The Rich List: Countries That Are Rolling in Millions to Trillions of Dollars

By Jake Schroeder
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Wealth is constantly being created around the world. When some nations experience economic contractions, others see economic growth at exponential rates. The richest countries offer their citizens a high standard of living. Premium healthcare, education and environments are also normally accessible to the residents of wealthy nations.

Besides the United States, quite a few other countries have booming economies with a lot to offer citizens. These nations tend to engage heavily in trade and usually have lands filled with natural resources.

Austria

This German-speaking country is known for its architecture and mountainous terrain. Beautiful Austria attracts a significant number of tourists every year, which accounts for roughly 9% of its gross domestic product (GDP). Vienna, the country's capital, attracts the most visitors, and that number is steadily rising.

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With a population of only 8.8 million, the nation relies on the export of its products rather than domestic market consumption. Construction machinery, transportation vehicles and metals contribute to making the country one of the top exporters in Europe. Research and development also make up a large part of Austria's GDP.

France

France is said to be the most visited country in the world, but there’s much more to its GDP than tourism. Annual exports total more than $500 billion, making the country one of the wealthiest in the world. Its industries include auto parts, wine, aerospace, electronics, machines and textiles.

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In recent years, France's economic growth has slowed, causing unemployment rates to rise. Nevertheless, the standard of living remains high with a GDP per capita of more than $43,000. The nation also boasts a high life expectancy of 82.5 years, which is 10 years longer than the worldwide average.

Finland

Finland is one of the Nordic nations bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia. In 2017, this beautiful country attracted more than 7 million tourists to view the Northern Lights and picturesque snow-covered buildings. This industry, however, only makes up a small percentage of the nation's GDP.

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The country is part of the European Union and trades easily with the rest of Europe. The service sector makes up a staggering 72% of Finland’s economy, while manufacturing and refining make up the remainder. The nation also has a very low poverty rate, so the wealth is distributed more evenly among its residents.

Australia

Australia has a highly developed economy and was the country with the largest median wealth per adult in 2018. With an ever-growing GDP of $1.6 trillion, the country is one of the richest in the world. Sydney is the nation's capital and also the country’s financial hub.

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The service industry makes up more than 60% of the nation's economy. The financial, tourism and education industries employ the majority of Australia's labor force. The country is also incredibly rich in natural resources, making mineral extraction another lucrative industry. Australia hasn't experienced a recession since 1991 and continues to grow.

Canada

The North American country of Canada is one of the largest wealthy nations. The population, however, isn't high considering its size. Nevertheless, the country’s economy is one of the most productive in the world. The GDP is more than $1.71 trillion, with the majority coming from the service industry.

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Canada also has large petroleum and gas reserves and is a large exporter of natural resources. The neighboring United States is its largest trading partner, taking more than 70% of all its exports. Canada's citizens also experience a more even distribution of wealth.

Belgium

The small nation of Belgium is located in Western Europe and boasts one of the most well-diversified economies in the world. Brussels, the nation's capital, is also the capital of the European Union. Its central location led to a developed transport network that is mostly used for trade. More than 80% of Belgium’s trade is with other nations within the EU.

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Exports total more than $300 billion, and the main industries include chemicals, machinery, refined petroleum and equipment as well as the famous diamonds. In 2018, the GDP was more than $550 billion, and Belgium is seeing growth in its economy.

New Zealand

New Zealand is an island country in the South Pacific approximately 1,300 miles from Australia. It has recently experienced a boom in its economy due to improvements in technological capabilities, which attracted foreign investments as well as expatriates. As with other isolated nations without neighbors, New Zealand relies heavily on trade.

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With a free-market economy, the country has a GDP of more than $203 billion and a population of 5 million. The country attracts a large number of tourists every year for its beautiful landscapes. Tourism and other service industries make up a significant 63% of the GDP.

Germany

Germany has a GDP of more than $3.8 trillion, making it one of the largest economies in the world. It's both the largest country and the largest economy in Europe. Positioned at the forefront of the European Union, Germany exports more than $1.7 trillion every year. It had the highest trade surplus in the world at $310 billion in 2016.

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BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen are all world-renowned German car manufacturers, and the sector accounts for 12% of its exports. The other portions come from chemicals, computer equipment, pharmaceuticals and transport equipment.

Denmark

The Scandinavian country of Denmark is one of the richest countries in the world, and it has a diverse, modern economy. With a GDP totaling more than $324 billion, the nation has a high dependence on foreign trade. As with most wealthy countries, the service industry dominates the global economy.

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Denmark has a liberal trade policy in place and exports wind turbines, medical equipment, ships, iron, meat, fish, dairy, steel and more. The nation also experiences a relatively even distribution of wealth and is perceived to be one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

Japan

Japan is a nation consisting of multiple islands in the Pacific Ocean. It has the third-largest economy in the world, with a GDP per capita of more than $38,000 and a large number of highly skilled workers. Japan's automobiles and electronic goods are of superior technical quality and exported worldwide. Exports total more than $700 billion, and trading partners are mainly the United States, China and Europe.

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With natural disasters constantly wreaking havoc, it's amazing that Japan maintains its strong economy instead of collapsing in the aftermath of destruction. It helps that the nation holds foreign reserves of $1.3 trillion.

Sweden

This Nordic country boasts a GDP per capita of more than $50,000 and has a very developed economy. As with most of its neighbors, Sweden has a mixed system that includes both high capitalism and welfare benefits. It has a liberal open market economy that relies heavily on exports.

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In previous years, the economy was based on agriculture, but it later transformed into an industrialized nation. Exports are mainly automobiles, telecommunications, appliances, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel. Known for having the highest standard of living in the world, Sweden has low-income inequality as well as some of the highest wages.

