The world is getting richer. The global economy expanded by more than 3% to $80.68 trillion in 2017. The world’s wealth is not distributed equally. North America, home to less than than 5% of the global population, accounts for about one-fourth of global economic output. Meanwhile, in South Asia, where nearly 25% of the world’s population resides, the region’s economic activity accounts for less than 4% of global gross domestic product.
GDP may be the standard method for gauging the size of a particular country or region’s economy, but it does not account for all of the wealth generated by that nation. A more accurate indicator of a country’s economic output is its gross national income, or GNI. This measure captures all economic activity within a nation’s borders in addition to wealth created by nationally owned entities operating in other countries.
Using data from the World Bank, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the GNI per capita of about 180 nations to identify the 25 richest countries. We also included life expectancy at birth from the World Bank, as well as GDP from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The wealthiest 25 countries in the world have complex and diverse economies. They export goods and services that originate in a variety of industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and aerospace. Another common characteristic among the richest countries is the relative lack of corruption. According to corruption watchdog Transparency International, the least corrupt countries feature a free press, open access to public information, and judicial systems free from undue influence. Another common characteristic of the wealthiest nations is all of the 25 richest countries have life expectancies at birth above the world average of 72.0 years.