The small countries are the richest

The 50 richest countries in the world

Income and purchasing power

The generated capital is a key figure measured and published annually by the vast majority of countries. It is the gross domestic product, i.e. the sum of all income that was generated domestically. If you convert this income to the number of inhabitants, you get a hardly comparable value. Because income is not the same as income and certainly not measurable in another country if you cannot buy the same thing with the money.

An income can only be compared if one includes the price structure in the respective countries. Renting an apartment for 600 euros per month may be normal in Germany, in a poor developing country you can get half a palace for the same amount of money, and in a rich country like Singapore, at best, you can get a sparse little room. If one now adjusts the income for the purchasing power, one obtains an internationally comparable fictitious currency: the PPP dollar. PPP stands for purchasing power parity.

The calculations in this table are based on data for 2019.

Wealth in small countries

It is not surprising that so many small countries are in the top positions. The top 20 of the richest countries include 14 countries with fewer than 10 million inhabitants. Most of the small countries are not internationally positioned industrial nations, but make most of their money with financial products. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have huge oil reserves. In Europe, Luxembourg and Ireland are known for providing a safe and tax-efficient home to global players such as Amazon, Apple, Google and many others. Many of the countries ranked high here are also considered tax havens.

At the same time, in many small states, the supply of the population is considerably cheaper because traffic routes or cables are laid quickly. Providing a country like Luxembourg with high-speed internet across the board is a completely different undertaking than in Germany.

From this point of view, it is a great achievement that the USA (10th place) and Germany (17th place) in particular have made it so far into the top ranks.

1st place: Macau

However, Macau is an exception. There is no oil here and financial products are not a focus of the economy. The country consists of two small islands, which together are just as big as the island of Borkum. However, dozens of casinos are scattered here, which make a multiple of the turnover of Las Vegas. With gambling banned in China and Hong Kong, around 3 million tourists flock to the small country ... monthly.