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The 50 Richest Countries in the World

John Csiszar
·18 mins read
The 50 Richest Countries in the World
The 50 Richest Countries in the World

The top economies in the world can be ranked by many different metrics. On an absolute dollar basis, the United States and China have been battling for some time for the top spot in the global economy, as China inches ever closer. However, since China has such a large population, its gross domestic product per capita dwindles in comparison to the United States and other countries. In fact, you won’t find China anywhere on this GDP-per-capita list of the top 50 economies in the world.

Using data from the World Bank and the Central Intelligence Agency, GOBankingRates ranked the 50 top economies in the world on the basis of GDP per capita. You might be surprised at some of the results, including which nation was named as the richest country. Who knows, you might even reconsider where you plan to retire.

Last updated: Aug. 19, 2020

50. Uruguay

  • GDP per capita: $16,190.13

Uruguay often gets upstaged by its much larger and more glamorous neighbors Argentina and Brazil, but the small presidential republic is still one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Its main industries include electrical machinery, transportation equipment and food processing, particularly of cellulose, beef, soybeans and rice.

49. Hungary

  • GDP per capita: $16,475.74

This country is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with a capital city split by the Danube River. Hungary relies on mining, metallurgy and construction materials to fuel its GDP. Important agricultural products in the parliamentary republic include wheat, corn and sunflower seeds.

48. Trinidad and Tobago

  • GDP per capita: $17,276.47

The tiny Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago has a landmass of only 1,979 square miles, but the parliamentary republic has a larger-than-expected economy. Key industries include petroleum and gas, along with methanol, ammonia, steel products, cement and cotton textiles.

47. Seychelles

  • GDP per capita: $17,401.72

The beautiful Seychelles, a chain of islands, are their own nation, a presidential republic with a 0.89% population growth rate. In addition to tourism, the Seychelles have thriving beverage and fishing industries. Prime agricultural crops include coconuts, cinnamon, vanilla and root vegetables such as cassava.

46. Antigua and Barbuda

  • GDP per capita: $17,790.31

Antigua and Barbuda are the two main islands of a nation with an interesting form of government. Technically, Antigua and Barbuda is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, otherwise known as a commonwealth. These islands in the West Indies are known for producing cotton and various fruits and vegetables, in addition to their reliance on tourism.

45. Latvia

  • GDP per capita: $17,836.36

Latvia is a small country with a population of less than 2 million, which shrank by 0.75% in 2019. However, its economy is still No. 45 in the world, thanks to the production of processed foods, textiles, processed metals, pharmaceuticals, railroad cars, synthetic fibers and electronics, among other goods.

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44. Barbados

  • GDP per capita: $18,148.24

If you’re a fan of island life, Barbados is a great place to vacation. Even with a landmass of just 166 square miles, it’s also home to one of the world’s top 50 GDPs per capita. Tourism is obviously a key contributor to the economy, but the country also relies on sugar production, light manufacturing and component assembly for export. Sugar cane, vegetables and cotton are important agricultural products in Barbados.

43. Slovakia

  • GDP per capita: $19,329.10

The Slovak Republic produces grains, potatoes, sugar beets and hops, among other important agricultural contributors. On the industrial side, the economy benefits from the production of automobiles, metal, electricity, gas, coke, oil and nuclear fuel.

42. Lithuania

  • GDP per capita: $19,455.45

Lithuania, formerly part of the Soviet Union, now stands strong with its own growing economy as a semi-presidential republic. The country keeps chugging along, thanks to a diversified economy known for metal-cutting machine tools, electric motors, televisions, refrigerators and petroleum refining, among numerous industries.

41. Greece

  • GDP per capita: $19,582.54

Greece is known for its world-class tourism sites, from the ruins of the Acropolis to the rugged caldera of Santorini. This country of 10 million-plus residents produces agricultural products such as wine, olives and dairy goods, and it also is known for textiles, chemicals, metal products, mining and petroleum.

40. St. Kitts and Nevis

  • GDP per capita: $19,896.50

St. Kitts and Nevis is an island nation that is part of the British Commonwealth, with its own federal parliamentary democracy. Nevis might sound familiar to some hardcore fans of the hit musical “Hamilton” as the birthplace of founding father Alexander Hamilton, but it usually takes a back seat to the more well-known St. Kitts. In addition to tourism, St. Kitts and Nevis relies on the cotton, salt, clothing, footwear and beverage industries to power its economy.

