The Richest Countries in the World: Top 10 Wealthiest Countries of 2024

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Which countries in the world are the wealthiest, and why? What standard of living do they offer to their citizens and foreign residents? What immigration opportunities do they open up for those who want to relocate to them permanently or obtain their passport? In this article, we will attempt to answer these questions and compile a ranking of the richest countries in the world for the year 2024.

How the Ranking of the Richest Countries in the World is Compiled

To determine which countries in the world are the wealthiest, several criteria and indicators are considered, taking into account various aspects of economic and social development. One of the most common and authoritative indicators is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, which measures the sum of all goods and services produced in a country over a specific period, divided by its population. This indicator reflects not only the volume of economic activity but also the standard of living of the population.

However, GDP per capita does not account for differences in the purchasing power of currency in different countries, as well as varying levels of inflation and taxation. Therefore, for a more accurate comparison, the indicator of GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP) is used, equalizing the cost of living differences and considering currency exchange rates. This indicator allows for an assessment of how many goods and services can be purchased in one country for one unit of currency from another country.

In our ranking of the richest countries in the world, we will rely on data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the year 2023, which were published in October 2023 in the World Economic Outlook report. We will also consider other indicators, such as the Human Development Index (HDI), measuring the level of education, health, and income of the population, the Economic Freedom Index, evaluating the degree of entrepreneurship, trade, investment, and property rights in the country, as well as the Happiness Index, measuring the level of life satisfaction and well-being of the population.

TOP Wealthy Countries by Standard of Living

Based on the IMF data for the year 2023, we have compiled the top 10 wealthiest countries in the world according to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP). The table below presents the values of this indicator in US dollars, as well as their rankings in the Human Development Index (HDI), the Economic Freedom Index, and the Happiness Index.

CountryGDP per capita in PPP terms, US$. USDPlace in HDI rankingPlace in the ranking by economic freedom indexPlace in the ranking by happiness index
Ireland127 5572616
Luxembourg125 92391717
Singapore105 68911132
Qatar96 491412928
Macau95 15125
UAE86 829311821
Switzerland74 339153
Norway72 9893235
U.S.A.68 309172019
Brunei Darussalam67 3854363

 

As seen from the table, the wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita at PPP is Ireland, which also ranks second globally in the Human Development Index (HDI), sixth in the Economic Freedom Index, and sixteenth in the Happiness Index. In the second position is Luxembourg, which is also in the top 10 for HDI and the Happiness Index. In third place is Singapore, leading in the Economic Freedom Index and ranking eleventh in HDI. The top 10 also includes Qatar, Macao, UAE, Switzerland, Norway, and the United States.
In the following sections, we will delve into each of these countries in more detail, highlighting their positive aspects, as well as discussing opportunities for obtaining residence permits or permanent residency for those considering relocation.

 

 

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland is an island nation in the North Atlantic, a member of the European Union and the Eurozone. It boasts a developed market economy based on high technology, financial services, tourism, and agriculture.

Ireland has a rich heritage in literature, music, arts, and sports. Known for its scenic landscapes, green hills, rocky shores, castles, and Celtic symbols, Ireland is also recognized as one of the friendliest and most open countries globally, where making new friends is easy, and one can enjoy traditional Irish cuisine and beverages.

Popular motivations for relocation to Ireland include employment opportunities and investment. The country attracts immigrants with a high standard of living, quality healthcare, and generous pension benefits. Ireland’s prosperity is supported by the development of agriculture, food, and textile industries, as well as the production of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.

Foreigners can obtain citizenship in Ireland through two methods: the naturalization program, which requires legal residence in the country for a minimum of 5 years, or by marrying an Irish citizen, with official registration of the relationship possible after 3 years.

 

 

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a principality in Western Europe, a member of the European Union and the Eurozone. Luxembourg has a highly developed economy based on financial services, industry, trade, and transportation. It is one of the leading financial centers globally and one of the largest steel producers in Europe. Luxembourg also holds prominent positions in information technology, the aerospace industry, and biotechnology.

Known for its multilingualism, multiculturalism, and high level of democracy, Luxembourg has three official languages: Luxembourgish, French, and German. The country is home to representatives of over 170 nationalities, with approximately 47% being foreigners. Luxembourg is also one of the safest and most peaceful countries globally, as well as one of the most environmentally clean.

To obtain temporary resident status in the country, a foreign citizen can use the investment option, with a minimum investment amount of 500,000 EUR. The application for citizenship and the return of investments are allowed no earlier than 5 years. Additionally, relocation can be based on reasons such as employment, university education, or family reunification.

