The top ten countries on the prosperity index, determined by rankings across nine key categories: Economic Quality, Natural Environment, Health, Social Capital, Personal Freedom, Safety and Security, Education, Governance, and Business Environment.
Study by the Legatum Institute:
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Video by Bryce Plank and Robin West
"Solar Flares" by Silent Partner (YouTube music library)
These are the top 10 most prosperous countries according to the Legatum Institute whose mission is to promote policies that lift people from poverty to prosperity. The study ranked countries across nine key metrics.
The 10th most prosperous nation is the United Kingdom. It’s strong business economy allowed it to crack the top 5 in that category. It was top 10 in economic quality, natural environment, and education—helped by its vocational training reform efforts that saw it climb from 14th in the world in 2007.
Ninth is Denmark which scores best on Safety and Security as thefts have dropped by 25% over the last decade. Air pollution has fallen by 63% over the same period, improving its Natural Environment ranking by 26 spots. To improve, Denmark should focus on its health system, which isn’t as strong as its Nordic neighbors.
Sweden comes in eighth. It’s 3rd-ranked economy is its best asset. Sweden actually ranked first in overall prosperity from 2010 to 2012, but it’s education and governance scores have slipped slightly since then. It’s still very prosperous and is the third least corrupt country in the whole world.
Seventh is the Netherlands. The Dutch are wealthy, healthy, educated, and served very well by their government. While its Natural Environment ranking is only 36th — the lowest score across any category for any country in this top ten — that’s actually up 37 spots from where it was in 2007.
Australia is sixth. It is the only country in the top 20 to record an absolute decline in prosperity since 2007. Its government has adopted protectionist trade policies that have driven down the quality and diversity of its economy. On the bright side, its Health Care ranking is on the upswing despite rising obesity levels.
In the same spot as last year is Canada at number 5. It is second-best on personal freedom, but its healthcare rank is hurt by rising obesity and diabetes rates. Canada is also top-ten in Governance, Social Capital, and Economic Prosperity.
Fourth is Switzerland, the country with the best education score. It is one of only two Western European countries to see its Economic Quality score improve over the last decade, as the rest of the continent was hit hard by the 2008 global financial crisis.
Finland is the third most prosperous nation. It is top-ranked in governance, second in Natural Environment, and third in Education. Surprisingly its Health score puts it at 21st in that category. The decline of its two main industries, timber and Nokia electronics, has led to a surge in unemployment.
Norway is second for the fourth straight year, a consistent performer across the board that doesn’t rank in the top two in any category, but also doesn’t fall below 13th anywhere either. 93% of Norwegians say they’re satisfied with living standards in the country.
And the most prosperous nation in the world is New Zealand for the fourth year in a row. It is best in Economic Quality thanks to free and open markets. There is clearly a synergistic effect between its top-ranked Social Capital score, its second-ranked Governance mark, and its high level of Personal Freedom.
On the flip side, these are the bottom 10 countries. The prolonged civil war in Syria would likely land it down here, but there hasn’t been enough accurately collected and reported data lately to rank it.
The US is ranked 17th. With the top-ranked business environment — but health and environment rankings down in the 30’s — we really need to get our priorities straight.
And these are the top ten countries for each category: Economic Quality; Business Environment; Governance; Education; Health; Safety and Security; Personal Freedom; Social Capital; and Natural Environment.
I hope this video shed light on the countries we should look to for ideas on creating more prosperity across our own societies.
Our recent examination of the top 10 recycling countries led some of you to express concern about President Trump’s lack of respect for the environment, others were surprised that Japan didn’t make the list, while many of you agreed that Germany belonged in the top spot. Until next time, for TDC, I’m Bryce Plank, thanks for watching.