The 12 Wealthiest Countries You Never Saw Coming

When we talk about the richest countries in the world, the U.S., China, and Japan come first to mind. Undoubtedly, these countries have the biggest economies. However, when it comes to the richest countries based on GDP per capita, you will be surprised by the names that top the chart.

GDP measures how rich or poor a country’s general populace is. To calculate the GDP, you take the value of all goods and services produced in a country and divide it by the number of full-time residents.

We went through several reports online and collated the data.


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This small and beautiful European country is known for its castles, beautiful countryside, cultural festivals and gastronomic specialities among tourists. The nation has a population of more than 600,000 and has enough to offer its citizens. It spends most of its wealth to provide the general populace with high living standards, healthcare, and education.

The country has a GDP of $89.1 billion, and despite the global financial crisis, it manages its economy well.


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The country’s economy was badly impacted by the worst financial crisis in 2008. To tackle this, the government has made great efforts to reform its banking sector. It restructured its banking industry and cut public sector wages to grow its economy again. All these measures have helped the nation recover its economy. The country’s GDP is $589.57 billion.

Ireland is known as the largest corporate tax haven in the world. With a population of 5.03 million, almost 50 per cent of the wealth comes from the taxes of several multinational companies, including Apple, Microsoft, and Google.


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The country’s bustling economy has made it one of the richest countries in the world. Its population is 8.70 million, and most of its citizens have considerable wealth. The nation’s tourist sector contributes to its economic prosperity. Besides tourism, it also generates wealth from the export of precious metals, precision instruments, and machinery like computers and medical devices. The country’s GDP is $813 billion.

The pandemic, and later, the war between Ukraine and Russia, impacted its economy. The war surged energy prices and disrupted the supply chain.


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Norway is known for its oil reserves, which have significantly fueled its economy. The country stands as one of the top petroleum providers in the Western European territories, benefiting from rising oil prices for many years. With a population of 5.41 million, it ensures the economic well-being of its citizens. Further, the country has a massive $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund to handle emergencies quickly. It is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world.


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The country is home to many affluent people, including the founder of the medical equipment firm Mindray and the co-founder of Facebook, among others. Wealthy people are drawn to the country because capital gains and dividends are tax-free here. Besides, the country has smart, business-friendly policies, making it the world’s biggest hub for businesses and trading centres. The country’s GDP is $497.35 billion, and its population is 5.45 million.


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The country relies heavily on its tourism sector. In 2019, the tourism sector contributed around 33% to its GDP and remained the largest employment.

During the covid 19, the country’s economy suffered greatly. The tourism sector was entirely shut down, affecting the nation’s GDP. Fortunately, as things are back on track, Iceland’s economy is recovering from the pandemic’s impacts. Besides tourism, the country is the world’s largest electricity producer per capita. Fishing and aluminium exports are the major sectors running the country’s economy.


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Qatar’s oil and natural gas reserves are the main reasons for its flourishing economy. The country generates most of its wealth from the export of petroleum and natural gas. It is the second-largest exporter of natural gas in the world. The GDP of the nation is $235.5 billion.

United States

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One of the most powerful countries in the world, the U.S. ranks lower in the top 12 richest countries. There are several reasons behind the U.S.’s growing GDP. It is a hub of global trade, Silicon Valley’s tech innovations, and Wall Street’s financial prowess. The U.S. government continues to spend on social programs, which helps grow its economy and overall development.


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The country relies heavily on the service sector, which accounts for around 80 percent of its jobs and contributes significantly to its GDP. With a population of 5.86 million, the nation ranks 10th highest globally for its per capita income. Additionally, the country is one of the safest in the worlds and recognized for its manufacturing of pharmaceutical products, industrial machinery, and electrical machinery.

Macao SAR

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Macao is one of the most prominent tourist destinations. It is a special administrative region in China with more than 40 casinos. The gaming industry is the primary attraction for tourists and source of the nation’s wealth. With a GDP of $22 billion, the country consecutively ranks among the world’s wealthiest countries.

United Arab Emirates

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The nation is known for the largest building in the world and glitzy shopping malls, and it enjoys the status of one of the wealthiest countries. It has abundant natural resources, which significantly benefits its economy. The country’s GDP is $359 billion.

Out of the population of 9.99 million, only 20 per cent of the total population is local. The rest of the population comes from different parts of the world, lured by tax-free benefits.

San Marino

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The country is the fifth smallest continent in the world and the oldest republic in Europe. Despite its small population of only 33,900, it is the wealthiest nation in the world. The country has low-income tax rates, and its GDP is $1.86 billion.

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