This ranking was based on the Legatum Prosperity Index released by the Legatum Institute which “offers the only global assessment of national prosperity based on both wealth and wellbeing. The Prosperity Index incorporates 142 countries, which cover 96% of the world’s population and 99% of global GDP.” Legatum used a complex methodology to create these rankings that came down to “eight sub-indices, each of which has been identified as a foundation of prosperity.” The eight sub-indices were: social capital, personal freedom, safety & security, health, education, governance, entrepreneurship & opportunity and economy. This was based on data collected in 2012, so without further ado the 10 most prosperous countries:
Norway: For the second year in a row Norway has ranked 1st. It received a first place ranking in social capital and its lowest score was 13th in governance.
Denmark: This is the fourth consecutive second place finish for Denmark showing remarkable stability when it comes to prosperity. While Denmark ranked 1st in entrepreneurship & opportunity, its lowest score was 19th when it came to economy.
Sweden: Sweden was able to jump up two positions to move from 5th in 2011 to 3rd on this list. Its highest score was 2nd place in entrepreneurship & opportunity and lowest score was a 14th place finish in health.
Australia: Australia also fell one position to 4th from its previous 2011 ranking of 3rd. Its lowest score was ranking 19th in safety & security while its best category was a 2nd place finish in education.
New Zealand: New Zealand also fell one spot from 2011 to finish 5th this year. It ranked 1st in education but its lowest ranking was 27th when it came to its economy.
Canada: Canada maintained its consistency and held on to its 6th place position. Canada finished 1st when it came to personal freedom, but its lowest score was a 16th place finish in entrepreneurship & opportunity.
Finland: Finland maintained its 7th place finish, which is an indication of overall stability. Finland’s highest score was 3rd in both safety & security and entrepreneurship & opportunity while its lowest score was 19th in personal freedom.
Netherlands: Netherlands was able to move up one from its 9th place finish in 2011 with its highest score being 6th in social capital and its lowest score 18th in safety & security.
Switzerland: Switzerland fell one spot from a 2011 ranking of 8th by ranking 1st in both economy and governance but 32nd in education.
Ireland: Ireland moved up one spot from 11th in 2011. Its highest score was 4th in both safety & security and personal freedom while its lowest score was 25th when it came to economy.
The United States did not make the top ten this year having fell two spots to the 12th position from the 10th place it occupied in 2011. The Legatum Prosperity Index includes a complete table rankings by country with all 8 sub-indices.
Generally prosperity is thought to be the accumulation of material wealth but the Legatum Prosperity Index takes into account the “joy of everyday life and the prospect of being able to build a better life in the future.” By expanding the definition of prosperity this index gives a more complete view of a country and includes values that would appeal to and be significant to both individuals and businesses looking to relocate or expand. It’s interesting to see how all the countries compared and (in particular to me) where Canada ranked.