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Top 10 Richest Countries in the World

The richest countries in the world are often among the smallest countries, with countries like San Marino, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Singapore benefiting from sophisticated financial sectors, tax regimes, and large bank deposits. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have large hydrocarbon reserves, while Macao remains one of the most affluent states despite lockdowns and pandemic restrictions. The top 10 richest countries in the world are primarily small, and most of them have fewer than 10 million inhabitants. Luxembourg and Ireland are known for providing safe and tax-efficient homes for global players like Amazon, Apple, and Google. Many of these countries are also considered tax havens.

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The article ranks the top 10 richest countries in the world based on GDP per capita, as estimated by the IMF. Surprisingly, the ranking may surprise those looking for the GDP per capita of China or the US. GDP is a parameter for the value of goods and services produced in a country, and when divided by the number of full-time residents, it gives an idea of how wealthy a country is. The purchasing power parity (PPP) is a figure that takes into account inflation rates and costs of local products and services.

Top 10 Richest Countries in the World (2024)

Some countries stand out from the others due to their large GDPs, an abundance of resources, and robust economies, making them the richest countries in the world. In addition, these countries also have some of the world’s largest economies. The following list examines some of the richest nations in the world in more detail, focusing on their distinctive qualities and what makes them stand out.

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S. NO. Country GDP Per Capita (USD Thousand) Population (Estimated)
1. Luxembourg $ 132,37 654,768
2. Ireland $ 114,581 5,056,935
3. Norway $ 101.1 5,474,360
4. Switzerland $ 98,77 8,796,669
5. Singapore $ 91,1 6,020,415
6. Qatar $ 83,89 2,716,391
7. United States $ 80,03 339,996,563
8. Brunei Darussalam $ 74,200 454,805
9. United Arab Emirates $ 49,45 9,528,071
10. San Marino $ 52,95 33,638

1. Luxembourg

GDP per capita (USD): 132,37 

In addition to being one of the richest countries in the world, Luxembourg also has one of the largest economies in the world. Located in the heart of Europe, Luxembourg offers a wealth of attractions for tourists and citizens. It has a population of about 650, 000 people and provides topnotch housing, healthcare, and education for its citizens.

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Luxembourg’s strong economic policies promote business development and foreign investment, with tax incentives and streamlined immigration procedures. With a highly skilled and educated workforce, over half of the population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher, Luxembourg has a high GDP per capita. As an EU member state, EU/EEA or Swiss citizens can live freely without a visa, while non-EU citizens need a residence permit. Luxembourg offers EU citizenship after just five years of residency and allows dual citizenship.

Despite the global financial crisis and pressure from the EU and OECD to reduce banking secrecy, Luxembourg has weathered the pandemic better than most European neighbors, with a 5.1% growth in 2021. However, this rebound was short-lived, with the economy only growing by 1.5% in 2022 and likely reaching only 1.1% this year due to lower business and consumer confidence and higher energy and food prices. Despite this, Luxembourg’s strong per capita GDP since 2014 makes it a worthwhile destination.

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2. Ireland

GDP per capita (USD): 114,581

Ireland, a nation of 5 million, experienced significant economic growth after the 2008 financial crisis. Its low corporate tax rate of 12.5% has attracted multinationals, accounting for 56% of the total value added to the Irish economy in 2022. The country plans to align its minimum corporate tax rate to the global standard of 15% in 2024. Ireland is among the richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita.

Despite these improvements, the national household per-capita disposable income is slightly lower than the EU average, making it difficult for many Irish citizens to claim to be the richest in the world. The Irish government has invested heavily in education, producing a highly skilled workforce with a commitment to innovation.

Ireland has been successful in attracting foreign investment, including multinational corporations like Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook. Ireland is also a leading exporter in agriculture, food and drink, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machinery, and software sectors.

3. Norway

GDP per capita (USD): 101.1

Norway, a Northern European country known for its natural beauty and high standard of living, has been fueled by oil since the late 1960s. With a population of around 5.4 million, Norway’s wealth is primarily derived from its natural resources, including oil, gas, and fish. The country has also made significant investments in renewable energy, technology, and shipping.

Norway’s social welfare system, which provides free healthcare, education, and parental leave policies, and a progressive tax system, contribute to its economic success. Low unemployment rates, high levels of education, and strong public infrastructure are also key factors. Norway’s skilled workforce and strong environmental policies have protected its natural resources and promoted sustainable development.

With a 2023 GDP per capita of $89,242 USD, Norway ranks as one of the world’s richest countries. It is one of the few countries in the top 10 that are not considered international tax havens. Norway is famous for its stunning fjords, the Northern Lights, and its sovereign wealth fund, which is one of the world’s largest at $1.2 trillion.

4. Switzerland

GDP per capita (USD): 98,77

With a population of 8.7 million people, Switzerland is known for its inventions such as white chocolate, the bobsleigh, the Swiss Army knife, the computer mouse, and LSD. The country’s wealth is primarily derived from banking and insurance services, tourism, pharmaceuticals, gems, precious metals, precision instruments, and machinery.

