Even as economic activity around the world declined sharply in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nations still reported very high per capita gross national incomes. Across the globe, GNI per capita was $17,535. Yet there are a number of countries in which the GNI is many times higher.
Gross national income, or GNI, is the sum of money earned by a country’s population and businesses within a given year. It also includes income earned by corporations or persons based in a given country but operating outside of its borders and excludes income generated in the country by foreign operators. Higher GNIs often correlate with a higher standard of living, including improved access to health care and education.
To determine the richest countries in the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on gross national income per capita for 193 countries and special regions with available data from the World Bank.
Many of the richest countries in the world benefit from having large multinational corporations headquartered within their borders. Even if these companies earn money overseas, that income is counted towards the gross national income of the country where that business is based.
The world economic landscape has shifted to be increasingly more globalized and interconnected. As a result, many companies, including many that are headquartered in one of the nations on this list, have extended their footprint into dozens of countries and grown their valuation to tens of billions of dollars. These are the 50 most valuable brands in the world.
Other countries among the world’s richest are so financially well off because they have an important natural resource, generally oil, that is valuable and abundant enough to create many billions of dollars worth of economic activity. Conversely, many others have very large and diverse economies that excel in a number of different fields.
Living in a wealthy country comes with numerous advantages, perhaps most importantly is health. Those in countries with high incomes are generally able to get access to healthy food and health care and generally have very low maternal and child mortality. Each of the world’s 25 richest countries also has a higher average life expectancy than the world average life expectancy. These are the countries with the oldest populations.