The top economies in the world can be ranked by many different metrics. On an absolute dollar basis, the United States and China have been battling for some time for the top spot in the global economy, as China inches ever closer. However, since China has such a large population, its gross domestic product per capita dwindles in comparison to the United States and other countries. In fact, you won’t find China anywhere on this GDP-per-capita list of the top 50 economies in the world.
Using data from the International Monetary Fund and the Central Intelligence Agency, GOBankingRates ranked the 50 top economies in the world on the basis of GDP per capita. You might be surprised at some of the results — including which nation was named as the richest country.
Data is accurate as of August 5, 2019, and is subject to change.
50. Costa Rica
- GDP per capita: $11,810.18
Costa Rica’s GDP is propped up by a host of agricultural products, including bananas, pineapples, coffee and melons. Medical equipment is another important industry for the country.
- GDP per capita: $13,382.06
Croatia has roughly the same land area and population as Costa Rica, but its GDP per capita is about 13% higher. Arable crops are the bread and butter for Croatia, including wheat, corn, barley, sugar beet and sunflower. Machine tools and chemicals and plastics are also important industry contributors to GDP.
- GDP per capita: $13,867.61
Poland relies on potatoes, fruits, vegetables, wheat and dairy products for its agricultural contributions to GDP. Other important industries include iron and steel, coal mining and machine building.
- GDP per capita: $14,264.25
This beautiful country with a capital city split by the Danube River relies on mining, metallurgy and construction materials to fuel its GDP. Important agricultural products in the parliamentary republic include wheat, corn and sunflower seeds.
- GDP per capita: $14,588.01
Home to the tango, steak, great wines and countless other cultural and architectural goodies, Argentina has one of the top 50 GDPs in the world. The population of over 44 million — which grew by an estimated 0.89% in 2018 — helps produce everything from motor vehicles, consumer durables and petrochemicals to sunflower seeds, lemons and soybeans.
- GDP per capita: $15,127.76
This long, narrow strip of land in South America is home to about 18 million people working in industries ranging from copper and lithium to fish processing, iron and steel, cement and textiles. Important agricultural crops include grapes, apples, pears and onions.
- GDP per capita: $15,198.09
Most Americans probably think of the Panama Canal when they hear the word “Panama,” but the country’s diversified industries include construction, brewing, cement and sugar milling. The population of 3.8 million grew by an estimated 1.24% in 2018 — one of the highest growth rates among all the countries in this study.
- GDP per capita: $15,652.61
Latvia is a small country with a population of less than 2 million, which shrank by an estimated 1.1% in 2018. However, its economy is still No. 43 in the world, thanks to the production of processed foods, textiles, processed metals, pharmaceuticals, railroad cars, synthetic fibers and electronics, among other things.
42. Trinidad and Tobago
- GDP per capita: $16,107.41
The tiny Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago has a landmass of only 1,979 square miles, but the parliamentary republic has a larger-than-expected economy. Key industries include petroleum and gas, along with methanol, ammonia, steel products, cement and cotton textiles.
- GDP per capita: $16,863.65
Lithuania, formerly part of the Soviet Union, now stands strong with its own growing economy as a semi-presidential republic. The country keeps chugging along thanks to a diversified economy known for metal-cutting machine tools, electric motors, televisions, refrigerators and petroleum refining, among numerous other industries.
- GDP per capita: $17,128.37
Oman is one of three absolute monarchies on this list, and it’s also the fastest-growing country in the study, with an estimated population growth of 2% in 2018. Crude oil and natural gas production dominate Oman’s economy. Important agricultural products include dates, limes and bananas.
- GDP per capita: $17,462.96
If you’re a fan of island life, Barbados is a great place to vacation. Even with a landmass of just 166 square miles, it’s also home to one of the world’s top 40 GDPs per capita. Tourism is obviously a key contributor to the economy, but the country also relies on sugar production, light manufacturing and component assembly for export. Sugar cane, vegetables and cotton are important agricultural products in Barbados.
- GDP per capita: $17,627.11
The Slovak Republic produces grains, potatoes, sugar beets and hops, among other important agricultural contributors. On the industrial side, the economy benefits from the production of automobiles, metal, electricity, gas, coke, oil and nuclear fuel.
