Special Report

10 Richest Countries in the World

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10. Brunei Darussalam
> 2019 GNI per capita: $66,410
> 2019 GDP: $13.5 billion (134th out of 206 countries)
> Population (2019): 433,285
> Life expectancy at birth in 2018: 75.7 years

Brunei Darussalam is a small country in southeast Asia bordered by Malaysia and the South China Sea. Though the country has a relatively small economy of just $13.5 billion, it also has a small population of less than half a million people.

The country is oil rich, and petroleum gas and crude petroleum accounted for over 90% of its $6.4 billion in exports in 2018. With a well-educated population and high quality infrastructure, the country draws in considerable foreign investment. The country is in the process of diversifying its economy, expanding into IT manufacturing. Due in part to its wealth, residents do not pay income tax.

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9. Ireland
> 2019 GNI per capita: $68,050
> 2019 GDP: $388.7 billion (33rd out of 206 countries)
> Population (2019): 4.9 million
> Life expectancy at birth in 2018: 82.3 years

Ireland is the ninth wealthiest country in the world and the fourth wealthiest in Europe, with a GNI per capita just over $65,000. Ireland is one of the most trade dependent countries in the world. In 2018, the country exported $210 billion worth of services, the most of any country.

Ireland Ireland’s chief export, of the $175 billion in goods it sold in 2018, is chemical products, which include vaccines, cultures, and packaged medicines. More than a quarter of Ireland’s exports go to the U.S., and most of the rest go to other European countries.

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8. Norway
> 2019 GNI per capita: $69,610
> 2019 GDP: $403.3 billion (31st out of 206 countries)
> Population (2019): 5.3 million
> Life expectancy at birth in 2018: 82.8 years

With a GNI per capita of nearly $70,000, Norway is the wealthiest Scandinavian country and the eighth wealthiest in the world. Its natural resources, which include fish, forests, minerals, and oil, are major drivers of the national economy. Norway is one of the world’s top exporters of oil and one of the top exporters of seafood.

Like other wealthy European countries, Norway provides a strong social safety net to citizens and has relatively little corruption and wealth inequality. Life expectancy at birth in the country is nearly 83 years, about a decade longer than the global average.

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7. United Arab Emirates
> 2019 GNI per capita: $70,240
> 2019 GDP: $421.1 billion (30th out of 206 countries)
> Population (2019): 9.8 million
> Life expectancy at birth in 2018: 77.8 years

Like other Middle Eastern countries on this list, the United Arab Emirates derives its wealth largely from its natural resources — namely, oil. The UAE controls nearly 6% of the world’s proved oil reserves, and crude and refined petroleum exports generated nearly 40% of the country’s $242 billion in exports in 2018. The country is in the process of diversifying its economy, bolstering its trade and tourism sectors and focusing on improving education of its population.

The UAE struggles more than most countries on this list with income inequality and public sector corruption. It is also one of only five countries on this list where life expectancy at birth is less than 80 years.

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6. Switzerland
> 2019 GNI per capita: $72,390
> 2019 GDP: $703.1 billion (20th out of 206 countries)
> Population (2019): 8.6 million
> Life expectancy at birth in 2018: 83.8 years

Thanks in part to its competitive business environment and strong free trade climate, Switzerland is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Its GNI per capita of $72,390 is the sixth highest in the world. The country is one of just 20 in the world with GDP that exceeded $700 billion in 2019.

Switzerland is the world’s leading exporter of gold — exporting $63.8 billion worth in 2018. Gold exports accounted for over one-fifth of its total exports that year. Switzerland is also one of the best educated countries in the world, with 36.9% of adults 25 and older holding at least a bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent.