Finland is the Most Prosperous Nation Overall, While the United States,
Ranked 9th, is the Top-Performing Large Nation. Poor Performance on
Health Drags the U.S. Down
LONDON, Oct. 26 /CNW/ - The third edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index, published today, ranks 104 countries (covering 90% of the world's population), based on a definition of prosperity that combines economic growth together with measures of happiness and quality of life. Finland tops the Index, with the U.S. ranking ninth out of 104 countries in the Index, ahead of large European nations such as Britain, Germany and France, which all still make the top 20. Finland is narrowly ahead of Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark; Zimbabwe ranks last, following Yemen and Sudan.
"From Bobby Kennedy to France's current President, Nicolas Sarkozy, influential thinkers have lamented that economic growth alone is not sufficient for prosperity," said Dr. William Inboden, Senior Vice President of the Legatum Institute. "The Legatum Prosperity Index is the world's only global assessment of both wealth and wellbeing," he continued. "Among the world's larger nations, the US is the world leader: it has achieved great prosperity through high levels of innovation and entrepreneurship, robust commitment to personal freedom, and governing institutions that generally foster economic growth. Having a balance with strong families and communities, political and religious liberty, education, and opportunity is also critically important," concluded Dr. Inboden.
The U.S. scores first globally in the measure of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a gauge of which countries possess the greatest ability to commercialize ideas and launch new enterprises in the near future. The US has some weaknesses, however, ranking 27th globally on health, and 19th in the world on safety and security.
Key Findings from the 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index:
- The U.S. ranks 1st in the world in Entrepreneurship and Innovation
and 2nd in the world in the strength of Democratic Institutions.
- Two other areas of American strength are Education (7th globally),
and Social Capital (also 7th globally).
- The U.S. performs worst in the health category, ranking 27th in the
world. Dissatisfaction with their overall health is dragging down
Americans' sense of well-being, affecting their determination to get
ahead and their faith in their healthcare system.
- Ranking 19th globally, safety and security is another relative
weakness of the U.S. Lower scores are driven by the large number of
people in the US who feel they live in unsafe places, coupled with a
high per capita murder rate relative to other developed nations.
- The U.S. ranks 16th globally on Governance, indicating that Americans
believe that there is too much corruption in their government and
sometimes doubt the honesty of elections. The United States' laws and
regulations are generally seen to foster economic growth, but
government's negative effects pull down its citizens' quality of
- Northern Europe dominates the top five spots in the Index: Finland
(1st), Sweden (3rd), Denmark (4th), and Norway (5th).
The Index identified nine key factors that drive economic growth and personal wellbeing, which are foundations of prosperity. Each of these nine factors is represented in a sub-index and a country's final Prosperity Index ranking is generated by averaging its scores across all nine sub-indexes, equally weighted. More information on the Prosperity Index, including full country rankings, background on data and methodology, and profiles of each country can be found at http://www.prosperity.com.
Notes to Editors:
About the Legatum Prosperity Index
The 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index is based on statistical analysis of more than 40 years of data for more than 100 countries worldwide, produced and supervised by the Legatum Institute, with input from the research consultancy Oxford Analytica and a panel of respected academic advisors in the fields of economics, history, development, sociology, and political science.
2009 Legatum Prosperity Index Rankings
TOP TWENTY COUNTRIES BOTTOM TEN COUNTRIES
1. Finland 95. Kenya
2. Switzerland 96. Algeria
3. Sweden 97. Tanzania
4. Denmark 98. Nigeria
5. Norway 99. Pakistan
6. Australia 100. Cameroon
7. Canada 101. Central African Republic
8. Netherlands 102. Yemen
9. United States 103. Sudan
10. New Zealand 104. Zimbabwe
12. United Kingdom
18. Hong Kong
How the index is constructed
The Prosperity Index accounts for 90 percent of the world's population, using a combination of objective data and subjective responses to surveys. This data comprises 79 different variables, and each is then distilled into one of the nine different sub-indexes identified as a foundation of prosperity. A country's performance in each sub-index is given a score, and the overall Prosperity Index rankings are produced by averaging the equally-weighted scores of the 9 sub-indexes for each country. Those countries that perform well across each sub-index score highest in the overall rankings.
The foundations of prosperity that define successful nations include:
- Economic Fundamentals - a growing, sound economy that provides
opportunities for wealth creation
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation - an environment friendly to new
enterprises and the commercialisation of new ideas
- Education - an accessible, high-quality educational system that
fosters human development
- Democratic Institutions - transparent and accountable governing
institutions that promote economic growth
- Governance - an honest and effective government that preserves order
and encourages productive citizenship
- Health - the physical well-being of the populace
- Personal Freedom - the degree to which individuals can choose the
course of their lives
- Security - a safe environment in which people can pursue opportunity
- Social Capital - trustworthiness in relationships and strong
About the Legatum Institute
The Legatum Institute is an independent policy, advocacy and advisory organisation. The Institute's mission is to research and promote the principles that drive the creation of global prosperity and the expansion of human liberty and wellbeing.
For more information about the Legatum Institute, please visit http://www.li.com.
The Institute is part of the Legatum Group, a private global investment organization focused on investing in the international capital markets and the promotion of sustainable development.
For more information about the Legatum Group, please visit http://www.Legatum.com.
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