- GDP per capita: $18,897.64
Greece is known for its world-class tourism sites, from the ruins of the Acropolis to the rugged caldera of Santorini. This country of 10 million-plus residents produces agricultural products like wine, olives and dairy products, and is also known for textiles, chemicals, metal products, mining and petroleum.
- GDP per capita: $20,240.91
The first country on the list with a GDP per capita exceeding $20,000, Estonia is another former Soviet bloc country that now stands as a parliamentary republic. Important industries in Estonia include food, engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textiles, information technology and communications. Agricultural components of the economy include grain, potatoes, vegetables, fish, livestock and dairy products.
35. Czech Republic
- GDP per capita: $20,409.98
The economic engines of the Czech Republic include metallurgy, machinery and equipment, glass, armaments and motor vehicles. Prime agricultural products include wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, hops and fruit, along with pigs and poultry.
34. Saudi Arabia
- GDP per capita: $21,153.21
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with a 33 million-strong population that grew by an estimated 1.63% in 2018. In addition to its well-known petroleum refining and crude oil production industries, the Saudi economy also relies on ammonia, industrial gases, sodium hydroxide, cement, fertilizer, plastics, metals and other industries to fuel its growth.
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- GDP per capita: $21,334.13
Portugal has a broad-based economy that’s large enough to give it the No. 33 GDP per capita in the world. Portugal produces everything from textiles, clothing and footwear to automobiles and auto parts, base metals, porcelain and ceramics, glassware, technology, telecommunications, dairy products, wine, ships and plastics. Tourism is also an important contributor to the economy in Portugal.
- GDP per capita: $23,502.25
Slovenia relies on industries like ferrous metallurgy and aluminum products, lead and zinc smelting, and electronics to help power its economy. Hops, wheat, coffee, corn and apples, in addition to sheep, poultry and cattle, round out the agricultural side of the country’s economy.
- GDP per capita: $24,389.68
Taiwan is a semi-presidential republic that produces rice, vegetables, fruit, tea, flowers, pigs, poultry and fish. On the industrial side, the country is known for its electronics, communications and information technology products. However, Taiwan also refines petroleum and produces chemicals, textiles, machinery, cement and pharmaceuticals, on top of numerous other industries.
- GDP per capita: $25,954.83
At 3,572 square miles, Cyprus is the eighth-smallest country on this list based on landmass. The country’s 1.21 million head count grew by an estimated 1.27% in 2018. Tourism is a key contributor to Cyprus’ economy, along with food and beverage processing, cement and gypsum, textiles, and ship repair and refurbishment. Citrus and vegetables are two of the main agricultural contributors.
- GDP per capita: $27,707.38
The tiny nation of Malta is an archipelago in the Mediterranean that covers just 122 square miles. The parliamentary republic produces potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley and tomatoes, in addition to pork, eggs, milk and poultry. Tourism helps keep the economy afloat, along with electronics, shipbuilding and repair, construction and pharmaceuticals, among other varied industries.
- GDP per capita: $28,377.76
Spain has a population of nearly 50 million residents that grew by an estimated 0.73% in 2018. In addition to tourism, which is a huge contributor to the country’s economy, Spain’s main industries include textiles and apparel, food and beverages, metals and metal manufacturing, chemicals and shipbuilding. The country is also noted for its olives and wine grapes.
27. South Korea
- GDP per capita: $29,749.80
South Korea packs over 51 million residents into just 38,502 square miles, and yet the population still grew by an estimated 0.44% in 2018. The South Korean economy is powered by electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding and steel. Agricultural components include rice, root crops, barley and vegetables.
26. Puerto Rico
- GDP per capita: $31,581.39
Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth in a political association with the United States. As such, the country has its own economy and GDP-per-capita figures, and it’s large enough to rank No. 26 on the list of the biggest economies in the world. Sugar cane, coffee, pineapples and plantains are prime agricultural contributors to the Puerto Rican economy. On the industrial front, pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel and food products are all major industries, in addition to the island’s tourism industry.
- GDP per capita: $32,132.47
Italy is well known for its agricultural production of olives and grapes, and its tourism industry might be described by some as second to none. However, this country with a most distinctive shape also relies on machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear and ceramics to help fuel its economy.