Switzerland’s financial sector contributes to 74% of its GDP, while 25% comes from industry and less than 1% from agriculture. The country has the lowest VAT rate in Europe and ranks as one of the countries with the highest GDP per capita.

Switzerland is considered one of the world’s least-corrupt countries and a leading tax haven due to its banking industry’s secrecy. The country’s political stability and neutrality make it an attractive destination for businesses and individuals seeking to avoid conflict.

5. Singapore

GDP per capita (USD): 91,1

Singapore, a small Southeast Asian city-state, has become one of the world’s wealthiest countries due to its strategic location for international trade and finance. With a population of around 5.7 million people, Singapore has a well-developed infrastructure, skilled workforce, and strong emphasis on innovation and technology.

The country has also invested heavily in education and workforce training, with a strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Singapore’s economic policies, including low taxes, open markets, and a business-friendly regulatory environment, have helped attract and retain businesses and entrepreneurs. The country has also worked to promote social cohesion and stability, with policies focused on healthcare, affordable housing, and income equality.

Singapore’s port is one of the busiest in the world, handling billions of dollars worth of trade each year. Over three-quarters of Singaporeans aged 25 to 64 have completed at least upper secondary education, and almost half have university qualifications.

6. Qatar

GDP per capita (USD): 83,89

Qatar’s economy has been the world’s fourth richest for 20 years, thanks to its vast oil, gas, and petrochemical reserves. With a small population of 3 million, Qatar is among the richest countries in the world. The country’s wealth is primarily derived from its oil and gas reserves, which are the third largest in the world.

Qatar’s government has invested heavily in education, healthcare, and subsidies, boosting the high standard of living. To live in Qatar as a foreigner, one must find a job with a local employer and obtain a residence permit. Citizenship is difficult, requiring at least 25 years of residency, good Arabic language skills, proof of good conduct, and sufficient financial means.

7. United States

GDP per capita (USD): 80,03 

The United States has consistently ranked as one of the richest countries in the world for sometimes now. The US is also a dominant economic entity, with one of the highest GDPs in the world. Its wealth comes from abundant natural resources, advanced military, top universities, and innovative companies.

But in terms of GDP per capita, the US comes in further down the list. That’s because it’s a much larger country compared to, say, Luxembourg or Qatar. Much of the United States’ wealth comes from its abundant natural resources, including coal, oil, gas, timber, and productive farmland. It boasts the world’s more powerful military, and also ranks as one of the most innovative countries in the world.

8. Brunei Darussalam

GDP per capita (USD): 74,200

Brunei Darussalam, a small Southeast Asian country, is known for its abundant natural resources and well-developed economy, particularly oil and gas. With a population of just over 450,000, Brunei is one of the smallest in the region. The country’s economy is dominated by oil and gas, but the government has invested heavily in diversifying it, focusing on tourism and financial services. Brunei also has a well-funded welfare system, providing free healthcare, education, and subsidized housing and food to its citizens.

To move to Brunei, foreigners need an employment visa followed by a work permit, sponsored by a local company. A quota system is in place, and a series of medical tests are required to prove fit for work and free of certain diseases. The country’s strong economy and robust welfare system have contributed to its status as a wealthy and prosperous nation.

9. United Arab Emirates

GDP per capita (USD): 49,45

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the world’s richest countries, with a GDP per capita of US$77,270. The country’s economy is diversified, including agriculture, tourism, finance, and construction, and is rich in oil reserves. Only 20% of the population is truly native, with the rest attracted by tax-free salaries and year-round sunshine.

The UAE offers numerous tax benefits for companies and individuals, including no personal income tax or corporate tax, and a value-added tax of only 5%. The construction industry is booming due to the demand for new infrastructure and development projects. To live in the UAE, one can be hired by a local employer, obtain a UAE Golden Visa, freelance permit, open a business, own property with a value over 1 million AED, or obtain a residence visa for retirees.

10. San Marino

GDP per capita (USD): 52,95

San Marino, the oldest republic in Europe and the fifth smallest country is home to about 34,000 citizens but is among the wealthiest in the world. With low-income tax rates, it contribute to the wealth held by citizens. The country’s economy is characterized by a thriving tourism industry, with picturesque landscapes and historical landmarks attracting millions of visitors each year.

The strong manufacturing sector, particularly in ceramics and textiles, attracts foreign investment and wealthy individuals. The country’s well-developed banking industry, known for strict confidentiality laws, attracts individuals and businesses seeking to protect their wealth. The country’s sophisticated financial sectors provide a range of financial services to clients worldwide.

San Marino is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with top-notch healthcare, excellent infrastructure, and access to high-end consumer goods.

Conclusion

From Luxembourg to Qatar, the list of the richest countries contains a lot of information and secrets. Even though GDP per capita is a useful indicator of a nation’s economic and social health, other elements like income inequality, wealth distribution, and the caliber of public services also have a big impact on a country’s overall economic health and standard of life.

Academic writing is not the intended use of this list. The content is for travelers who love to travel.

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