How prosperous is your country? It’s perhaps one of the most important questions for any citizen living anywhere on earth. Stable and growing economies increase per capita income and promote the overall well-being of its citizens.
The Legatum Prosperity Index’s economy sub-index measures countries’ performances in four areas that are essential to promoting prosperity: macroeconomic policies, economic satisfaction and expectations, foundation for growth, and financial sector efficiency. The sub-index demonstrates the outcomes of sound policies, and an efficient financial sector.
Here’s the Top Ten List :
Economic prosperity in this former British colony has not at all diminished since it was returned to China in 1997 and became a Special Administrative Region (SAR), subject to its own unique laws and regulations, apart from the country itself. Hong Kong places in the upper quartile on rates of inflation, gross domestic savings, and unemployment. Hong Kong’s vaunted financial institutions are a great strength, as 72% of residents express confidence in their banking system, and just 0.9% of loans are non-performing, placing the region in the top 10 on this variable.
Finland has a relatively low inflation rate of 4.1% and a domestic savings rate of 25%. Overall optimism about the economy is high, placing Finland 25th on this variable. Annual GDP growth per capita averaged at 3% between 2004 and 2008. Finland is among the world’s top 20 in terms of its rate of high-tech exports and in the top 30 for rates of foreign direct investment. Finland’s banks hold the second lowest rate of non-performing loans, suggesting an exceptionally high degree of banking efficiency.
With low inflation, high gross domestic savings, and low unemployment, Australia’s macroeconomic fundamentals are sound. High standards of living mirror the country’s macroeconomic position. In 2008, a very high 94.1% of Australians reported being able to afford adequate food and shelter, placing the country 10th in terms of citizens’ satisfaction with overall standards of living. The country’s banking sector is also strong, as Australia has the third lowest rates of non-performing loans and public confidence in financial institutions is well above the global average.
The Swedish economy is both productive and stable. At 3.4%, inflation is very low, and a healthy rate of gross domestic savings places the country 32nd, worldwide, in the Index. Citizens’ ability to pay for adequate food and shelter is very good, placing the country 13th overall, while the country places fourth highest with respect to overall satisfaction with standards of living. The country places 11th for citizens’ attitudes towards local employment prospects and 19th with regard to optimism for prevailing economic conditions.
This prosperous Asian island-state has an unemployment rate among the five lowest in the Index, at 2.1%. Living standards are high in Singapore, with only a tiny proportion claiming they did not have sufficient financial means to provide their family with adequate food and shelter at any point in 2009, as almost 80% of the population is satisfied with their standard of living. Correspondingly, a very high 83% of the population reports having confidence in the country’s financial institutions, which is the ninth highest proportion.
America’s northern neighbor has a stable economy with a low rate of inflation, ranking second in the Index. Public satisfaction with living standards was high in 2009, as was universality of access to food and shelter. Canada has a firm foundation for future growth, with a very high value of physical capital per worker, placing 14th, on this variable. With only 1% of loans currently non-performing, public confidence remains high, with 74% of respondents stating their confidence in Canada’s financial institutions.
Second overall in the Legatum Prosperity Index, Denmark has a highly developed economy, with strong foundations for future growth. Inflation and unemployment rate place this country amongst the top 20 nations. With less than 1% of the population report having struggled to provide for their families, the lowest rate in the world, Danish citizens reported the highest standard of living. Danes also express a high degree of economic optimism: their confidence in the job market and the overall economic situation are ranked fourth and seventh, respectively.
Though small in physical size, the Netherlands boasts one of the most prosperous economies in the world. Inflation in the Netherlands is the fourth lowest on the Index, and its gross domestic savings is in an above average 28th place. A very high 92% were satisfied with their standard of living. The Dutch were the second most optimistic in the Index regarding local job market opportunities, but their expectations for the economy are only just above the global average and rank 46th in the world.
Switzerland has the third lowest inflation rate in the Index, high gross domestic savings, and very low unemployment. Living standards are among the highest globally with the majority of the population having access to affordable food and shelter, and nine out of 10 expressing satisfaction with their standard of living. Switzerland has a very solid foundation for growth. It has the third highest ratio of physical capital per worker in the Index. Non-performing loans are extremely low at 0.5%, while public perception of the vaunted Swiss financial institutions ranks in the top three.
Norway, No.1 overall in the Legatum Index, has an unemployment rate at just 2.6%. Norwegians are the second most satisfied in the world with their standard of living. In addition, they are first globally in their levels of optimism about local job market opportunities, and fourth in their general levels of economic confidence. Norway’s capital invested per worker is $177,000, the second highest in the world, and its domestic market is the 24th largest in the world. High-tech exports represent a fifth of Norwegian manufactured goods.