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18 February, 2022

The most prosperous countries in the world in 2021

The analytical center of Legatum Institute annually evaluates 167 countries in order to calculate the Prosperity Index.

Investors and international business owners use the data of the study to invest in the economies of the most favorable countries.

Residence permit and citizenship by investment in the most prosperous countries in the world
Photo: Adobe Stock

The Prosperity Index is calculated based on a cumulative assessment of 300 indicators in total. They are grouped into 12 key areas, including:

  • environment for the investment
  • level of economic development 
  • conditions for the business
  • personal freedom 
  • healthcare
  • education

The research has been conducted since 2006, thus the investors can assess the dynamic in each country’s welfare for the past 15 years.

The top ten of the ranking included nine European countries as well as New Zealand, which took 8th place.

Ranking of countries by level of well-being in 2021

Position in the ratingCountry
10Iceland
9Germany
8New Zealand
7Luxembourg
6The Netherlands
5Switzerland
4Finland
3Sweden
2Norway
1Denmark
Source: 2021 Legatum Prosperity Index™

Denmark has been bestowed a title of the most prosperous country of 2021: it occupies a leading position in every key area. Researchers separately note the high level of trust of Danish citizens: it reaches 86% in the judicial system, and 74% within the society.

Singapore, Hong Kong and Finland are recognized as countries with the best investment environment. Interests and investments of investors in these countries are reliably protected.

Kazakhstan took 64th place, Russia — 70th, Ukraine — 78th.

Residence permit and citizenship by investment in the most prosperous countries in the world

All Scandinavian countries are in the top ten of the Prosperity Index 2021, with Denmark on top of the list.

Residence permit and citizenship by investment in the most prosperous countries in the world

Finland was recognized as a country with the most efficient system of government and the lowest level of corruption

Residence permit and citizenship by investment in the most prosperous countries in the world

Hong Kong ranks 1st in the world in terms of conditions for starting and developing a business

Residence permit and citizenship by investment in the most prosperous countries in the world

Singapore leads the Prosperity Index 2021 in the quality of education

How to get a residence permit in a prosperous country

Eight countries from the Prosperity Index 2021 offer investors to obtain a residence permit or citizenship by investment. Governments of countries provide one or more investment options, such as buying real estate or shares in companies, and starting a new business.

Countries from the Prosperity Index 2021 with investment programs

Position in the ratingCountry
5Switzerland
11Austria
13The United Kingdom
25Malta
28Portugal
34Cyprus
43Greece
49Montenegro

Switzerland took 5th place in the rating in terms of the aggregate assessment of all parameters, and also went into the top three in terms of economic development, security and conditions for business development.

Residence permit of Switzerland is granted to financially independent persons, when they conclude an agreement with the Swiss authorities on the payment of a lump-sum tax. The investor's expenses will be starting from ₣ 450.00 per year.

Austria consistently ranks 11th place in the rating, and at the same time it also ranks 6th place in terms of environmental parameters: among European countries, only Sweden, Slovenia and Finland are higher in the ranking.

Residence permit of Austria for financially independent persons can be granted for those foreigners who do not plan to work in the country, however will be staying in the country at least 183 days per year. 

The United Kingdom ranked 13th place in 2021 by overall scoring and 8th place in terms of investor’s

Residence permit of Great Britain for investment can be obtained by buying shares in the amount of £ 2 million. A foreigner with an investment residence permit can obtain permanent residence after two years, and after another three years, apply for a British passport.

Malta in the overall ranking ranked 25th place, however it is among the top 20 countries in terms of economic development, healthcare and housing conditions.Investors can obtain residence permit and permanent residence in Malta by purchasing real estate, as well as citizenship of Malta for exceptional services through investment. The minimal amount for investment for the residence permit in Malta is 30.000 € per year.

Portugal ranks 28th place in the overall ranking, and 13th in terms of respect for human rights, personal freedom and the level of tolerance within the society. Residence permit of Portugal can be obtained through the completion of seven available options. Until 2022, the most popular one was the purchase of property, but now it cannot be bought in Lisbon, Porto and some popular coastal cities. Therefore, the option of shares’ purchase of the investment funds in the amount of 500.000 € is becoming more popular.

Greece ranks 43rd place in the ranking, and only 131st place in terms of social capital: only 8.4% of the population agrees with the statement that people can be trusted. Ten years ago, the level of trust was 21%.

Residence permit in Greece can be obtained through buying residential and commercial real estate in the amount of 250.000 €, while the investor does not have an obligation to reside in the country.

Montenegro ranks 49th place: the position in the ranking is affected by the low level of healthcare development and care for the environment. For 15 years, while the Prosperity Index is being calculated, the country’s position has risen by 6 positions.

Citizenship of Montenegro can be obtained for investments in real estate and the country's economy. The investor's expenses will be starting from 472.000 €. You can become a member of the program only until December 31, 2022, after which the program will be closed.

Immigrant Invest — a licensed agent that helps investors to obtain a residence permit and citizenship in European countries. If you want to become a resident of a European country, feel free to get guidance from our investment program experts.

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The most prosperous countries in the world in 2021