10. Switzerland – $39,800 (GDP per capita)
This cheese making country is considered to be one of the most neutral countries in the world. During World War 2, people from other European countries deposited their money in the banks of Switzerland, knowing that their money would be safer there than in their home countries. Some well known Swiss companies include Nestle, Logitech, Rolex and Credit Suisse.
9. Equatorial Guinea – $44,100
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is a country in Central Africa. Most people have never heard of it. This country flew into stardom after 1996 when large oil reserves were found in the nation of only 0,5 million people. While being one of the largest producers of oil in Africa, little has been made to improve the living conditions of the people. Corruption is widespread and ordinary people are mostly living in poverty. The gap between rich and poor is probably the largest in the world.
8. Ireland - $45,600
This member of European Union has been often admired as one of the most modern knowledge economies in the world. Ireland is the largest maker of computer software in the world. A study done by The Economist ranked the Celtic Tiger to have the best quality of life in the world.
7. United States – $46,000
What sets the US apart from most other countries in this list is its size. While most other countries in this list are among the smallest in the world the US has a population of over 300 million and a total land area of 3,79 million square miles (9.83 million sq km). The US is also home to the largest amount of billionaires in the world. It is speculated that as many billionaires live in the US as in the rest of the world.
6. Singapore – $48,900
This country tiny country consist of 63 island and some mainland with a total area of only 270 square miles (704 sq km). With Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan it is considered one of the Four Asian Tigers. Singapore has the busiest port in the world and is the 4th largest foreign exchange trading center in the world. Singapore is widely believed to be the most business-friendly economy in the world
5. United Arab Emirates – $55,200
This oil and natural gas rich country has a highly developed economy which makes it one of the most developed in the world. Having more money than they know what to do with, they have built numerous artificial islands and just finished building the worlds highest structure – Burj Khalifa. It is 828 meters tall, being about 2 times as high as the Empire State Building in New York. It is estimated that about 1/4th of the total construction going on in the world is taking place in Dubai – one of the largest cities in United Arab Emirates.
4. Kuwait – $55,300
In Arabic Kuwait translates to “Fortress built near water”. In addition to being on the coast of the Persian Gulf this country has well known neighbors like Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Kuwait has the worlds fifth largest proven oil reserves – about 10% of the worlds total. Being a country without taxes, about 80% of the governments revenue comes from exporting oil. Having the the second-most free economy in the Middle East, Kuwait has one of the fastest growing economies in the region. (Thanks to Alsab3a from Stumbleupon for a little tip!)
3. Norway – $55,600
Norway is one of the few highly developed countries in Europe tthat are not part of the European Union. This oil and natural gas rich country has living costs more than 30% higher than in the United States. In 2006 only Russia and Saudi Arabia exported more oil than Norway.
2. Qatar – $75,900
This Arabic speaking country has less than million people and gained independence from Great Britain only in 1971. Qatar used to be a poor Islamic country but since the discovery of oil and natural gas in the 1940s, it is completely transformed. With no income tax it is one of the least taxed countries in the world, while still offering most of its services to the population for free. (Who needs tax when you have all this oil and gas money coming in).
In 2009 Qatar is also expected to be the fastest growing economy in the world!