Which country in the world comes out on top as the richest? The answer to this question might surprise you. The following is a list of the 15 richest countries in the world by measure of gross domestic product (at purchasing power parity) per capita. What this means is that a country's Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, is divided amongst the country's residents to show how much wealth the country's citizens could obtain, if the GDP if a country were to be divided equally. Although this division of income is never a reality, looking at per capita income is still a very valuable way to measure the performance of any given country's economy. The measurement of PPP, or Purchasing Power Parity, means that each country's income is looked at through a lens which examines the cost of consumer goods within the country, in US dollars. This helps ensure that the cost of living is taken into consideration when the wealth of residents is determined.
All figures in this article are taken from the latest 2017 numbers according to the International Monetary Fund.
15. Bahrain - $51,845 GDP (PPP) per capita
Bahrain, an island country in the Persian Gulf, enjoys a per capita income of $51,845, making it the world's 15th richest country. Furthermore, Bahrain is home to one of the world's fastest growing economies. Although the economy is still rather dependent on oil - petroleum processing is the country's most popular export - Bahrain has been diversifying its economy to include sectors such as service and tourism.
14. Iceland - $52,150 GDP (PPP) per capita
This European island country, found in the North Atlantic Ocean, has a per capita income of $52,150. Iceland is a highly developed country with a population that hovers around 300,000. Though the country has a small population, its residents enjoy a high quality of life, with access to high quality education and universal healthcare. The major components of Iceland's economy include software production, biotechnology, and tourism (ecotourism in particular).
13. Netherlands - $53,581 GDP (PPP) per capita
With 16.8 million people and a per capita GDP of $53,581, the Netherlands is more than just a country known for its beautiful tulips. Its success comes from three key sectors: mining, agriculture, and manufacturing. Many people do not know that the Netherlands is actually a kingdom of four countries: Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands and Sint Maarten. However, the Netherlands makes up 98% of the total land area in the Kingdom.
12. Saudi Arabia - $55,262 GDP (PPP) per capita
The economy of Saudi Arabia is mainly oil-based, with strong government control over major economic activities. The country's GDP (PPP) per capita is $55,262. Saudi Arabia possesses 18% of the world's proven petroleum reserves and ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum. It played a leading role in OPEC for many years.The petroleum sector accounts for almost all of Saudi government revenues and export earnings. Despite possessing the largest petroleum reserves in the world, its per capita income is much smaller than of that of smaller Persian Gulf neighbors.
11. United States - $59,495 GDP (PPP) per capita
While most nations on the list have (relatively) small populations, it is impressive that the world's largest economy, the United States, can maintain a per capita GDP (PPP) of $59,495, considering its population of over 310 million people. Reasons behind its success include its large domestic automotive industry, a technological sector that fosters innovation, and a system of democracy that protects entrepreneurial and intellectual property rights.
10. San Marino - $60,358 GDP (PPP) per capita
The tiny European microstate of San Marino holds the designation of being the world's tenth richest country, with the average personal income coming in at $60,358. Major industries in San Marino include banking, tourism, electronics, and wine and cheese production. Notably, San Marino holds no national debt. Around half of its economy is fueled by tourism.
9. Switzerland - $61,359 GDP (PPP) per capita
The GDP (PPP) per Swiss citizen is $61,359. Swiss banking and financial institutions keep this country and its economy afloat. It is important to note that some of the wealthiest people and companies in the world own Swiss bank accounts and therefore Switzerland has excess capital to use for investment purposes. Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland's most well-known cities, have consistently ranked among the top ten worldwide in terms of standards of living.
8. The United Arab Emirates - $68,245 GDP (PPP) per capita
This Middle Eastern federation of emirates has a land area of about 32,278 sq. miles, which means it could easily fit within New York State (54,556 sq. miles). With a population of 9.2 million people, it's a bit more populated than the state of New Jersey. Roughly one third of the $68,245 per capita economy comes from oil revenues, while the service sector and telecommunications also contribute significantly. The UAE is the second largest economy in the Arab world after Saudi Arabia.
7. Kuwait - $69,669 GDP (PPP) per capita
Kuwait hosts a small, relatively open economy and its citizens enjoy a per capita GDP (PPP) of $69,669. The highest-valued currency unit in the world currently is the The Kuwaiti dinar. With nearly 10% of the world's oil reserves, petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP and 95% of export revenues and government income. In recent years, Kuwait has done little to diversify its economy due to a very positive fiscal situation.
6. Norway - $70,590 GDP (PPP) per capita
This Nordic nation's per capita GDP of $70,590 allows its 4.97 million people to reap the benefits of a small yet robust economy. Driven by fishing, natural resources, and major petroleum exploration, Norway is the eighth largest exporter of crude oil, 9th largest exporter of refined oil, and 3rd largest exporter of natural gas in the world.
5. Ireland - $72,632 GDP (PPP) per capita
The Emerald Isle has a per capita income of about $72,632 with a population of about 4.8 million people. The main industries that boost its economy are textiles, mining, and food production - staple products in any economy. In OECD (Organization
4. Brunei - $76,743 GDP (PPP) per capita
Brunei, a small country in southeast Asia, has an economy that is a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation and welfare measures, and village tradition. This has led to GDP per capita (PPP) of $76,743. It is almost completely supported by exports of crude oil and natural gas. Like other oil countries in the list the government has shown progress in diversifying the economy away from just oil and gas.
3. Singapore - $90,531 GDP (PPP) per capita
This tiny city-state has moved up from 5th position to take 3rd with per capita income (PPP) of $90,531, which is five times the average per capita income for an ordinary individual in the world. The basis of Singapore's wealth is its financial services sector, a chemical export industry, and its liberal economic policies that encourage growth and innovation. Singapore has the second busiest port in the world, exporting $414 billion of goods in 2011 alone.
2. Luxembourg - $109,191 GDP (PPP) per capita
A symbol of wealth, Luxembourg takes second place with a per capita GDP (PPP) of $109,191. This is nine times the world average. The backbone of this strong economy is its vibrant financial sector, prudent fiscal policies, and dynamic industrial and steel sectors. Banking in Luxembourg is the largest sector of its economy with an asset base of over $1.24 trillion alone.
1. Qatar - $124,927 GDP (PPP) per capita
Qatar is the richest country in the world with a per capita income of $124,927. Qatar has a well-developed oil exploration industry where the petroleum industry accounts for 70% of its government revenue, 60% of its GDP and 85% of its export earnings. Although the size of Qatar's GDP is barely within the top 50th largest in the world, the country's relatively low population of two million results in a large GDP per capita, where most residents of the country enjoy a very high standard of living.
The 25 Richest Countries
|Rank||Country||GDP Per Capita (U.S. Dollars)|
|8||United Arab Emirates||68,245|
|23||Australia and New Zealand||48,027|