Every year, the IMF and the World Bank calculate the gross domestic product, or GDP, of all countries in the world. Based on this indicator, a rating of the richest countries are formed. The gross product per capita reflects the well-being of the country's citizens.
Denmark: $68,094 of GDP per capita
The economy of Denmark is dominated by the service sector, with 80% of all jobs. About 11% of employees work in manufacturing and 2% in agriculture. The economy is also highly dependent on foreign trade: Denmark's exports and imports constitute about half of the GDP.
According to Statistics Denmark, the average monthly wage in the country is DKK 44,514 (€5,986) before taxes. In 2020, Danes had an average net worth of DKK 1,190,730 (€160,120) after subtracting liabilities from assets. Forbes has counted 9 billionaires in Denmark, four of which are Lego company shareholders.
According to the US News & World Report, Denmark is the second best country in the quality of life. Life expectancy in Denmark is 83.4 years for females and 79.6 years for males.
It’s not very easy to move to Denmark: to do so, you will need to find solid grounds. Denmark issues residence permits to those who have found a job in the country, entered a Danish university or married a Danish citizen. Investment activity is not in the list but there is a way to get residency by creating a start-up.
Iceland: $74,417 of GDP per capita
The largest sector of the Icelandic economy is tourism: it accounts for about one-third of the GDP. Other vital sectors are aluminium smelting and fishing.
Iceland’s strongest point is renewable energy. More than 99% of electricity is produced from renewable sources of energy: about 73% comes from hydropower and 27% from geothermal power. Iceland is the largest electricity producer per capita, which makes electricity relatively cheap there and allows producing a large number of aluminium products for export.
The average salary in Iceland is ISK 770,000 (€5,500) per month. According to the Numbeo cost of living calculator, a single person's estimated monthly costs are ISK 155,618 (€1,109) without rent; for a family of four, ISK 573,962 (€4,091).
To move to Iceland, you can enter an Icelandic university or get a job. There are also ways to get a residence permit for family reunification.
US: $76,027 of GDP per capita
The US is the largest economy in the world, accounting for about 20% of global GDP. The structure of the US GDP per capita is dominated by services of more than 75% pharmaceuticals, oil and gas industry. Auto and aircraft manufacturing account for 20%.
According to the website 24/7 Wall St., the United States is the second largest country in the world with the second largest reserves of natural resources. The compilers of the rating collected data on explored reserves and calculated their market price. The total value of US natural resources exceeds $45 trillion.
Top 5 richest countries in natural resources
|State||Value of resources|
|Saudi Arabia||$34.4 trillion|
The United States tops the list of countries with the largest number of billionaires. Forbes estimates that 735 of the world’s 2,578 billionaires are American citizens.
The minimum wage in the US is $7.25 an hour. Doctors, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, surgeons and psychiatrists earn the most in the country: according to various sources, from $217,000 to $350,000 a year.
To move to the US, you can get an EB-5 visa for foreign investors. The minimum investment amount is $800,000.
First, the investor receives a green card that allows them to live and work in the country. To maintain status, you must live in the United States for at least 183 days a year. After five years, you can apply for citizenship by naturalisation.
Singapore: $79,576 of GDP per capita
Singapore is one of the four “Asian tigers” along with Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.
A significant source of Singapore's income is the export of electronics, pharmaceutical products, but almost 70% of Singapore's GDP is provided by the service sector. Financial services account for 30% of revenue. The Singapore exchange SGX is one of the top 10 Asian stock exchanges.
According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, the average salary is SGD 6,159, which is about $4,600 per month. The most demanded professions are doctors, IT-specialists, teachers, engineers and architects.
The secret of Singapore's success is beneficial conditions for business and investors. The city leads in two rankings: in terms of economic freedom, competitiveness and income level of the population.
The easiest way to get permanent residence in Singapore is to invest in a startup from SGD 2.5 million, which is equivalent to USD 1.8 million. Foreigners can also invest in existing businesses. The main condition is that the average annual turnover of the company over the past three years can not be less than SGD 50 million (USD 36.5 million).
Brunei: $79,816 of GDP per capita
The richest country in Southeast Asia is Brunei Darussalam. The sources of the country's prosperity are oil and gas. The IMF estimates that hydrocarbon exports provide more than 70% of income. For comparison: the share of agriculture is less than 1% of GDP.