Luxembourg’s economy has demonstrated stability for many years; in 2023, the GDP remained virtually unchanged, the country’s credit rating remains AAA (maximum creditworthiness), and it holds the 7th position among EU financial centers. The authorities of this wealthiest country in the world actively develop the banking sector, provide favorable conditions for entrepreneurs, and support startups.

 

 

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore is a city-state in Southeast Asia, considered one of the most developed and prosperous countries in the world. It has a robust and diversified economy based on trade, industry, finance, tourism, and services. Singapore is the largest transportation and logistics hub in the region and a leading center for innovation, education, and science. The country is also known for its high levels of economic freedom, rule of law, competitiveness, and transparency.

Singapore is ethnically and religiously diverse, with representatives from Chinese, Malay, Indian, and other ethnicities coexisting harmoniously. The city-state blends modern skyscrapers, colonial buildings, traditional neighborhoods, and green parks. Singapore’s success lies in providing favorable conditions for entrepreneurship and investment, consistently ranking high in economic freedom, competitiveness, and per capita income.

The most straightforward way to obtain permanent residency in Singapore is through investment, and foreigners also have the opportunity to invest in an existing business. However, a key requirement is that the average annual turnover of the company over the last three years must be at least 50 million Singapore dollars (36.5 million US dollars).

 

 

Qatar

Qatar

Qatar is a monarchy in Western Asia, situated on the peninsula jutting into the Persian Gulf. It is one of the largest producers and exporters of natural gas globally and possesses substantial oil reserves. Qatar has a modern and dynamic economy that aims for diversification and the development of non-oil sectors, such as tourism, sports, education, healthcare, and the arts.

As an Islamic state, Qatar adheres to the traditions and values of Islam, yet it also maintains tolerance and respect for other religions and cultures. Combining ancient and modern elements, reflected in its historical landmarks, Qatar is one of the safest and most stable countries in the region, providing a high level of social protection and well-being.

A significant portion of Qatar’s revenue comes from the export of oil and liquefied natural gas, but the authorities actively promote the development of non-oil sectors such as logistics and IT technologies.

The primary method of acquiring local citizenship is through the naturalization process. Immigrants are required to reside in the country for a minimum of 25 years, based on activities such as business or employment, provide a stable income, and master the Arabic language for their citizenship application to be approved.

 

 

Macao

Macao

Macao is a Special Administrative Region of China located on the coast of the South China Sea. It is one of the wealthiest and most densely populated regions globally, renowned for its gaming industry, tourism, trade, and culture. Macao has a unique history tied to Portuguese influence, leaving its mark on architecture, language, cuisine, and customs. It serves as a meeting point for Eastern and Western civilizations, accommodating different religions, nationalities, and lifestyles.

Macao attracts tourists with its landmarks, including “The Venetian” hotel, the Grand Prix Museum, the Wine Museum, the old quarter, observation decks, and the ruins of St. Paul’s. This destination has gained popularity among Europeans and Americans, with approximately 23 million visitors to Macao annually.

The main components of Macao’s budget are the gaming business and tourism. As of early 2023, the GDP of the region reached $54.55 billion, the cost of living is estimated at $588, and the average salary is $2184. Macao maintains its position as one of the economically successful and thriving states globally.

According to the investment program, applicants for residency are divided into categories: foreign investors, real estate and other asset investors, technical immigrants, and prospective specialists.

The existing program allows not only the potential investor but also their family members up to the third degree to obtain residency. After approval under the program, you will receive a temporary resident card valid for 18 months to three years, extendable as needed. Macao citizenship can be obtained after 7 years of continuous legal residence, provided the necessary documents are submitted, initiating the naturalization process.

 

 

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE is a federation of seven emirates in Western Asia, located on the coast of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The UAE is one of the most developed and affluent countries globally, possessing vast reserves of oil and gas while also striving to diversify and modernize its economy. The UAE attracts foreign investors, entrepreneurs, tourists, and professionals with its favorable business conditions, high levels of safety, stability, infrastructure, and quality of life.

The UAE is known for its culture, architecture, religion, and society. Blending ancient and modern elements, reflected in historical landmarks such as the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the Al Fahidi Fort, as well as futuristic structures like the Burj Khalifa skyscraper and the Palm Jumeirah and The World islands. The UAE also offers diverse opportunities for entertainment, shopping, sports, and nightlife.

There are several ways to obtain citizenship in the UAE: naturalization, marriage to a UAE citizen, and special merits to the state.

