It probably goes without saying that some countries are wealthier than others, but we said it anyway. And since we said it, we might as well rank them. In finding these numbers, we used Gross National Income (GNI) as our main metric. Put simply, a country’s GNI is the number you get when you combine a country’s Gross Domestic Product and its international income. It’s a more reliable way to evaluate how much money a country is taking in.
We should also note we used the World Bank’s 2017 GNI figures, the most complete and reliable determination we could find.
At the risk of playing into the hands of a stereotype, we like to think Canada’s economic success is due to the general friendliness of its people. Of course people want to deal with Canada because Canadians are easy to deal with. There’s also a possibility that Canada’s economy is going to take a turn for the worse in 2019, though the factors influencing that seem to be similar to what’s affecting the international middle class, so we don’t know how much of that is actually Canada’s fault. Still, they’re in the top ten and will probably stay there.
Brazil is a bit of a weird inclusion here in that the Brazilian economy isn’t exactly enviable. This past year, 2018, was the first year the country’s experienced any sort of growth since 2014, and even 2018’s growth was only one percent. That stagnation could be because the citizens overpay for goods and services, the amount of time it takes companies to prepare Brazilian taxes, seriously large interest payments and a whole host of other obstacles. But here it is at number nine anyway.
Italy’s another unenviable economy, despite its inclusion on this list. There’s a number of individual reasons as to why Italy’s economy has been slow to grow, with the country facing low worker productivity, an unfriendly business environment, a lack of innovation, high debt and a handful of other factors. But, like we said with Brazil, here it is anyway.
India’s economic growth may be slowing, but the country’s achievements can’t be downplayed. In less than a hundred years, it went from a huge British colony to one of the wealthiest nations in the world. That’s quite an accomplishment, and while it’s not the only former British colony on the list, it’s definitely climbing faster than the other one did. In projections looking ahead to 2050, India’s expected to be the world’s second largest economy, only behind China.
We don’t mean this as an insult to the French people, but France generally isn’t a country you think of as an economic powerhouse. Obviously they have been in the past, with Napoleon trampling all over Europe and the French army performing superhuman acts of defense in the First World War. But apparently modern France is no slouch, and is even predicted to overtake the U.K. in 2019. Whether or not they can hold onto that spot is up in the air, especially considering the unrest the country’s seen recently (and the reasons for it), but we wouldn’t count them out.
The United Kingdom’s been a sizable world power for an exceptionally long time, and wealth follows that kind of dominance. The nation’s modern economy was defined by low inflation and a healthy (if slightly insane) housing market, two indicators of sustained foundational health. They’ve been taking some hits with Brexit and it remains to be seen if they can truly pull out of the EU and maintain the kind of economic success they’ve become accustomed to, but all we can do there is wait and see.
Germany’s gotten credit for saving the EU on at least one occasion, so it makes sense that they’d be the wealthiest country in the union. And not by a small amount either. Their closest competition is the U.K., who’s nearly a trillion dollars behind them. Brexit is also minimizing the U.K.’s chances of closing that gap. If they can get their population crisis under control, Germany’s position as the wealthiest nation in the EU seems safe.
Japan’s made good use of external markets in recent years and experienced strong growth, with very light inflation and improved conditions for the Japanese labor force. Basically everything stayed good or got better for everyone involved. Things are likely to slow for them in the next few years as the country comes up against an aging and declining population which threatens their economy’s long term viability, but they’re coming up against the problem with a good foundation.
There’s a huge jump of seven trillion dollars between the second and third entry on this list (then an equally large one from the second to the first), which is an unfathomable amount of money. But unfathomable amounts of money are what it takes to succeed on the world stage, which modern China is definitely doing, and a rate that some are predicting it will be the wealthiest nation in the world by the early 2030s (though it may not hold the spot for long). That’s not so far-fetched either, considering it’s been the world’s largest economy for three years straight.
We all knew where this list was going to end and not out of an overwhelming feeling of blind nationalism. The United States is currently the world’s largest economy and has its hands in virtually every industry practiced by modern man. It has the resources of almost an entire continent, emerged as a superpower following an enormous conflict, and has experienced almost 80 years of improvements in living standards. You can debate the ethics and morality of how it was all achieved and sustained, but the fact is the United States is the wealthiest nation on Earth.