39. Czech Republic

  • GDP per capita: $23,101.78

The economic engines of the Czech Republic include metallurgy, machinery and equipment, glass, armaments and motor vehicles. Prime agricultural products include wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, hops and fruit, along with pigs and poultry.

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38. Saudi Arabia

  • GDP per capita: $23,139.80

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with a 34 million-strong population that grew by an estimated 1.67% in 2019. In addition to its well-known petroleum refining and crude oil production industries, the Saudi economy also relies on ammonia, industrial gases, sodium hydroxide, cement, fertilizer, plastics, metals and other industries to fuel its growth.

37. Portugal

  • GDP per capita: $23,145.04

Portugal has a broad-based economy that’s large enough to give it the ranking as the No. 37 GDP per capita in the world. Portugal produces everything from textiles, clothing and footwear to automobiles and auto parts, base metals, porcelain and ceramics, glassware, technology, telecommunications, dairy products, wine, ships and plastics. Tourism also is an important contributor to the economy in Portugal.

36. Bahrain

  • GDP per capita: $23,503.98

The tiny constitutional monarchy of Bahrain is enjoying explosive population growth, at a rate of 4.47% annually. Petroleum processing and aluminum smelting are the main drivers of the nation’s industry, in addition to Islamic banking and offshore banking. Fruit, vegetables, poultry and dairy products are among the country’s main agricultural products.

35. Estonia

  • GDP per capita: $23,659.87

Estonia is a former Soviet bloc country that now stands as a parliamentary republic. Important industries in Estonia include food, engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textiles, information technology and communications. Agricultural components of the economy include grain, potatoes, vegetables, fish, livestock and dairy products.

34. Slovenia

  • GDP per capita: $25,739.25

Slovenia relies on industries such as ferrous metallurgy and aluminum products, lead and zinc smelting, and electronics to generate the economy. Hops, wheat, coffee, corn and apples, in addition to sheep, poultry and cattle, round out the agricultural side of the country’s economy.

33. Cyprus

  • GDP per capita: $27,858.37

At 3,572 square miles, Cyprus is the 12th-smallest country on this list based on landmass. The country’s 1.19 million head count grew by an estimated 0.78% in 2019. Tourism is a key contributor to Cyprus’ economy, along with food and beverage processing, cement and gypsum, textiles, and ship repair and refurbishment. Citrus and vegetables are two of the main agricultural contributors.

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32. Malta

  • GDP per capita: $29,416.23

The tiny nation of Malta is an archipelago in the Mediterranean that covers just 122 square miles. The parliamentary republic produces potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley and tomatoes, in addition to pork, eggs, milk and poultry. Tourism helps to keep the economy afloat, along with electronics, shipbuilding and repair, construction and pharmaceuticals, among other varied industries.

31. Spain

  • GDP per capita: $29,613.67

Spain has a population of nearly 50 million residents that grew by an estimated 0.59% in 2019. In addition to tourism, which is a huge contributor to the country’s economy, Spain’s main industries include textiles and apparel, food and beverages, metals and metal manufacturing, chemicals and shipbuilding. The country is also noted for its olives and wine grapes.

30. Brunei

  • GDP per capita: $31,086.75

The Kingdom of Brunei, formally known as Brunei Darussalam, is a tiny absolute monarchy located on the island of Borneo. Oil and gas power the economy in the form of petroleum processing and refining as well as liquefied natural gas. Agriculturally, Brunei produces rice, vegetables and fruits.

29. South Korea

  • GDP per capita: $31,761.98

South Korea packs more than 51 million residents into just 38,502 square miles, and yet the population still grew by an estimated 0.20% in 2019. The South Korean economy is powered by electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding and steel. Agricultural components include rice, root crops, barley and vegetables.

28. Kuwait

  • GDP per capita: $32,031.98

Kuwait is an emirate in the Middle East that relies almost exclusively on petrochemicals for its economy, although it also has cement, shipbuilding and ship repair, water desalination and food processing industries. Its main agricultural product is fish.

27. Bahamas

  • GDP per capita: $32,933.49

More than 700 islets and islands make up the Bahamas, and tourism is a huge part of the nation’s economy. The country also gets contributions from numerous other industries, including banking, oil bunkering, maritime industries, transshipment and logistics, salt, aragonite and pharmaceuticals. Citrus, vegetables, poultry and seafood are key agricultural products in the Bahamas.

