Denmark has been the most prosperous country of the world in 2019, according to the Legatum Prosperity Index 2019. It is followed by Norway and Switzerland, while New Zealand is the only non-European country among the top ten. 

10 Most Prosperous Countries

The ten most prosperous countries for 2019 – all of them being high income nations – include the five Nordic countries. These countries usually rank high on related indexes, such as those on livability, happiness, human development, and security. The top ten are ranked as follows.  

  1. Denmark
  2. Norway
  3. Switzerland
  4. Sweden
  5. Finland
  6. Netherlands
  7. New Zealand
  8. Germany
  9. Luxembourg
  10. Iceland
New Zealand is among the world’s most prosperous countries. Pictured above is Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.

Canada, ranked 14, is the most prosperous country in the Americas, while the top twenty nations also include three from Asia: Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan. Mauritius (44) is the top ranked country in Africa. Among other countries, United Kingdom is ranked 11, United States is at 18, and Russia is ranked 74.

Also read about the world’s leading countries in gender-equality and the happiest nations on earth

Key Findings of the Report

The 13th edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index, published towards the end of 2019, points to largely improving global prosperity since 2009. Out of the 169 countries included in the index, 148 have improved over the past decade, but 19 have declined in prosperity. While living conditions, education, and health have improved in recent years, the natural environment has stagnated.

China, although fast rising in economic prosperity, is ranked 57 in the Legatum Prosperity Index 2019. Pictured above is the Huangpu region of Shanghai.

The overall investment climate has improved globally, and access to internet has actually doubled since 2009. Both health and education have also improved, leading to improvements in living conditions. However, certain determinants of prosperity, such as personal freedom and governance, have deteriorated in most regions of the world. Security is another area of concern in large parts of the world.


The Legatum Prosperity Index, developed by the London-based Legatum Institute, analyzes the performance of 167 countries across three domains considered essential to prosperity: inclusive societies, open economies, and empowered people. The index is based on 12 “pillars of prosperity” which are split into 65 elements. It is constructed using 294 indicators from over 80 data sources, focusing on both economic and social well-being. The rankings also incorporate input from over 100 expert advisers.

The 12 Pillars of Prosperity, as determined by the Legatum Prosperity Index

“Prosperity entails much more than wealth: it reaches beyond the financial into the political, the judicial, and the well-being and character of a nation — it is about creating an environment where a person is able to reach their full potential. A nation is prosperous when it has effective institutions, an open economy, and empowered people who are healthy, educated, and safe.”

– Baroness Philippa Stroud, CEO of the Legatum Institute

You can download the Legatum Prosperity Index 2019 here.

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