Norway tops latest prosperity index

Norway has been ranked the world’s most prosperous nation for the eighth time in nine years by the annual Legatum Institute world prosperity index.

The Legatum World Prosperity Index assess 149 countries on nine measures: economic quality, business environment, governance, personal freedom, social capital, safety and security, education, health and natural environment.

Norway took the number one spot as the most prosperous nation on earth, scoring especially well on measures of safety and security and social capital.

New Zealand took second spot, while Finland, Switzerland and Denmark rounded out the top five. The UK ranked seventh – up three places from a year earlier.

The report suggest that the world is currently more prosperous than ever, with 113 countries enjoying rising levels of prosperity over the last five years. This equates to 75 per cent of countries covered by the Index and home to approximately six billion people.

Asia-Pacific has been the fastest growing region over 10 years, with many middle and lower-ranking countries improving their prosperity levels the fastest, notably, Nepal, Indonesia and India.

On average, citizens in the top rising countries reported a higher level of wellbeing than ten years ago. Yet this has caused the gap between countries with the highest and lowest prosperity scores to widen.

The gap between the top and the bottom countries is now 10 per cent wider than in 2013.

While the top 20 rising countries showed steady improvements in prosperity, the 20 top fallers often fell sharply and suddenly.

There is also significant variation between countries within regions. In North America, there are large differences in living standards and conditions between Canada, and different regions of the US. Canada and the Northeast of the US are in general, safer and more prosperous than other parts of the US.

In Western Europe, there is a significant divergence between Northern and Southern Europe. Notably, Southern European countries have been steadily declining in political participation for the last decade.

One particular disturbing trend found by the latest prosperity index is that safety and security continues to fall globally, with standards declining in five out of seven regions.

“This is driven in large part by declines in people’s living conditions –like being unable to afford food and shelter – especially in Latin America and the Caribbean,” the report states. “Plus, there has been a small increase in the number of terrorist deaths this year, which continues a long-term trend for this indicator. It is the only pillar that has a lower score in 2018 than in 2007.”

Article published 11th December 2018