5. Brunei Darussalam
> GNI per capita: $72,190
> 2014 GDP: $17.3 billion
> Population: 417,394
> Life expectancy: 78.6 years
Brunei Darussalam is a small country on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo, which it shares with Malaysia and Indonesia. Like a majority of the world’s 10 wealthiest countries, Brunei is oil rich. Petroleum traded to Japan and South Korea accounts for almost all of the country’s exports, which make up more than three-fourths of the country’s $17.3 billion GDP. It exports 2.3 times the amount it imports, the third highest trade surplus in the world.
Brunei has made efforts to diversify its economy in the past two decades, and today it attracts a relatively high amount of foreign investment. The thriving economy grew by 5.3% last year — 2.8 percentage points ahead of the 2.5% global GDP expansion. Brunei also has one of the world’s lowest unemployment rates, at just 2.7% of Brunei’s workforce.
> GNI per capita: $80,270
> 2014 GDP: $307.9 billion
> Population: 5,469,700
> Life expectancy: 82.3 years
With a GNI of $80,270 per capita, Singapore’s 5.5 million residents are the fourth wealthiest in the world. The Asian city-state is heavily trade dependent, exporting and importing goods valued well above its GDP. Only two other countries exported more relative to GDP than Singapore. Without any natural resources, Singapore has been a major center of entrepot trade, providing duty-free storage for re-exporting. The Port of Singapore is the second busiest in the world in terms of cargo volume, and it trades a diverse blend of refined petroleum, integrated circuits, and chemicals to help make up Singapore’s $307.9 billion GDP.
Singapore has also established itself recently as one of the world’s leading hubs for wealth management. The country has the most millionaires per capita of any country. Singapore’s wealthy citizens enjoy a high standard of living. The city-state has an unemployment rate of 2.0% and a life expectancy of 82.3 years, the third lowest and eighth longest such figures worldwide.
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> GNI per capita: $82,210
> 2014 GDP: $175.8 billion
> Population: 3,753,121
> Life expectancy: 74.5 years
Like a majority of the 10 wealthiest countries, Kuwait is oil rich. The Middle Eastern country has the fifth largest proven oil reserves worldwide. Kuwait trades its oil to a variety of countries for automobile, electric, mineral, pharmaceutical, and food products. Kuwait exports 2.7 times the amount it imports, the largest trade surplus of any nation.
Kuwait’s thriving economy has contributed to a 2.1% unemployment rate, the fourth lowest across the globe. However, Kuwaiti health outcomes are not on par with other nations in the top income bracket. The average Kuwaiti lives for 74.5 years, 90th in the world and just 2.2 years more than the 72.3 year life expectancy across the Middle East and North Africa.
2. Macao SAR, China
> GNI per capita: $118,110
> 2014 GDP: $55.5 billion
> Population: 577,914
> Life expectancy: 80.3 years
With a GNI of $118,110, Macao’s 577,914 citizens are the second wealthiest in the world. Macao is known as the gambling capital of Asia, and tourism accounts for near half of its GDP. Despite high revenues from tourism, Macao is still heavily trade dependent, particularly with China and Hong Kong. Its top exports are jewelry and precious metal watches.
Macao’s reliance on tourism has made it vulnerable to economic fluctuations in other nations. Partially as a result of an economic slowdown in China and an anti-corruption campaign by the Chinese president, Macao’s GDP has fallen over the last five years. Last year, its GDP shrank by 0.4%, one of the only economies to shrink while the global economy grew by 2.5%.
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> GNI per capita: $139,760
> 2014 GDP: $211.8 billion
> Population: 2,172,065
> Life expectancy: 78.6 years
Qatar, with a GNI of $139,760 per capita, is the wealthiest country in the world. Like many of countries in the highest global income bracket, Qatar’s economy is founded on oil. The Middle Eastern nation has the ninth largest proven oil reserves. Oil exports make up a considerable share of Qatar’s $211.8 billion GDP. Dependence on oil and gas markets makes Qatar vulnerable to economic fluctuations, particularly the changing price of oil. Qatar’s leaders have recently attempted to assuage with economic diversification initiatives. Many Qatari people enjoy a standard of living greater than across the Middle East and North Africa, with a longer life expectancy, higher literacy rate, and more Internet access than the region.
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