Did you know that the richest nations in the world are also amongst the smallest?
But what do we mean when we say a country is “rich”? While gross domestic product (GDP) measures the value of all goods and services produced in a nation, dividing a country’s GDP by the number of the full-time residents is a better way of determining how rich or poor one country’s population is. That means the economies of richer countries are disproportionately large compared to their small populations. Here’s our list of the top five richest nations:
The country’s oil, gas and petrochemical reserves are so large, and its population so small—just 2.8 million—that this marvel of ultramodern architecture, luxury shopping malls and fine cuisine has managed to top the list of world’s richest nations for 20 years.
Since the gaming industry was liberalized in 2001 this special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China has seen its wealth grow. With a population just over 600,000, and more than 40 casinos spread over a territory of about 30 square kilometers, Macao continues to be a money-making machine.
Macao is also doing well without foreign tourists as their almost 40 million visitors, (nearly 71% of them) come from continental China.
Luxembourg is known for its castles and beautiful countryside, its cultural festivals and gastronomic specialties. Or you could just set up an offshore account through one of its banks- known for its stringent bank secrecy laws. Luxembourg uses a large share of its wealth to deliver better housing, healthcare and education to its 600,000 people, who by far enjoy the highest standard of living in the Eurozone.
With virtually no natural resources, Singapore pulled itself up through hard work and smart policy, becoming one of the most business-friendly places in the world. Today, Singapore is a thriving trade, manufacturing and financial hub- with 97% literacy rate among its adult population. Singapore is the permanent home to Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder of Facebook, who in 2011 left the U.S. with 53 million shares of the company. He chose Singapore as it is considered a fiscal haven where capital gains and dividends are tax-free.
5. Brunei Darussalam
Just consider where the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah lives: in a palace of 1,788 rooms, including 257 bathrooms, a banquet hall that can accommodate up to 5,000 guests, a mosque for 1,500 people, an air-conditioned stable for 200 polo ponies, 5 pools and 18 elevators. His fortune comes from the immense reserves of oil and natural gas of the country—which is estimated at about $28 billion, more than 50 times that of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.
Rounding out the Top 10 of the the richest countries are Ireland, Norway, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Switzerland.
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