Passports of merit are personally awarded by the rulers of the emirates. Investors cannot acquire citizenship through their investments; they are eligible for long-term visas for living and working in the country. The issuance period for these visas is 5 or 10 years.

 

 

Switzerland

Switzerland

Switzerland is a federal state in Central Europe, consisting of 26 cantons. It is one of the most developed and stable countries globally, with a strong and diverse economy based on industry, the banking sector, tourism, and agriculture.

Despite being a small country, the Swiss Confederation primarily focuses on various industries, including the extraction, refining, and processing of gold, as well as the development of machinery, textile manufacturing, high technology, and pharmaceuticals.

Switzerland has a rich heritage in literature, music, art, and sports. Known for its picturesque landscapes, mountain peaks, lakes, meadows, and cheese, Switzerland is also one of the happiest and healthiest countries globally, with a high level of social protection, environmental responsibility, and humanism.

A significant portion of the state’s income comes from the service sector, including a well-developed tourism, hotel, and restaurant industry. Key advantages of living in Switzerland include a good environment, a high level of safety, and political stability.

Foreigners can obtain residence permits based on employment or business investments. The naturalization process takes approximately 10-12 years.

 

 

Norway

Norway

Norway is a kingdom in Northern Europe, a member of the European Economic Area, and the Schengen Zone. It has a developed social market economy based on the oil and gas sector, fishing, shipbuilding, metallurgy, and renewable energy. Norway is also one of the largest contributors to international aid and participates in international peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. The country is characterized by a high level of democracy, human rights, equality, and well-being.

Norway is also one of the most environmentally clean and healthy countries globally, with a high level of environmental responsibility and physical activity. It is among the happiest and most life-satisfied nations in the world, boasting a high level of social protection, education, and culture.

To apply for citizenship, foreigners first obtain a residence permit (based on work, business, family reunification) and then reside in the country for seven years. However, citizens of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland are exempt, and they can acquire Norwegian citizenship in just two years.

 

 

United States (USA)

United States (USA)

The USA is a federal republic in North America, consisting of 50 states and the District of Columbia. It is one of the most powerful and influential countries globally, boasting the largest and most diverse economy based on technology, innovation, services, industry, and agriculture. The United States is characterized by a high level of democracy, freedom, diversity, and entrepreneurship.

The country’s annual GDP is $20.0 trillion, with export and import volumes reaching $1.5 trillion and $2.21 trillion, respectively.

Moving to the USA for permanent residency can be achieved through various methods, such as starting a business, obtaining a student visa, or securing a work visa.

 

 

Brunei Darussalam

Brunei Darussalam

Brunei Darussalam is a sultanate in Southeast Asia located on the island of Borneo. It is one of the wealthiest and most stable countries globally, with a strong and diversified economy based on the oil and gas sector, finance, tourism, and agriculture. Brunei Darussalam is characterized by a high level of monarchy, Islam, traditions, and culture.

Brunei is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and participates in the World Trade Organization. The main economic foundation of Brunei relies on the extraction and export of oil and liquefied natural gas.

The only way to move to Brunei is by obtaining a job invitation and the corresponding work visa. Foreigners can acquire Bruneian citizenship by investing in the Sultanate’s economy or placing a deposit in a local bank amounting to $300,000. To obtain citizenship, candidates are required to pass an exam on language and cultural knowledge.

 

Article author

Tetyana Lementarova Managing Partner
Ukraine
In 2004 Tetyana Lementarova graduated from the University of Nottingham Trent, London (UK) qualification of Bachelor of International Business (BA Hons) and in 2006 received an MBA from the European School of Economics Rome (Italy), Marketing Management specialisation. Has work experience in UK, Ita...
In 2004 Tetyana Lementarova graduated from the University of Nottingham Trent, London (UK) qualification of Bachelor of International Business (BA Hons) and in 2006 received an MBA from the European School of Economics Rome (Italy), Marketing Management specialisation. Has work experience in UK, Italian and Cypriot companies. 2005-2009 co-founder of an Italian company tour operator New Lands (Rome, Italy). Since 2001, Mrs. Lementarova works as representative of Feod Group abroad. Participates on behalf of the company in international seminars, trainings and conferences on education, immigration and property acquisition abroad. Tetyana Lementarova is an expert in the field of:
  • planning an academic career abroad;
  • organisation of new business abroad and purchase of ready business;
  • obtaining immigration status;
  • selection of investment projects.
Speaks Russian, Ukrainian, English, Italian, French.
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