The Richest Countries in the World

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Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman
Source: Thinkstock

25. Oman
> GNI per capita: $35,235.76
> 2015 GDP: $167.82 billion
> Population: 4,490,541
> Life expectancy: 77.1 years at birth

With fewer than 5 million residents and a GDP of $167.8 billion, Oman’s population and economy are far smaller than of the world’s wealthiest nations. With substantial natural resources and a burgeoning tourist industry, the nation’s GNI of approximately $35,236 per capita is the 25th highest in the world. Oman is by far the largest producer of crude oil in the Middle East that is not a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Oman’s production capacity was greater than 1 million barrels per day as of the middle of last year.

In stark contrast to its war-torn neighbor, Yemen, and other nations in the region, Oman has also become an increasingly popular tourist destination. To help diversify its economy and wean the country off oil, Oman plans to invest $35 billion into its tourism industry. The government aims to increase the sector’s annual contribution to GDP from 2.5% to 6.0% and draw 5 million international visitors annually by 2040.

Skyline of Manama, Bahrain
Source: Thinkstock

24. Bahrain
> GNI per capita: $36,584.21
> 2015 GDP: $64.16 billion
> Population: 1,377,237
> Life expectancy: 76.7 years at birth

Bahrain is one of a few countries in the Persian Gulf region that is not an especially large oil producer. In 2013, the island kingdom produced 48,000 barrels per day of crude oil, the lowest of any country in the region and a fraction of the world-leading output of its neighbor Saudi Arabia. Still, oil revenues continue to make up the largest portion of Bahrain’s economy, and Bahraini residents are quite wealthy as a result. Like a number of other resource-rich Middle Eastern nations, Bahrain heavily taxes and profits from its oil and gas sector. Otherwise, however, there are no corporate taxes on income, sales, capital gains, or estates. Apart from a social insurance tax, personal income is not taxed whatsoever.

Osaka, Japan
Source: Thinkstock

23. Japan
> GNI per capita: $37,267.96
> 2015 GDP: $4.84 trillion
> Population: 126,958,472
> Life expectancy: 83.6 years at birth

After several decades of economic stagnation, Japan’s economy took a turn for the better following the much covered 2012 election of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In a risky economic experiment nicknamed Abenomics, Japan injected large amounts of cash into the economy. The short-term outcome was soaring corporate profits. However, the effects of the policy are still being interpreted as there has yet to be a meaningful increase in wages or consumer spending.

Still, Japan is one of the world’s wealthiest nations. Its GDP of $4.8 trillion is third highest of all countries reviewed after the United States and India. Japan’s GNI per capita of $37,268 is on par with the world’s most advanced economies.

Notre Dame de Paris, France
Source: Thinkstock

22. France
> GNI per capita: $37,827.08
> 2015 GDP: $2.67 trillion
> Population: 66,808,385
> Life expectancy: 82.4 years at birth

France’s GNI per capita of $37,827 is similar to the average GNI per capita across all eurozone countries of $37,693, and it is among the highest in the world. France is the leading exporter of planes, helicopters, and spacecrafts, which comprise a bulk of the country’s export revenue. The most visited country in the world, France also benefits from an active tourism industry. Revenue from tourism amounted to 3.6% of France’s GDP in 2014, a relatively large share.

Like many wealthy Western European countries, high taxes and government spending in France likely help the French enjoy a high quality of life. The life expectancy at birth in France is 82.4 years, longer than both the life expectancy across the eurozone of 81.6 years and the U.S. life expectancy of 78.9 years.

Big Ben, London, England, United Kingdom
Source: Thinkstock

21. United Kingdom
> GNI per capita: $37,930.83
> 2015 GDP: $2.70 trillion
> Population: 65,138,232
> Life expectancy: 81.1 years at birth

Like most developed nations today, the United Kingdom’s economy is service oriented. However, like most developed nations today, the U.K. has a service-oriented economy. The nation’s service sector accounts for 79.2% of GDP, nearly the largest share of any country. The U.K. also has large aerospace, pharmaceutical, automotive, and oil production industries, which are partially reflected by the country’s top exports — cars, gold, crude and refined petroleum, and medicines.

In June 2016, the U.K. voted to exit the European Union. While it is unclear what the effect of the Brexit vote will be, some experts believe it will negatively impact the country’s economy and its citizens’ quality of life. The U.K.’s near world leading foreign investment and London’s status as the world’s top financial center may be hurt by Britain’s exit from the politico-economic union.