It’s a complicated question to be sure. For our purposes today, we’re going to use “richest” to mean wealth. But that raises even more questions. How exactly should one measure wealth? By a country’s GDP? Their income per capita? A country’s total gold stores? There are many different ways to evaluate wealth, and unfortunately, many different answers. Today we’ll take a look at a few of them.
If you go by how much gold a country has in its reserve, the answer is easy. America leads the pack with over 8000 tonnes of gold. Germany is second with 3400 tonnes. Though, this is hardly a measure of a countries wealth. In 1971, President Nixon made the decision to take the dollar’s value off gold and put it on an agreed value between countries and our country’s citizens. The dollar is now backed by the value and strength of the US’s GDP and economy.
Gross Domestic Product
This brings us to GDP. GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product. It is the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year, divided by the average population for that same year. It’s a dollar amount based on the economy of a country. The United States is also ahead of the pack here, by a fair margin. They did $14.2 trillion dollars in 2009. China and Japan are slugging it out for second place at a distant $5 trillion dollars for 2009.
Next up is where America starts stumbling a little.
GDP Per Capita
If we measure by income per capita, that is, the average of income of all the citizens of a country, Norway takes the gold. At an average of $43,400 per year, Norway has the most income per capita. Switzerland is number two with $40,680 and the US is in 3rd place with $37,870.
What about the country with the densest population of millionaires? Or percentage of millionaire households against its population? Singapore takes the cake with 11.4%. Switzerland is 2nd with 8.4% and Kuwait is third with 8.2%. The US is in 7th place, with 4.2%
And finally, which country has the most millionaires total? The US is back on top with 4,715,000 millionaires. Japan comes in second place with 1,500,000 while China is in 3rd place with 1.2 million.
So there you have it. What defines wealth? A country’s GDP? A wealthy population? A combination? It’s a complex question so we leave it for you to decide.