As we look ahead to the future and analyze which countries we can benefit from the most in terms of investment, retirement, and quality of life, it’s essential to keep an eye on what countries are flourishing and which are struggling.
So what is the richest country in the world set to be in 2023? The answer to this may surprise you.
In this article, we’ll look at the richest country in the world’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product), the richest country in the world by net worth, and the richest country in the world per capita.
We’ll also find out the world’s richest country in 2023 based on indicators that also measure non-economic factors that even the poorest countries can score highly on, such as:
- Gross National Happiness (GNH)
- Human Development Index (HDI)
- Social Progress Index (SPI)
These measurements combined give a better overall view of the wealthiest countries. We’ll explore why certain countries have been so successful and take a look at what is likely to be the world’s richest country in 2023.
What is net worth?
Commonly referred to as national net wealth but also known as national net worth, this is the sum of a country’s assets less its liabilities concerning external debt owed to foreign countries or financial institutions. It measures how much wealth a nation possesses at a given time and the size of its international monetary fund.
It’s a critical component of how a country’s credit rating is scored. Countries receive a credit rating through what is known as a sovereign credit rating assessment. An independent credit rating agency carries out this assessment upon the request of the sovereign state to investigate its financials and determine its creditworthiness.
A nation’s net wealth is crucial because it significantly affects sovereign credit ratings. It has a big impact on foreign investment and countries looking to strike up trade deals with stable economies, as well as eligibility for more favorable rates for international borrowing based on trustworthiness and economic stability.
It’s perfectly plausible to measure the richest country in the world by net worth.
The Richest Country in the World by Net Worth
There have only been two front-runners for the richest country in the world over the last ten years, China and the United States. Because of its dominance in many areas of manufacturing, such as electronics, machinery, and textiles next to its staggering industrial output, China has edged closer to the crown of the richest country in the world by net worth.
There are several ways a country can place itself among the wealthiest nations. A British overseas territory like the famous tax haven, the Cayman Islands, has relaxed government tax rules that attract substantial foreign investment and the redirection of significant amounts of money.
The economic engine of countries in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar is driven by vast natural resources like natural gas and oil. This allows them to amass significant national wealth, and the per capita GDP is much higher than the GDP per capita in other developed countries around the world.
Other countries that are rich in net wealth, like South Korea and Germany, dominate high-tech industries and the production of goods such as mobile phones and motor vehicles that are essential in our daily lives today. They’ve been able to maintain strong economies and continued economic growth.
With that said, when we consider all the factors that determine a country’s wealth based on net worth, there’s only one clear winner.
According to Credit Suisse, the wealthiest nation in the world in 2022 by net worth was the United States, with a net wealth of $145.8 trillion.
There are several reasons for this:
- First, the US has a large and diversified economy that is relatively resilient to economic shocks. This has given the US an advantage over competing countries through difficult economic periods, helping to create wealth and stimulate growth across a wide range of industries and sectors.
- Second, the US has a strict rule of law and property rights culture that protects people’s ability to accumulate wealth.
- Third, the US has a culture that encourages entrepreneurship and risk-taking. In many countries in the world, people are happy to work and live normal lives; the US has a fierce competitive nature to it, where becoming rich is the ultimate goal for many.
- Finally, the US dollar is the world’s dominant reserve currency. The world bank and many central banks and financial institutions worldwide prefer to hold US dollars and dollar-backed securities, so the demand for US dollars remains strong. As a result, the US is able to borrow more cheaply (at lower interest rates) than it would otherwise.
What is per capita?
In economics, business, and statistics, per capita refers to the average or median figure per person. It’s a Latin term that means “by the head,” but is used to indicate “by the person.”
On the subject of the wealthiest country in the world, per capita relates to the median numbers for net worth per person and the amount of money earned per person in a nation or geographic region.
Per capita income determines the average income per person for an area. It also determines purchasing power parity and is a decisive metric when evaluating the standard of living and quality of life.
The Richest Country in the World by Per Capita
You’ll see many countries like Germany and the United Kingdom top the list in terms of overall net worth, but due to population sizes, the per capita net worth can be substantially lower than in other nations with a lower net worth.
