Large, first-world nations almost always come to mind when we think about the world’s most affluent countries, but many would be surprised to find that many of the wealthiest nations are also amongst the smallest.
Yes, you read it right. Small countries like Luxembourg, Singapore, and Hongkong–though part of the world’s tiniest countries– benefit from having sophisticated financial sectors and tax regimes that help attract foreign investments and professional talent, therefore putting them on top of the list. Meanwhile, countries like Qatar and Brunei possess large reserves of hydrocarbons or other lucrative natural resources, which help boost their economies.
Are you curious to know which countries made it to the top nine of the world’s richest nations? Read on to find out!
If you’re aiming for a world-class travel experience, then look no further! Surely, a trip to the world’s richest nation will be a tough match to beat!
Book a trip to Luxembourg and roam through its castles and beautiful countryside, join cultural festivals or experience its gastronomic specialties. Situated at the very heart of Europe, this nation of about 625,000 has plenty to offer to locals and tourists alike. Luxembourg also takes pride in using a large sum of its wealth to deliver better housing, healthcare, and education to its people, who by far enjoy the highest standard of living in the Eurozone.
With a large number of the world’s most affluent people choosing to live in Singapore, it’s not a surprise that this tiny nation comes second on our list.
Have you ever wondered how Singapore became so prosperous? When the city-state became independent in 1965, almost one-half of its population was illiterate and left with virtually no natural resources. The tiny nation pulled itself up by its bootstraps through hard work and smart policy, becoming one of the world’s most business-friendly places. Today, the country is a thriving trade, manufacturing, and financial hub, with 98% of its adult population is now literate.
With a population of only less than 5 million, Ireland was one of the hardest-hit nations by the 2008 financial crisis. But, through politically difficult reform measures like deep cuts to public-sector wages and restructuring its banking industry, the nation regained its fiscal health and up its employment rates, almost doubling its per capita GDP in a short amount of time.
Nevertheless, citizens don’t feel twice as rich as ten years ago. Ireland is also one of the world’s largest corporate tax havens, with ordinary people benefitting far less than multinationals do. And while they are undoubtedly better off than they used to be, the national household per-capita disposable income is lower than the overall member countries’ average, about $25,300 a year versus $33,600.
With the country’s brimming oil, gas, and petrochemical reserves and its fairly small population (2.8 million!), Qatar’s ultramodern architecture, luxury shopping malls, and fine cuisine have brought the country to the list of the world’s most affluent nations for over 20 years.
Yet, with only about 12% of the residents being Qatari nationals, the country experienced hurdles when COVID-19 spread among low-income migrant workers living in crowded quarters at a furious speed the past year. Nevertheless, the economy shows a certain resilience and is projected to rebound amid a rise in gas production and investment in preparation for the 2022 World Cup.
Switzerland owes much of its wealth to its banking and insurance services and tourism. The country, with a population of 8.6 million, also maintains a thriving exporting industry through pharmaceuticals products, gems, precious metals, precision instruments, and machinery
It’s not a surprise that Switzerland has the highest density of millionaires in the world. According to the most recent estimates, for every 100,000 residents, there are 9,428 of them (billionaires included)—11.8% of the total considering just the adult population.
Since the discovery of large offshore reserves in the late 1960s, Norway’s economy has revolved around oil. Being western Europe’s top petroleum producer, the country has benefitted from rising prices for decades until the prices crashed at the beginning of 2020 due to the global pandemic. As a result, the Norwegian economy contracted by 2.5% last year, with what may be the largest annual decline in half a century, possibly since World War Two. Despite this downfall, Norwegians can always count on their $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest.
United States of America
Of course, the richest countries are NOT ALWAYS the smallest, at least for the United States of America! Despite a very difficult 2020, the country still managed to climb to the top 10 of the list after teetering its edges for the best part of the last two decades.
Did Americans truly get richer during the pandemic? Well, those in the top quintile of the population and earning over $60,000 a year managed in many cases to keep working from home, saw their stock investments grow in value and received stimulus checks on top of that.
1, 788 rooms, 257 bathrooms, a banquet hall that can accommodate up to 5,000 guests, a mosque for 1,500 people, an air-conditioned stable for 200 polo ponies, five pools, and 18 elevators– this is where Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, lives and gets his monthly $20,000 haircut. His fortune — derived from the immense reserves of oil and natural gas of the country— is estimated to be at $28 billion. Yes, more than 50 times that of Queen Elizabeth.
Of course, it is not always roses and unicorns in the sultanate. Despite the monarch’s opulence and an on-paper per-capita purchasing power of over $60,000, malnutrition in Brunei is commonplace. Luckily, the country was spared the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with only a few hundred recorded cases. Unfortunately, the country still experienced the pandemic-related plunge in oil prices: after registering a 13-year high of 3.9% economic growth in 2019, GDP growth fell to 1.2% in 2020.
Hong Kong SAR
A former British colony, this special administrative region of China is a gateway to the mainland and Asia’s top financial center. Yes, this tiny island of just 1,104 square kilometers (427 square miles) is extremely rich as a whole– yet, not all of its 7.5 million residents are! According to government statistics, one in five lives below the poverty line. Nevertheless, Hong Kong contends with New York for the title for the city with the largest number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals in the world, about 9,000 people with $30 million or more in net worth.
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Large, first-world nations🏰 almost always come to mind🧠 when we think about the world’s🌎 most affluent countries, but many would be surprised to find that many of the wealthiest nations are also amongst the smallest.😮
Are you curious🤔 to know which countries made it to the top nine of the world’s richest nations?🌎💲💲 Read on and find out!🤓
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