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U.S. No Longer Top 10 in Prosperity?

Mark Marich

A recent global index shows the U.S. on the outside looking in of the world’s most prosperous countries. The 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index shows the trio of Scandinavian countries—Norway, Denmark and Sweden—at the top of the list while the U.S. has fallen out of the top 10 for the first time.

The index evaluates global wealth and well-being, benchmarking 142 countries around the world in eight distinct categories: Economy; Education; Entrepreneurship & Opportunity; Governance; Health; Personal Freedom; Safety & Security; and Social Capital.

“GDP alone can never offer a complete view of prosperity,” said Jeffrey Gedmin, president and CEO of the London-based Legatum Institute. “We believe that by measuring the quality of education, healthcare, social capital and opportunity, our Prosperity Index gives the clearest view of how countries are prospering today and how they are likely to prosper in the future.”

The top 10 countries in the index were: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Finland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland.

The higher performing countries on the index were heavily skewed toward the European continent—with 68% of the top 25 countries. The top performers for other continents: Asia -- Hong Kong (#18), Singapore (#19) Taiwan (#20); South America --- Uruguay (#31), Chile (#34); Africa – Botswana (#70), Morocco (#73), South Africa (#74).

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