This is evident from small countries like Singapore and Israel being on the list of the richest countries in the world by the value of financial assets per capita.
According to a study from Allianz A.G., in 2022, the US was ranked as the richest country in the world per capita, with a figure of $259,780.
European countries with a comparatively low population made up four of the top eight countries, which were:
Switzerland – $237,110
Denmark – $183,610
Sweden – $146,530
The Netherlands – $125,510
Why European countries top the charts for net worth per capita can be attributed to several things:
- Seven of the top ten countries with the highest salary in the world are in Europe.
- Europe has several countries in the top places for safe banking.
- Seven of the top ten countries for income equality are in Europe.
- Europe is the most economically stable region, which provides job security.
What is GDP?
GDP, also known as a country’s gross national income, is the principal factor when determining the wealthiest nation in the world. It measures how much money a country makes, how much a country produces, and what revenue its citizens generate.
It enables a country’s policymakers and central banks to accurately judge whether the economy is expanding or contracting, whether it needs to be reinforced or repressed, and if economic threats such as a recession or widespread inflation loom on the horizon.
National income and product accounts (NIPA) are the basis for measuring a country’s GDP.
By using NIPA, economic policymakers, businesses, and many financial watchdog groups of any given country can examine the impact of variables like fiscal and monetary policy, economic shocks, such as a spike in oil prices, and federal tax and spending plans on specific subgroups of the economy, in addition to the country’s overall economic health.
In other words, the higher a nation’s GDP – also referred to as gross national income – the more financially stable and prosperous it is, and therefore, the more potential it has for GDP growth.
This leads to significant interest from international companies and foreign businesses, as trade deals with firms in countries with a high overall GDP can be highly profitable. A high GDP also provides leverage in trading talks which increases spending power.
Financial watchdog groups also conclude that citizens living in a country with the highest GDP and per capita GDP enjoy a higher median wage, increased purchasing power, and access to better public services and welfare.
The human capital and GDP values based on what a country earns can highly favor foreign businesses too. Services produced from international business practices are highly beneficial to even the wealthiest countries and tax havens.
The Richest Country in the World by GDP
A rich country with a high overall GDP may misrepresent how well it is actually doing economically. According to a study by the IMF on the wealthiest countries, China’s GDP for 2022 was $19.24 trillion. However, due to the size of China’s population, this figure gives a GDP per capita output of just $13,626.
A more accurate way to determine the richest country in the world GDP-wise is to look at the average contribution to the economy per person. This is referred to as GDP per capita.
The US and China may lead in regard to overall GDP, but European countries rule for GDP per capita, with a staggering four countries in the top four places of the top ten countries for GDP per capita.
According to the IMF, the wealthiest nation in the world 2022 for GDP per capita was Luxembourg, with a sum of $127,673.
The figures for GDP per capita of the following three countries were:
Ireland – $102,217
Norway – $92,646
Switzerland – $92,434
For the sake of comparison, while the US has an overall GDP of $26.19 trillion, its GDP per capita is much lower at $75,180 than tax havens like Luxembourg, with a GDP per capita of $127,673.
A high GDP per capita is crucial when we want to determine the wealthiest country in the world, as it strongly indicates economic growth, stability, financial health, and taxpayers’ contribution to the economy.
The economic power of the European Union and its durability are worthy reasons to relocate there. Its tax havens effect from strict laws on financial protection, with universal deposit insurance and strictly regulated financial institutions, indicate that it’s the perfect region to protect global wealth.
The consistent foreign investment and extremely rich residents of multiple EU nations earning very high average wages compared to the rest of the world mean that developed nations in the EU – like Malta, which offers citizenship by investment – are the ideal place for American expats to set up shop and build a new life.
What is Gross National Happiness?
Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a measurement of economic and moral progress. Rather than focusing solely on quantitative economic factors such as GDP and money spent on social support by a government body to determine the wealthiest nation in the world, it considers other quality-of-life measures, which include:
- Good governance
- Ecological diversity
- Perception of corruption
- Freedom to make life choices
The Richest Country in the World by GNH
The GNH Index is a single-number index of 33 indicators under nine domain tiers.
