Special Report

The Richest and Poorest Countries

15. Germany
> GNI per capita:
> 2014 GDP: $3.9 trillion
> Population: 80,889,505
> Life expectancy: 81.0 years

With a GNI of $46,840 per capita, Germany’s 81 million citizens are among the wealthiest of any nation. Germany has the fourth largest economy in the world and is Europe’s top exporter. Home to automobile giants Volkswagen and Daimler, Germany is the world’s leading exporter of cars.

The German economy is relatively healthy with a 4.7% unemployment rate, well below the jobless rate in most other European countries. Germans also report relatively good health outcomes with a life expectancy at birth of 81 years, longer than the regional average of 77 years.

14. Netherlands
> GNI per capita:
> 2014 GDP: $869.5 billion
> Population: 16,854,183
> Life expectancy: 81.1 years

The Dutch economy is built largely on trade, with exports accounting for 83.1% of its $869.5 billion GDP, one of the larger shares worldwide. The Netherlands primarily exports crude and refined petroleum to Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Despite its relatively small size and just 2.5% of its workforce employed in agriculture — in the rest of Europe and Central Asia 9.0% of the workforce is employed in agriculture — the Netherlands is the world’s second largest exporter of agricultural products.

The Netherlands spends 42.2% of its GDP — the 11th highest share worldwide — on its citizens. Perhaps as a result, the 16.9 million Dutch enjoy a high standard of living. Life expectancy, Internet access per capita, and primary school enrollment in the Netherlands are all higher than their corresponding averages for the region.

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13. Saudi Arabia
> GNI per capita:
> 2014 GDP: $746.2 billion
> Population: 30,886,545
> Life expectancy: 75.7 years

Saudi Arabia is an oil-based economy and the world’s leading supplier of crude petroleum — the kingdom has the second most proven oil reserves in the world. Oil, which makes up 89.8% of the Middle Eastern nation’s exports, is a major reason why the country is the 13th wealthiest in the world. Many Saudi Arabians enjoy a standard of living superior to people living in the rest of the Middle East and North African region. For example, Saudi Arabians have a life expectancy of 76 years, a literacy rate of 94.4%, and 64% of people have access to the Internet. , However,these measures are lower than in many Western countries.

12. United States
> GNI per capita:
> 2014 GDP: $17.4 trillion
> Population: 318,857,056
> Life expectancy: 78.8 years

The United States has the largest economy in the world, and the 12th wealthiest people. Despite being the second largest exporter in the world after China, and the leading exporter of refined petroleum, the United States imports more than it exports, running a trade deficit of 18%.

The American people are relatively prosperous and enjoy an excellent standard of living relative to the rest of the world. They consume more than any other country and account for more than one-fourth of all goods and services bought worldwide. Americans live to be about 79 years old on average, about eight years longer than the global life expectancy, but still lower than a number of European nations.

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11. Hong Kong SAR, China
> GNI per capita:
> 2014 GDP: $290.9 billion
> Population: 7,241,700
> Life expectancy: 83.8 years

Hong Kong is the most trade-dependent country in the world. The value of Hong Kong’s exports is more than double its GDP, and since it imports nearly as much as it exports, the Special Administrative Region (SAR) has a nearly perfect trade balance. The bulk of Hong Kong’s export revenue comes from gold, which is bought primarily from Switzerland. Much of this gold is then traded to China. The territory’s low taxes and access to East Asian and Pacific markets attracts a great deal of foreign investment. Wealth often has a positive effect on a country’s health outcomes. Citizens of Hong Kong can expect to live for 83.8 years, for example, the longest life expectancy worldwide.

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