read more about prosperity globally and explore the rankings for individual countries and regions, read the 2020 report or visit prosperity.com.


2020 Legatum Prosperity Index™:

The 14th edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index™

By Dr Stephen Brien

Nov 2020

Download the reportPDF