Finland was ranked number one on the World Happiness Report in 2022 with a score of 7.8.
Countries in western Europe dominated the report, making up the next six places on the list:
Denmark – 7.65
Switzerland – 7.56
Iceland – 7.5
Norway – 7.48
Netherlands – 7.44
Sweden – 7.35
New Zealand – 7.3
Austria – 7.29
Luxembourg – 7.23
The 33 indicators give a balanced view of what makes a country’s inhabitants happy. These range from the strength of a passport that allows stress-free international travel, to access to green spaces in urban areas. It also measures the average life expectancy of citizens and their generosity towards each other.
Scandinavian countries dominate the list as they lead the world in sectors such as free education, low corruption, functioning democracies, and welfare benefits.
What is the Human Development Index?
The Human Development Index (HDI) was introduced as part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The UNDP was put together to help developing countries eliminate widespread poverty and achieve sustainable economic growth and prosperity.
As part of the UNDP, the HDI puts greater emphasis on assessing people and their capabilities as a measurement of a country’s development rather than strictly on economic growth alone.
The HDI gives a broader overview of the inequalities between regions by measuring the average achievement in key dimensions of human development. These include education and average annual wage.
HDI is particularly relevant to those looking for the best countries to retire in as it highlights which countries excel in the areas of health and wellness, and life expectancy.
The Richest Country in the World by HDI
Indicators are combined into a single number between 0 and 1.0. They are divided into four tiers: the lowest (below 0.55) for low human development and the highest (above 0.8) for very high human development.
Switzerland scored the highest in the UNDP, with a score of 0.962.
Two more European countries came in second and third:
Norway – 0.961
Iceland – 0.959
Despite being a small country, Switzerland and other European countries like it came out on top for the 2022 report due to high average life expectancy, high average annual incomes, universal health care, and access to free education, as well as their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is the Social Progress Index?
The Social Progress Index (SPI) is a report published by the US-based non-profit Social Progress Imperative. The report defines the wealthiest country in the world by its capacity to meet the basic human needs of its citizens by establishing the conditions that allow individuals to reach their full potential, and citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives.
The SPI score is a fair indicator to include when measuring the richest country in the world as the report is used to complement the statistics of economic factors such as GDP per capita, purchasing power parity of citizens, and the overall Gross Domestic Product of a nation.
SPI takes a deeper dive into a country’s wealth on a social level. It considers numerous non-economic factors, such as:
- Water and sanitation
- Personal safety
- Environmental quality
- Personal rights
- Access to advanced education
- Inclusion and equality
The Richest Country in the World by SPI
There are six tiers for SPI with scores up to 100.
The Social Progress Imperative gave Norway an SPI score of 92.63 to top the chart for 2022.
The trend continued for the wealthiest nation in the world, with European nations making up the next four places:
Finland – 92.26
Denmark – 92.15
Iceland – 91.78
Switzerland – 91.78
Despite a clear correlation between economic development and social progress, the connection doesn’t always apply. A country’s economic capacity often doesn’t coincide with its level of social progress, especially for middle- and lower-income nations.
A European country like Portugal may not be the wealthiest country in the world by net worth or have a GDP as high as the US. Still, Portugal is considered one of the best countries to move to from the US as it consistently ranks highly in SPI indicators such as personal safety, environmental quality, the standard of living, and health and wellness.
Portugal also ranked sixth after Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, and Austria in the 2022 Global Peace Index (GPI). GPI measures a country’s peacefulness based on factors such as its political stability and neutrality, citizens’ access to weapons, level of crime, and deaths in conflicts at home and abroad.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Richest Country in the World
Which is the No. one richest country in the world?
With an overall net worth of $145.8 trillion and a GDP of $25.46 trillion, the US is the number one richest country in the world.
Which country was richest in 2022?
The country that was the richest in 2022 was the United States, the largest economy in the world, which topped the rich list ranking in net worth with a sum of $145.8 trillion and a GDP of $25.46 trillion.
Is America the richest country in the world?
Yes, America is the richest country in the world, with an overall net worth of $145.8 trillion and a GDP of $25.46 trillion. America has been the richest country in the world for over 60 years.