26. Italy

  • GDP per capita: $33,189.57

Italy is known for its agricultural production of olives and grapes, and its tourism industry might be described by some as second to none. However, this country with a most distinctive shape also relies on machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear and ceramics to help fuel its economy.

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25. Japan

  • GDP per capita: $40,246.88

Japan has the second-largest population on this list of the top 50 economies, but its population is estimated to have shrunk by 0.21% in 2019. Japanese companies are among the world’s largest and most technologically advanced producers of electronic equipment, motor vehicles, ships and machine tools. Vegetables, rice, fish and poultry are the main agricultural contributors to the country’s GDP.

24. France

  • GDP per capita: $40,493.93

France is located just across the English Channel from the United Kingdom and has an impressive population of more than 67 million people. In addition to wine and tourism industries, machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics, textiles and food processing are all big parts of the French economy.

23. Andorra

  • GDP per capita: $40,886.39

Andorra is a mountainous nation of just 181 square miles lying between France and Spain. The county has an interesting governmental structure, as it’s been a parliamentary democracy since 1993, but it retains its chiefs of state in the form of a co-principality, with its two princes being the president of France and the bishop of Seu d’Urgell, Spain. Tourism, particularly skiing, is a main driver of the economy.

22. New Zealand

  • GDP per capita: $42,084.35

Sheep, beef and wine are important agricultural contributors to this island nation’s GDP, which also relies on forestry, fishing, manufacturing and mining. Of course, one of the biggest contributors to the New Zealand economy is tourism. The nation has been lauded repeatedly as one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

21. United Kingdom

  • GDP per capita: $42,300.27

The United Kingdom has a very diverse industrial economy. The main contributors to the country’s GDP include machine tools, electronic power equipment, automation equipment, railroad equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, electronics and communications equipment, metals and chemicals.

20. United Arab Emirates

  • GDP per capita: $43,103.32

The United Arab Emirates has a reputation for being a country of immense wealth. So, perhaps it’s no surprise that it ranks as the 20th wealthiest nation in spite of its relatively small size. The federation of monarchies, in the form of individual emirates, relies on petroleum and petrochemicals, in addition to fishing, cement, commercial ship repair and textiles to run its economy. Dates are an important agricultural product.

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19. Israel

  • GDP per capita: $43,641.40

Israel only became an independent country in 1948, but now it ranks as the world’s 19th-largest economy in terms of GDP per capita despite the country’s relatively small size. Israel has a renowned high-tech industry, and it also produces wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, tobacco, cut diamonds and many other diversified products.

18. Belgium

  • GDP per capita: $46,116.70

Belgium has an interesting form of government, as it’s a federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy — rare among the top 50 global economies. The country has a diverse economy, producing engineering and metal products, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, base metals, textiles, glass and petroleum.

17. Canada

  • GDP per capita: $46,194.73

Canada has the largest landmass of any country on the list, just edging out the United States in size. However, its population of 37.6 million remains relatively small for such a big country. Wheat, barley, oilseed and tobacco are all important agricultural products in Canada. Other key GDP contributors include transportation equipment, chemicals and minerals.

16. Germany

  • GDP per capita: $46,258.88

The German economy is known for producing some of the best automobiles in the world, but Germany also is among the world’s largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, food and beverages, ships and textiles.

15. Finland

  • GDP per capita: $48,685.85

Finland is one of six countries in the Nordic region that rank in the top 15 when it comes to GDP per capita. Finland’s economy relies on metals and metal products, electronics, machinery and scientific instruments, shipbuilding, pulp and paper, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles and clothing. Agricultural products in Finland include dairy cattle, fish, barley, wheat and sugar beets.

14. Austria

  • GDP per capita: $50,277.28

Austria is a gorgeous country, and tourism helps boost the country’s GDP. Construction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food, metals, chemicals, lumber and paper, and electronics also contribute their share. The federal parliamentary republic produces grains, potatoes, wine, fruit, dairy products, pigs, cattle and poultry.

13. Sweden

  • GDP per capita: $51,610.07

Sweden is another Nordic country with a GDP per capita among the highest in the world. The biggest contributors to its economy include iron and steel, precision equipment, wood pulp and paper products, processed food and motor vehicles. Barley, wheat, sugar beets, meat and milk round out the agricultural side of the economic equation for Sweden.

12. Netherlands

  • GDP per capita: $52,447.83

The Netherlands relies on agro-industries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics and fishing to power its economy. Vegetables, ornamentals, dairy, poultry and livestock products are the main agricultural contributors to the country’s economy.

