To rank the world’s richest and poorest countries for 2016, we consider GDP per capita, adjusted for relative purchasing power.

Author: Jonathan Gregson
Project Coordinator: B Pham
A gargoyle looms over Paris. France has known great poverty and great wealth in her history.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR A NATION TO BE RICH? 

What do we mean when we apply terms like “richest” and “poorest” to entire countries? If one simply considers gross domestic product (GDP)—the total value of goods and services produced within each nation—then the richest five countries in the world are, in order, the United States, China, Germany, Japan and the UK. Yet those rankings don’t tell us much about relative living conditions.

Similarly, the poorest five are, in order, Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, and Palau. These countries yield little in annual production largely because they are so very very small—no more than dots in the Pacific Ocean on a world map. Again, aggregate numbers don’t tell us much about living conditions. 

A more accurate picture of living conditions begins with dividing the total production by the number of people, to look at GDP per capita. Per capita GDP tells a little more about how much wealth might be available to each individual person. Still, what about currency fluctuations? Or the varying cost of necessary items such as food, clothing and shelter? To know whether a country’s citizens are wealthy, we want to understand how much they are able to buy. Thus, a final adjustment factors in purchasing power.

Our tables of the World's Richest and Poorest Countries for 2016 use IMF data for per capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP). GDP-PPP makes for a better comparison of living standards, because PPP takes into account cost of living and inflation rates, rather than just exchange rates, which may distort the real differences in income. This is the measure most economists prefer for comparing living conditions and economic strength across countries.

Values are expressed in current international dollars, to the nearest whole dollar, reflecting a single year's (2018) currency exchange rates and PPP adjustments.

Rank

Country

GDP-PPP ($)

1 Qatar 128,487
2 Macao SAR 118,099
3 Luxembourg 109,199
4 Singapore 98,255
5 Brunei Darussalam 81,612
6 Ireland 77,670
7 Norway 74,318
8 United Arab Emirates 70,262
9 Kuwait 66,982
10 Switzerland 64,988
11 Hong Kong SAR 64,794
12 United States 62,518
13 San Marino 61,580
14 Netherlands 56,571
15 Saudi Arabia 55,926
16 Iceland 54,753
17 Taiwan Province of China 52,960
18 Germany 52,897
19 Sweden 52,719
20 Australia 52,363
21 Austria 52,224
22 Denmark 51,841
23 Bahrain 50,751
24 Canada 49,936
25 Belgium 48,179
26 Finland 46,559
27 Oman 46,559
28 United Kingdom 45,643
29 France 45,601
30 Malta 44,587
31 Japan 44,550
32 Korea 41,416
33 Spain 40,371
34 New Zealand 40,266
35 Puerto Rico 39,764
36 Italy 39,472
37 Cyprus 39,302
38 Aruba 38,435
39 Israel 37,856
40 Czech Republic 37,423
41 Slovenia 36,826
42 Slovak Republic 35,099
43 Lithuania 34,829
44 Equatorial Guinea 34,421
45 Estonia 33,553
46 The Bahamas 33,516
47 Trinidad and Tobago 32,197
48 Portugal 32,023
49 Poland 31,647
50 Hungary 31,561
51 Malaysia 30,815
52 Seychelles 30,516
53 Latvia 29,488
54 Greece 29,112
55 St. Kitts and Nevis 29,099
56 Russia 29,032
57 Turkey 28,270
58 Antigua and Barbuda 27,543
59 Kazakhstan 27,495
60 Panama 26,794
61 Croatia 26,216
62 Romania 26,176
63 Chile 25,891
64 Mauritius 23,597
65 Uruguay 23,267
66 Bulgaria 23,207
67 Mexico 20,645
68 Argentina 20,610
69 Maldives 20,212
70 Belarus 20,176
71 Islamic Republic of Iran 20,269
72 Lebanon 20,028
73 Turkmenistan 19,526
74 Thailand 19,126
75 Barbados 18,866
76 Montenegro 18,862
77 Gabon 18,648
78 Dominican Republic 18,323
79 China 18,120
80 Azerbaijan 17,955
81 Botswana 17,888
82 Costa Rica 17,645
83 Iraq 16,927
84 Brazil 16,112
85 Serbia 16,090
86 Grenada 16,034
87 Algeria 15,611
88 FYR Macedonia 15,523
89 Suriname 15,363
90 St. Lucia 15,225
91 Colombia 15,021
92 Palau 14,755
93 Peru 14,252
94 Mongolia 13,904
95 South Africa 13,775
96 Bosnia and Herzegovina 13,513
97 Sri Lanka 13,500
98 Paraguay 13,471
99 Egypt 13,374
100 Albania 13,330
101 Indonesia 13,176
102 Tunisia 12,370
103 Nauru 12,335
104 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 11,966
105 Ecuador 11,732
106 Georgia 11,600
107 Namibia 11,516
108 Kosovo 11,505
109  Venezuela 10,968
110 Libya 10,797
111 Eswatini 10,347
112 Armenia 10,274
113 Figi 10,252
114 Dominica 9,727
115 Bhutan 9,546
116 Jamaica 9,434
117 Jordan 9,406
118 Ukraine 9,182
119 Morocco 8,956
120 Philippines 8,933
121 Guyana 8,525
122 Belize 8,467
123 Guatemala 8,414
124 El Salvador 8,388
125 Lao P.D.R. 7,956
126 Bolivia 7,944
127 India 7,796
128 Vietnam 7,482
129 Cabo Verde 7,400
130 Uzbekistan 7,338
131 Moldova 7,104
132 Republic of Congo 6,881
133 Myanmar 6,797
134 Angola 6,782
135 Tonga 6,179
136 Nigeria 6,030
137 Samoa 5,941
138 Timor-Leste 5,832
139 Honduras 5,817
140 Pakistan 5,714
141 Nicaragua 5,683
142 Ghana 5,026
143 Bangladesh 4,598
144 Mauritania 4,564
145 Cambodia 4,323
146 Sudan 4,222
147 CÚte d'Ivorie 4,170
148 Zambia 4,120
149 Tuvalu 4,055
150 Cameroon 3,820
151 Kyrgyz Republic 3,812
152 Djibouti 3,788
153 Kenya 3,694
154 Marshall Islands 3,678
155 Senegal 3,676
156 Papua New Guinea 3,627
157 Micronesia 3,525
158 Tanzania 3,446
159 Lesotho 3,374
160 S,,o Tomé and Prìncipe 3,359
161 Tajikistan 3,354
162 Nepal 2,902
163 Vanuatu 2,850
164 The Gambia 2,763
165 Uganda 2,490
166 Chad 2,428
167 Benin 2,411
168 Zimbabwe 2,381
169 Yemen 2,380
170 Ethiopia 2,344
171 Guinea 2,277
172 Mali 2,271
173 Solomon Islands 2,243
174 Rwanda 2,231
175 Kiribati 2,032
176 Afghanistan 2,018
177 Burkina Faso 1,996
178 Guinea-Bissau 1,951
179 Haiti 1,875
180 Togo 1,738
181 Eritrea 1,658
182 Comoros 1,633
183 Madagascar 1,626
184 Sierra Leone 1,618
185 South Sudan 1,527
186 Liberia 1,327
187 Mozmbique 1,295
188 Niger 1,218
189 Malawi 1,202
190 Democratic Republic of the Congo 816
191 Burundi 733
192 Central African Republic 712
     

Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook October 2018.