- GDP per capita: $32,660.57
The Bahamas are a string of more than 700 islets and islands, so tourism is a huge part of the nation’s economy. The country also gets contributions from numerous other industries, including banking, oil bunkering, maritime industries, transshipment and logistics, salt, aragonite and pharmaceuticals. Citrus, vegetables, poultry and seafood are key agricultural products in the Bahamas.
- GDP per capita: $38,344.02
Japan has the second-largest population on this list of the top 50 economies, but its population is estimated to have shrunk by 0.24% in 2018. Japanese workers are among the world’s largest and most technologically advanced producers of electronic equipment, motor vehicles, ships and machine tools. Vegetables, rice, fish and poultry are the main agricultural contributors to the country’s GDP.
22. United Kingdom
- GDP per capita: $39,975.38
The United Kingdom has a very diverse industrial economy. The main contributors to the country’s GDP include machine tools, electronic power equipment, automation equipment, railroad equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, electronics and communications equipment, metals and chemicals.
- GDP per capita: $40,045.58
Just across the English Channel from the United Kingdom, France stands as the first country on the list with a GDP per capita of at least $40,000. In addition to wine and tourism industries, machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics, textiles and food processing are all big parts of the French economy.
- GDP per capita: $40,560.26
Israel only became an independent country in 1948, but now it ranks as the world’s 20th-largest economy in terms of GDP per capita despite the country’s relatively small size. Israel has a renowned high-tech industry, and it also produces wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, tobacco, cut diamonds and many other diversified products.
19. New Zealand
- GDP per capita: $41,350.26
Sheep, beef and wine are important agricultural contributors to this island nation’s GDP, which also relies on forestry, fishing, manufacturing and mining. Of course, one of the biggest contributors to the New Zealand economy is tourism. The nation has been lauded repeatedly as one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
- GDP per capita: $43,672.41
Belgium has an interesting form of government, as it’s a federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy — the only such form of government among the top 50 global economies. The country has a diverse economy, producing engineering and metal products, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, base metals, textiles, glass and petroleum.
- GDP per capita: $44,770.58
The German economy is known for producing some of the best automobiles in the world, but it’s also among the world’s largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, food and beverages, ships and textiles.
- GDP per capita: $45,223.97
Canada has the largest landmass of any country on the list, just edging out the United States in size. However, its population remains relatively small for such a big country. Wheat, barley, oilseed and tobacco are all important agricultural products in Canada. Other key GDP contributors include transportation equipment, chemicals and minerals.
15. San Marino
- GDP per capita: $45,882.36
San Marino is the smallest country on the list, with just under 24 square miles of land area. It also has the smallest population on the list, at 33,779 residents as of July 2018. However, that tiny patch of land produces the 15th-largest GDP per capita in the world. In addition to producing wheat, grapes, corn, olives, beef, pigs and cheese, San Marino relies on banking, textiles, electronics, ceramics, cement and wine to prop up its economy. The country also benefits from tourism.
- GDP per capita: $45,937.75
Finland is one of six Nordic countries, and five of them (sorry, Greenland) rank in the top 14 countries when it comes to GDP per capita. Finland’s economy relies on metals and metal products, electronics, machinery and scientific instruments, shipbuilding, pulp and paper, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles and clothing. Agricultural products in Finland include dairy cattle, fish, barley, wheat and sugar beets.
- GDP per capita: $47,383.87
Austria is a gorgeous country, and tourism helps boost the country’s GDP. Construction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food, metals, chemicals, lumber and paper, and electronics also kick in their share. The federal parliamentary republic produces grains, potatoes, wine, fruit, dairy products, pigs, cattle and poultry.
- GDP per capita: $48,555.35
The Netherlands relies on agroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics and fishing to power its economy. Vegetables, ornamentals, dairy, poultry and livestock products are the main agricultural contributors to the country’s economy.
- GDP per capita: $52,924.37
Sweden is another Nordic country with a GDP per capita among the highest in the world. It’s the first nation on the list with a GDP per capita of more than $50,000. The biggest contributors include iron and steel, precision equipment, wood pulp and paper products, processed food and motor vehicles. Barley, wheat, sugar beets, meat and milk round out the agricultural side of the economic equation for Sweden.
