Top 10 countries for living and investing in 2020

Британская организация The Legatum Institute составила рейтинг «процветающих» стран мира. В него вошли 167 государств. Рассказываем, кто и почему занял первые строчки.

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Ranking of the world's most prosperous countries 2020
Photo: Adobe Stock
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Experts at The Legatum Institute have been compiling a “prosperity ranking” since 2006. It is designed to be useful to investors and business people, politicians, philanthropists and sociologists.

Each country gets a place in one of 12 categories. This allows you to see a country’s strengths and weaknesses. The full ranking of countries can be found in the organisation’s official report.

Top 10 «prosperous» countries of the world in 2020

Place Country
1 Denmark
2 Norway
3 Switzerland
4 Sweden
5 Finland
6 Netherlands
7 New Zealand
8 Germany
9 Luxembourg
10 Austria

What does «prosperous» country mean?

A country is considered prosperous if all of its citizens have the opportunity to realise their potential and participate in public life. However, the ranking does not specify how to determine whether potential is fully realised.

The Legatum Institute considers a country “prosperous” if:

  • The government makes decisions with the consent of its citizens and respects their rights and freedoms. Citizens fulfil their obligations to the state responsibly.

  • Fiscal policy ensures sustainable economic growth and employment, and promotes the personal development of citizens.

  • Citizens are free to choose their life values independently. They are responsible for their own well‑being and that of their family and society as a whole.

  • People take care of their physical and mental health. Medical care is available to all.

147 countries around the world have improved over the last ten years. For example, changes are noticeable in education. 85% of adults today can read and write – 4% more than in 2010. The number of university students has increased by 11% over the last decade.

Economies have become more open, digital tools and global transport networks have emerged. This too has a direct impact on the prosperity of nations. Countries are more active in helping businesses and attracting more investment.

Experts calculate the World Prosperity Index every year. The graph shows how things have changed over the past 10 years.

Growth of the global prosperity index

Рейтинг процветающих стран мира в 2020 году: график роста процветания
Source: The Legatum Institute, 2020

How the «prosperous» countries are ranked

The Legatum Institute evaluates states according to parameters from 12 categories. The rankings are compiled by the organisation’s staff and external experts: academics, sociologists, and heads of various institutions.

The ranking position takes into account social, political and economic indicators. For example, the crime rate, rights and freedoms of citizens, whether there is competition on the market of goods and services. The availability of medicine and education, living conditions in the country and the state of the environment are also considered.

The quality of the investment environment is considered one of the main economic indicators. It takes into account whether the state protects invested money and how accessible investment is to people and businesses. Investors can therefore look to the ratings to plan their investments.

How to get citizenship or a residence permit for an investment in a «prosperous» country

The top 50 “prosperous” countries are those that allow citizenship or residence permits for investment. We have presented the results in the form of a table – you can use it to gauge the states’ progress since 2010.

Ranking of countries with investment programmes

Country Place
in 2010
in 2019
in 2020
Switzerland 4 3 2
Austria 10 12 10
Great Britain 15 10 13
Malta 26 24 25
Portugal 28 25 27
Greece 41 41 41
Montenegro 52 51 50

To obtain citizenship or a residence permit for an investment, you need to invest money in the country’s economy. Each state offers one or more investment options.

The Swiss residence permit for financially independent persons is an option for wealthy people who are prepared to live in the country for at least 183 days a year. To obtain a residence permit, you have to pay an annual lump sum tax from 250,000 ₣ per year.

The Austrian residence permit for financially independent persons is also suitable for investors who plan to live in the country and do not intend to work or conduct business there. Not everyone can participate – Austria issues up to 450 quotas each year.

A residence permit in the UK can be obtained for an investment in a business of £2 million or more. Status is granted for 3 years and 4 months and can be renewed afterwards.

Malta offers two residence permit investment programmes to foreigners. These can be used to obtain either residence permit or permanent residence permit status.

To become a resident, an investor fulfils several conditions: he or she buys or rents a house and pays an administrative fee. A participant in the residence permit programme also takes out health insurance and pays an annual tax on worldwide income. Under the residence permit programme, you have to buy 250,000 € worth of government bonds.

Maltese citizenship can be obtained by naturalisation on the basis of direct investment. First, the foreigner is granted residence permit status, and after a year or three years, the foreigner can apply for citizenship. If the application is approved, the foreigner invests from € 800,000 in the Maltese economy and becomes a citizen of the state.

The Portugal Residence Permit Programme gives you the opportunity to participate in one of eight investment options. You can buy real estate, invest in a business or venture capital fund, open a deposit in a bank, sponsor scientific research and cultural projects. The minimum investment amount is € 250,000.

A residence permit in Greece is granted for an investment in real estate from € 250,000. The investor can also invest in shares in local companies or open a deposit from € 400,000.

Montenegrin citizenship can be obtained by investing in the construction of tourist facilities. Projects are approved by the country’s government and the minimum investment amount is 350,000 €.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for European citizenship and residence programmes for investment. If you are interested in one of Europe’s ‘prosperous’ countries, seek advice from experts in investment programmes.

Autor: Алевтина Калмук
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