About the author: Andrew Salmon contributed this article. He writes about financial topics for a number of websites including IVA.net.
How much is a country worth? And how does one go about determining it. Well, for the sake of argument, here is a list of the top six richest countries in the world based on GDP per capita. For those keeping score, GDP per capita is an approximation of the value of goods produced per person, divided by the total population of the country. The results may surprise you.
This tiny country has a total area of only 270 square miles. And yet, it possesses the busiest port in the world and can hold its own with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan as part of the Four Asian Tigers. Its GDP per capita is $48,900.
5. United Arab Emirates
Oil and natural gas still add up to big, big bucks in the global economy and UAE is cleaning up. With one of the most vibrant economies in the world, people here have more money than they know what to do with. A GDP per capita of $55,200 means endless construction on a massive scale. It’s estimated that one-quarter of all the construction going on in the world is being done in Dubai.
The fifth largest oil reserve, or 10% of the total global reserves on the planet, means a lot of rich Kuwaitis who will only get richer before alternate fuel sources eventually replace traditional oil and gas in the global market. And, with no taxes, that’s a lot of folding money for that extra big wallet. Their GDP per capita of $55,300 is likely to rise. This is one of the fastest growing economies in the region.
Opting to stay out of the European Union, this small country packs a big wallop at the pump. Only two other countries (Russia and Saudi Arabia) export more oil than Norway which has living costs 30% higher than that of the United States – this oil and natural gas exporter still clocks in with a GDP per capita of $55,600. Impressive.
Free of British rule for less than 30 years, this small country wallowed in poverty until oil and natural gas were discovered in the 40s. Now they boast a GDP per capita of $75,900, rocketing the tax-free country to the top of the list. Almost.
That’s right, this tiny country, with an incredible GDP per capita of $80,800 tops the list as the richest country in the world. With a population of around half a million, it is nothing short of a miracle. Once dealing in steel, chemicals and rubber, this founding nation of the European Union now gets rich through banking and financial exports.
As you can see, the countries listed here are not the usual suspects when we think of the richest countries on the planet. Also with tiny nations like Luxembourg, Singapore and Qatar, size doesn’t matter when it comes to wielding economic might.