Norway tops global list for prosperity and has the happiest citizens, according to index published today

by Ray Clancy on October 26, 2010

Scandinavia tops global list

Scandinavia is the most prosperous place in the world to live in terms of wealth and happiness followed by Australasia, a report published today (Tuesday October 26) has found.

Norway, Denmark and Finland top the annual Prosperity Index that covers 90% of the world’s population and takes into account education, health, personal freedom, safety, security and democracy.

Australia and New Zealand are in third and fourth with Sweden, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United States making up the rest of the top ten.

Unsurprisingly Zimbabwe and Pakistan are at the bottom of the list in 110th and 109th place respectively. Many African countries are also in the bottom 15. The best performing African countries are Tunisia, Morocco, Botswana and South Africa.

Britain is in 13th place, the same as last year and is marked down because of what is described as her ‘mediocre’ education and health services, according to the report that is compiled by the Legatum Institute, a London based think tank.

A loss in public confidence since the banking crisis and deepening gloom over the threat of mass unemployment is also undermining Britain’s status.

Britain is ranked 101st in the world on public confidence in financial institutions, 98th on optimism about job prospects and 93rd on expectations of future economic performance, the kind of ratings usually found in the world’s poorest countries.

‘Despite the recession, the UK continues to perform well on a number of important economic indicators as well as on indicators measuring entrepreneurship and opportunity and social capital,’ said Ashley Lenihan, senior fellow at the Legatum Institute.

Beyond the positive headlines though, there are signs of weakness in some areas for the UK. The index clearly shows that the UK’s path to future prosperity rests in its ability to be a global leader in fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and in how well it tackles these barriers to continued growth,’ he added.

The think tank said that although the high-ranking Scandinavian countries had relatively high tax levels and large welfare states, they had embarked on ‘economic liberalisation’ in recent years by ‘freeing up their labour markets and slashing government spending’.

The index provides the world’s only global assessment of prosperity based on both wealth and well-being. ‘The idea is to go beyond traditional material understandings of prosperity to a more integrative one that encompasses a citizen’s overall well being and satisfaction,’ explained Lenihan.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

manderso October 27, 2010 at 11:49 pm

I keep hearing from conservatives that socialism has always failed economically?


Helen Rae December 29, 2017 at 8:41 am

I’ve also heard, again from neocons, that Denmark has a high suicide rate. Thus they cannot be the happiest people in the world (now apparently displaced by Norwegians?). Anyone know whether any of this is true? Thx!


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