11. Greenland

  • GDP per capita: $54,470.96

Perhaps one of the most surprising entries on the wealthiest nations list is Greenland. The largest island in the world, only 15% of the country is deemed habitable, with the rest covered by mighty glaciers and ice sheets. The parliamentary democracy is powered by fish processing, anorthosite and ruby mining, handicrafts, hides and skins, and small shipyards. Its agricultural production is dominated by fishing, sheep, cattle and reindeer.

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10. Australia

  • GDP per capita: $54,907.10

Australian beef is widely known as one of the country’s signature products, but the nation also relies heavily on the mining industry to produce a high GDP per capita that makes it one of the 10 richest countries. Other contributing industries include industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals and steel. Top agricultural products in Australia include wheat, barley, sugarcane and fruits.

9. Denmark

  • GDP per capita: $59,822.09

Denmark has an advanced economy that benefits from many diverse industries. Wind turbines, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, shipbuilding and refurbishment, iron, steel and nonferrous metals are key contributing industries, but the country also produces chemicals, machinery and transportation equipment, textiles and clothing, electronics, furniture and other products.

8. Qatar

  • GDP per capita: $64,781.73

Perhaps surprisingly, the absolute monarchy of Qatar comes in at No. 8 on the list of the top 50 GDPs per capita in the world. While well-known as a producer of oil and natural gas, Qatar also gets major contributions to its GDP from the cement, commercial ship repair, ammonia and fertilizer industries.

7. Singapore

  • GDP per capita: $65,233.28

Tiny Singapore has a diversified economy that benefits from the country’s location at the center of a major shipping route. At just 278 square miles, the country is one of the smallest in the study, but it’s known for a wide variety of things, from electronics, chemicals, financial services, oil drilling equipment and petroleum refining to biomedical products, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, and telecommunication equipment. Befitting of Singapore’s seaside location, companies also perform ship repair and offshore platform construction, and the country takes part in entrepot trade.

6. United States

  • GDP per capita: $65,280.68

The United States fits the largest population on the list into the second-largest landmass. It has a highly diversified economy with the second-largest industrial output in the world. The main industries in the U.S. encompass everything from petroleum, motor vehicles and steel to aerospace and telecommunications. Numerous agricultural products, including wheat, corn, fruits, vegetables, dairy and forest products, also serve to boost the country’s GDP.

5. Iceland

  • GDP per capita: $66,944.83

Iceland has seen a tourism boom since 2010, with the growth in annual visitor numbers registering in the double digits for much of the decade. However, more traditional industries, such as fish processing, aluminum smelting, geothermal and hydropower, all pitch in to make Iceland one of the top five economies in the world.

4. Norway

  • GDP per capita: $75,419.63

Norway is one of the wealthiest countries on Earth, which was proved when it surpassed the $1 trillion mark in its sovereign wealth fund in 2017. Norway gets its economic output from the shipping, fishing, aquaculture, food processing and shipbuilding industries, in addition to petroleum and gas.

3. Ireland

  • GDP per capita: $78,660.96

Ireland is known for its beef, potatoes and dairy products — and its beer — but a diversified collection of industries lifts the tiny nation’s GDP into the top three in the world. Pharmaceuticals, chemicals, medical devices and computer hardware and software are big contributors to Ireland’s economy.

2. Switzerland

  • GDP per capita: $81,993.73

When you think of Switzerland, you might think of banks and watches. This is more than a stereotype, as both of these industries help propel the Swiss economy into the top two globally. Switzerland also produces grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs and dairy products — not to mention chocolate.

1. Luxembourg

  • GDP per capita: $114,704.59

With a landmass of only 998 square miles, there’s plenty of money floating around in Luxembourg, which no doubt helped contribute to the nation’s estimated 1.95% population growth in 2019. Banking and financial services play a huge role in Luxembourg’s economy, but to claim the No. 1 spot as the richest country in the world, the constitutional monarchy’s economy is necessarily diversified. Construction, real estate services, metals and information technology all play an important role in the country’s economy.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates analyzed data from The World Bank to find the 50 countries with the highest GDP per capita in U.S. dollars as of 2019. All 218 places with 2019 data available from The World Bank were analyzed, but special administrative areas and territories of other nations were excluded from the final ranking. GOBankingRates also provided each country’s total population, population growth rate and area from The World Bank, and government type, main agricultural products and primary industries from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook as supplemental information. All data was collected on and up to date as of Aug. 7-10, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The 50 Richest Countries in the World