Brunei is ruled by the Sultan, who also serves as prime minister, minister of defence, finance, and even a religious leader. More than 200 thousand people live in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan which is half of the country's inhabitants.
Brunei citizens do not pay income tax, receive interest-free bank loans, and use free medical services. Education for citizens of the sultanate is also free, and not only in Brunei: if a citizen of the country enters a foreign university, the cost of education is covered by the state.
One of the priorities of Brunei is the development of tourism. In 2003, the Sultan provided $2.7 billion and a 180-hectare patch of rainforest for the construction of The Empire Brunei Hotel. Despite investments, the share of tourism income in the country's GDP is less than 0.5%. Strict laws, including a ban on alcohol deters foreigners.
The only way to move to Brunei is to get a job offer and get a work visa.
Expats who work for Brunei companies and foreigners who have married local women can apply for Brunei citizenship.
Foreigners receive a Brunei passport on the condition that they have invested in the economy of the Sultanate or deposited $300,000 in a local bank.
To obtain citizenship, applicants must pass an exam in knowledge of the language and culture.
Qatar: $84,514 of GDP per capita
The basis of Qatar's welfare is the export of liquefied natural gas and oil, the state has no other natural resources. Most of the territory is occupied by the desert, where there is practically no precipitation and no fresh water. Hydrocarbon revenues account for half of the country's GDP.
In the IMD Economic Competitiveness Index, Qatar ranks 18th. The Sheikh of Qatar is actively developing non-primary sectors of the economy.
One of the areas of public investment is logistics. Qatari deep water ports provide a quarter of the cargo flow to the Middle East. Doha Airport has become an international air hub, used by 50 million people a year. In 1997, Qatar Airways had only four aircraft, and since 2011 it has topped the Skytrax ranking of the best airlines in the world.
The government relies on high-tech industries: telecom and IT. Qatari telecom operator Ooredoo was one of the first in the world to launch a 5G network.
Qatar's development strategy provides for financial assistance not only to large holdings like Qatar Airways, but also to small and medium-sized businesses. Small businesses can attract loans at a rate of 2.55 to 7% per annum. The main condition for obtaining financing is that 51% of the company's shares must be owned by a Qatari citizen.
Foreigners make up 1.5 of the 2.7 million people in the population. Basically, temporary workers come to Qatar from India and Pakistan.
There are two ways to obtain Qatari citizenship: marry a Qatari or invest at least $3 million in the local economy.
To marry a foreign woman, a Qatari citizen must obtain permission from the authorities. If a Qatari woman marries a foreigner, her husband and children will not be able to claim citizenship of the country.
Foreigners who have obtained a Qatari passport through naturalisation cannot qualify for government benefits and subsidies.
Switzerland: $96,390 of GDP per capita
More than 70% of Switzerland’s GDP comes from the service sector. The share of industry is 25%, of agriculture is less than 1%.
The financial sector employs less than 6% of the working population. About 75% of the Swiss work in tourism, restaurant and hotel business.
The main advantages of living in Switzerland are high salaries, political stability, safety and good ecology.
Average salary in Switzerland is ₣6,538 per month, which is equivalent to €6,768. A kindergarten teacher earns ₣4,900 a month and a store clerk earns ₣4,400.
Switzerland is a country of immigrants: the share of foreigners living here is 25% of the 8.5 million people. According to HSBC bank estimates, the average income of foreigners who work in Swiss companies is $203,000 per year.
To obtain a residence permit in Switzerland, foreigners enter into an agreement on the payment of a flat tax with the authorities of the canton in which they plan to live. Each canton determines the amount of the payment independently. The minimum is ₣450,000, or $477,000.
Norway: $99,481 of GDP per capita
About 30% of Norway's GDP comes from the oil and gas industry. Norway exports iron, magnesium, titanium and aluminium. The country has a developed fishing and woodworking industry.
According to US News & World Report, Norway is the fourth in terms of living standards and one of the countries with the highest life expectancy: 80 years for men and 84 years for women.
The highest salaries are received by specialists employed in the field of mining. According to the Norwegian Central Bureau of Statistics, the average salary in the country is NOK 50,790 per month, equivalent to €4,944. At the same time, men earn an average of NOK 53,710 per month (about €5,228), and women — NOK 47,190 (€4,593).
In 2021, Norway was ranked second in the list of countries with the lowest level of corruption.
