The Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank and educational charity, has released its list of the top 3 countries in the world enjoying the highest levels of prosperity. This information is included in the latest edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index, which ranks 149 countries based on methodological measurement and analysis.

Wealth and Wellbeing

The Legatum Prosperity Index is a unique and comprehensive tool used to measure global progress. It ranks nations based on nine sub-indices that include:

·     Business Environment

·     Economic Quality

·     Education

·     Governance

·     Health

·     Natural Environment

·     Personal Freedom

·     Safety and Security

·     Social Capital

To create the Prosperity Index, a methodologically sound approach is used to ensure that a clear picture is presented through careful collation and analysis of the facts. This index can then be used as a powerful instrument for global leaders and decision-makers to create relevant policies that can alleviate pressing global issues.

It contains pertinent information that offers a transparent view of how prosperity is viewed and experienced across the globe. According to the latest findings, global prosperity is continuing its ascent, with 113 countries improving their scores. However, this rise in prosperity ratings is not evenly distributed, highlighting the fact that wealth does not necessarily correspond with wellbeing and vice versa. There are countries that have a thriving business environment, for example, while their citizens experience a lower sense of personal freedom.

In its latest installment, the Legatum Prosperity Index has revealed the following top three most prosperous countries:

1. Norway

This Scandinavian country in North-western Europe is ranked first in the 2018 Legatum Prosperity Index. Moving up four places from its latest position, Norway performs best on its Safety and Security and Social Capital pillars.

On the other hand, it would do well to improve on its Business Environment aspect, as disparities have been observed in areas such as transportation and free trade. Steps have been taken in more recent years though to create policies on taxation and labor relations. Interest in information technology has also been given more attention as a means to improve this pillar.

2. New Zealand

This country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean has enjoyed the number one spot since the Index started in 2007. However, it stepped down a notch in the 2018 rankings. While it performs best on Social Capital and Personal Freedom, the low scores in the Safety and Security pillar may have pulled down the overall score to land them in 2nd place.

New Zealand has been a strong performer and has enjoyed much success over the years. It is one of the few OECD nations whose government debt runs below the OECD average. At the same time, unemployment is also low. Perhaps some of the challenges that the nation faces can be attributed to inequality in education, housing affordability, and global competitiveness with a focus on environment and trade.

However, through their Living Standard Framework – a conscious commitment to finding prosperity beyond GDP or income – New Zealand may still clinch the top spot in the next rankings.

3. Finland

Another Scandinavian country fills the last of the top three spots in the Legatum Prosperity Index. Finland inched up the ladder from its previous spot in fourth thanks to its high performance in the Government and Education pillars.

Even though its Health pillar scored low for this latest Index, Finland is still considered to be among the world’s most prosperous since its citizens enjoy some of the highest standards of living.  Along with a generous welfare estate, its citizens also enjoy the freedom from corruption and the ability to make life choices. It also provides an economic environment that has minimal barriers to free trade, promotes private ownership, and fosters socially egalitarian outcomes.

Pathways to Prosperity

These countries are to be lauded for their effort to find steps in pursuing pathways to prosperity as well as finding new roads if there aren’t any. The desire to create an environment for their residents that allow freedom from strife and hardship propel these countries to seek prosperity in many ways.

The results of the Legatum Prosperity Index can be a means to better understand situations that pull nations away or towards true prosperity.