Which are the richest countries in the world, by nominal GDP per capita?
This map looks at the top 25 countries by this metric. As Visual Capitalist’s Avery Koop notes, they’re located across North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. Notably, no South American or African countries make the list.
Although number one on the global stage in terms of total GDP, the U.S. places fifth with a GDP per capita of $63,051.
Interestingly, a number of countries with smaller population sizes have a high GDP per capita. For example, Iceland makes the top 10 at $57,189, but the island’s population is only around 342,000 people. Similarly, Luxembourg’s population is just under 633,000—but it’s the richest country in the world on a per capita basis.
So how did these countries become so well off?
Looking at history, most high-income countries went through a similar linear journey. Beginning with agriculture-based economies, they went through a period of rapid industrialization, and finally became service-based economies.
In Luxembourg today, one of the top industries is banking and financial services, for example. Here’s a look at some of the top industries in the next five richest countries:
Banking and financial services, agriculture
Natural resources (including agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and mining), pharmaceuticals
Oil and gas, hydropower, seafood
Real estate, healthcare, technology
Financial services, manufacturing, oil and gas
The world’s wealthiest economies will likely remain on top for the foreseeable future, though some may experience plateauing growth. In Japan, for example, the domestic market is beginning to shrink due to an aging population.
Regardless, the wealth of these countries today is astounding, with the richest country in the world having a GDP per capita of 415x more than the poorest country in the world.