One of the priorities of the Norwegian government is gender equality. According to Norwegian law, the share of women in the boards and boards of directors of public and private companies is at least 40%.
Norway is in the top 10 countries where it is fastest to obtain citizenship by naturalization. To apply for citizenship, foreigners first obtain a residence permit and then live in the country for seven years. An exception applies to citizens of Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, who can be issued a Norwegian passport after two years.
In 2020, Norway allowed its citizens to have dual citizenship, so foreigners do not have to give up their first passport.
Ireland: $101,509 of GDP per capita
Ireland ranks second in the top ten richest nations in the world according to the IMF. Agriculture, food, textile industries, IT and mechanical engineering helped the Irish economy to overtake Singapore, Qatar and even the USA. The country has developed the production of medicines and medical equipment.
The United Kingdom is Ireland's main trading partner, with the US accounting for 17% of trade and Germany for 11%.
According to Credit Suisse, Ireland is among the top twenty countries with the highest wealth per adult, which estimates $251,340. There are 9 billionaires registered in the country.
International Living has included Ireland in the top 15 countries most comfortable for retirees to live in. The average pension in the country is €1,600 per month. When compiling the rating, Natixis took into account not only pension payments, but also the general financial and economic situation, the standard of living and medical care, and benefits.
There are several ways to obtain an Irish passport:
- by marriage: spouses must live together for at least three years;
- by naturalisation: one must legally live in Ireland for five of the nine years preceding the request.
Luxembourg: $135,046 of GDP per capita
Luxembourg is the world's richest country and the world's largest banking centre. More than 200 banks and 1,000 investment funds operate in the capital.
The high performance of Luxembourg is partly due to the fact that citizens of neighbouring countries work in the duchy: France, Germany and Belgium. Foreign workers contribute to GDP growth but are not included in the per capita calculation.
According to the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Research of Luxembourg, the minimum wage in the country is €2,257 per month. Adult unskilled workers can count on such an amount. The average monthly salary is €5,000. The highest paid specialists work in insurance companies, banks, IT and power industries.
Luxembourg is in the top five of the International Tax Competitiveness Index (ITCI). According to the newspaper Le Monde and Süddeutsche Zeitung, 90% of companies registered in the country are owned by foreigners.
Luxembourg attracts foreign businessmen with preferential taxation. Non-resident companies pay taxes only on those incomes that are received in the territory of the duchy.
You can get a residence permit in Luxembourg by investment. Foreigners have one of four options available:
- Invest €500,000 in a company registered in the country. The investment can be returned after 5 years.
- Invest €500,000 in a startup. In the first three years of operation, the company must hire at least 5 citizens of the country.
- Invest 3 million euros in Luxembourg investment funds.
- Open a deposit for five years in a local bank and put 20 million euros in it.
After five years, the investor has the right to apply for citizenship.
If an investor plans to live in Luxembourg, but does not intend to invest in the economy of the duchy, it is possible to obtain a residence permit in neighbouring Belgium. Financially independent foreigners can obtain a residence permit if they prove that they receive legal income outside of Belgium. To maintain the status, it is enough to live in the country for 183 days a year.
Top 20 richest countries in the world according to the IMF
|State||GDP per capita|
Frequently asked questions
According to the IMF, the USA has the highest GDP. The top three also include China and Japan.
Top 10 countries by GDP
|Place in the ranking||State||GDP|
|1||USA||25.35 trillion dollars|
|2||China||19.91 trillion dollars|
|3||Japan||4.912 trillion dollars|
|4||Germany||4.256 trillion dollars|
|5||India||3.534 trillion dollars|
|6||UK||3.376 trillion dollars|
|7||France||2.936 trillion dollars|
|8||Canada||2.221 trillion dollars|
|9||Italy||2.058 trillion dollars|
|10||Brasil||1.833 trillion dollars|
The richest country in the world is Luxembourg. According to the IMF, the duchy’s GDP per capita is $135,046. The total gross domestic product exceeded $86 billion.
The ranking of the richest European countries is led by Luxembourg. The duchy has the highest per capita GDP at $135,046. The second place is occupied by Ireland with $101,509. The top 10 also includes Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.
The IMF annually assesses the welfare of 189 countries of the world. The report does not include Cuba, North Korea, Monaco and several other countries for which data could not be collected.
The lowest GDP per capita in Burundi, South Sudan and Madagascar.