- GDP per capita: $55,957.72
Australian beef is widely known as one of the country’s signature products, but the nation also relies heavily on the mining industry to produce a high GDP per capita that makes it one of the top 10 richest countries. Other contributing industries include industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals and steel. Top agricultural products in Australia include wheat, barley, sugarcane and fruits.
- GDP per capita: $57,380.20
Denmark has an advanced economy that benefits from many diverse industries. Wind turbines, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, shipbuilding and refurbishment, iron, steel and nonferrous metals are key contributing industries, but the country also produces chemicals, machinery and transportation equipment, textiles and clothing, electronics, furniture and other products.
8. United States
- GDP per capita: $59,895
The United States fits the largest population on the list into the second-largest landmass. It has a highly diversified economy with the second-largest industrial output in the world. The main industries in the U.S. encompass everything from petroleum, motor vehicles and steel to aerospace and telecommunications. Numerous agricultural products, including wheat, corn, fruits, vegetables, dairy and forest products, also serve to boost the country’s GDP.
- GDP per capita: $59,990.06
Tiny Singapore has a diversified economy that benefits from its location at the center of a major shipping route. At just 278 square miles, the country is one of the smallest in the study, but it’s known for a wide variety of things, from electronics, chemicals, financial services, oil drilling equipment and petroleum refining to biomedical products, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages and telecommunication equipment. Befitting its location, Singapore also performs ship repair, offshore platform construction and entrepot trade.
- GDP per capita: $62,826.06
Perhaps surprisingly, the absolute monarchy of Qatar comes in at No. 6 on the list of the top 50 GDPs in the world. While well known as a producer of oil and natural gas, Qatar also gets major contributions to its GDP from the cement, commercial ship repair, ammonia and fertilizer industries.
- GDP per capita: $68,722.58
Ireland is known for its beef, potatoes and dairy products — and its beer — but a well-diversified collection of industries lifts the tiny nation’s GDP into the top five in the world. Pharmaceuticals, chemicals, medical devices and computer hardware and software are all big contributors to Ireland’s economy.
- GDP per capita: $72,389.87
Iceland has seen a tourism boom since 2010, with the growth in annual visitor numbers registering in the double digits every year since. However, more traditional industries, such as fish processing, aluminum smelting, geothermal and hydropower, all pitch in to make Iceland one of the top five economies in the world.
- GDP per capita: $75,513.64
Norway is one of the wealthiest countries on Earth, which was proven when it surpassed the $1 trillion mark in its sovereign wealth fund in 2017. Norway gets its economic output from the shipping, fishing, aquaculture, food processing and shipbuilding industries, in addition to petroleum and gas.
- GDP per capita: $80,642.58
When you think of Switzerland, you might think of banks and watches. This is more than a stereotype, as both of these industries help propel the Swiss economy into the top two globally. Switzerland also produces grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs and dairy products — not to mention chocolate.
- GDP per capita: $105,712.98
Luxembourg has by far the largest GDP per capita in the world, with its GDP ranking a staggering 31% above second-place Switzerland. With a landmass of only 998 square miles, there’s plenty of money floating around, which no doubt helped contribute to the nation’s estimated 1.90% population growth in 2018. Banking and financial services play a huge role in Luxembourg’s economy, but to claim the No. 1 spot as the richest country in the world, the constitutional monarchy’s economy is necessarily diversified. Construction, real estate services, metals and information technology all play an important role in the country’s economy.
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Methodology: GOBankingRates analyzed the gross domestic product per capita of countries around the world using the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, April 2019. To rank on the list, a country was required to have 2017 data available in a non-estimated figure. Using this criterion, GOBankingRates analyzed 98 countries and took the 50 with the highest GDP per capita. For these 50 countries, GOBankingRates used the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook and found the supplemental data of (1) area (square kilometers converted to square miles), (2) population (July 2018 estimate), (3) population growth percentage (2018 estimate), (4) government type, (5) agricultural products produced and (6) major industries of each country. All dollar figures are in U.S. dollars, and research was conducted on July 16, 2019.
Data is accurate as of August 5, 2019, and is subject to change.
About the Author
After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.