Netherlands

This small but powerful country in Western Europe attracts hordes of tourists to see the sights in Amsterdam and the famed tulips. Aside from tourism, the nation is a top exporter. One of its major cities, Rotterdam, is home to the biggest port in Europe. Trade flowing through there makes the country a vital part of the European Union.

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Exports total more than $0.5 trillion annually. The Dutch produce food, machinery, livestock, chemicals and manufactured goods that make their way across the world. The nation has a GDP per capita of more than $48,000.

Ireland

Ireland is known for more than beer and potatoes. The country has a GDP per capita of more than $70,000, making it one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Its open economy places emphasis on the services sectors, such as high-tech, financial and agrifood.

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The United States is Ireland's biggest export partner, and goods such as computers, chemicals and medical devices make their way across the Atlantic. The nation also attracts a significant amount of foreign direct investment. Brexit, however, will have an effect on the Irish economy, but the full implications are not yet known.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region controlled by The People's Republic of China. The tiny nation enjoys limited autonomy and has seen an unprecedented economic boom in recent decades. Low tax rates and a significant amount of economic freedom have attracted many multinationals. Companies encounter very little government intervention in Hong Kong.

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The nation has an annual GDP of more than $500 billion, with most of the wealth created in the services sector. Exports such as textiles, watches, apparel and jewelry are mainly traded to China. Recent protests and disruptions, however, have taken a toll on various industries.

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates comes in second to Saudi Arabia as the largest economy in the Middle East. Petroleum and natural gas are the foundation for the wealth this nation experiences. This industry has allowed the country to bloom into a country filled with skyscrapers in the middle of the desert. The oil reserves contribute to 85% of the economy.

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Tourism also brings in a significant amount of money. With exports totaling more than $310 billion, sectors other than crude oil include dried fish and other foods. The UAE is predicted to continue experiencing growth as a result of its open economy.

Saudi Arabia

Another nation with an economy mainly based on oil is Saudi Arabia. The nation has the second-largest petroleum reserve and exports the most oil of any nation in the world. Valued at $33 trillion, the oil makes the country one of the richest in terms of natural resources.

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Annual exports total more than $230 billion and are increasing. Other than oil, 40% of the nation's GDP comes from the private sector, with more than 9 million highly skilled foreigners working in Saudi Arabia. More recently, the country has made attempts to diversify its economy into other industries instead of relying solely on oil.

Switzerland

This beautiful landlocked nation is synonymous with banks, watches and chocolate. It’s true that these industries make up a substantial part of the wealth of Switzerland. As one of the richest countries in the world, the GDP per capita surpasses more than $80,000.

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With a stable market economy, Switzerland's financial sector has been steadily growing. The skilled population has moved away from the agricultural industries and now works mainly in machinery, chemicals and metals. The economy as a whole has seen growth, and citizens of this country experience one of the highest standards of living in the world.

Norway

The citizens of this Nordic nation have a high quality of living due to a strong mixed economy. Norway integrates a combination of state ownership and free-market capitalist principles. The country is rich in natural resources, namely petroleum from the North Sea, and exports a significant amount.

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The GDP per capita is more than $70,000, making it one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Aside from natural resources, the shipping, chemical, fish and metal industries also contribute to the nation's strong economy. Exports exceed $100 billion annually, with the United Kingdom and Germany as the country’s main trading partners.

Singapore

The island nation of Singapore sits in a prime location on the Malay Peninsula, making it a trade hub in Asia. With low corruption and a free market economy, the nation has boomed tremendously in the last few decades. While many industries are owned by the government, the nation has benefited from large flows of foreign direct investments.

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Exports total more than $350 billion every year. The highly skilled workers in Singapore work in industries such as telecommunications, electronics, pharmaceuticals, machinery and equipment. Citizens also boast one of the most powerful passports, allowing them easy access to most of the countries in the world.

Brunei

One of the wealthiest countries in the world, Brunei is a small nation located on the island of Borneo. It is a highly socialist state and has a population of less than half a million people. The government controls most of the industries, and the Sultan is in control of healthcare, education and other sectors. Food and housing are significantly subsidized for the country’s citizens.

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The wealth Brunei experiences comes from the abundance of oil. The tiny nation is the third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia. Liquified hydrocarbons and crude petroleum are exported to Japan, South Korea and other nearby countries.

Qatar

Qatar is a nation with an absolute monarchy and a GDP per capita of more than $62,000. Natural gas and petroleum are the foundation of the wealthy economy, and the financial and steel sectors make up the rest. Prior to the discovery of oil, Qatar was a relatively poor country where the main lucrative activity was pearl diving.

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In 1973, Qatar's economy began seeing dramatic growth with the discovery of its natural resources. It has the third-largest gas reserves in the world. With exports totaling a little less than $100 billion annually, Qatar provides its citizens with a high quality of living.

Iceland

Iceland is a small nation that has recently gained popularity as a travel destination. Tourism accounts for a staggering 10% of GDP, making it the largest sector. Other industries include seafood processing, aluminum smelting, geothermal power and hydropower.

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With exports totaling more than $5 billion every year, the Icelandic people enjoy a GDP per capita of more than $73,000. The population is small, however, with less than 350,000 inhabitants. The government in Iceland has practiced a combination of government intervention and free trade since 1990, when the nation underwent economic reform.

United Kingdom

With a GDP per capita of $40,000, the industrialized nation of the United Kingdom offers its citizens a high quality of life. The economy is highly developed with trade and foreign direct investments serving as the foundation of its wealth. The service industry accounts for 80% of GDP. London, the country's capital, is the largest financial center in the world.

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The United Kingdom exports items such as tobacco, food, beverages, manufactured goods, fuels and chemicals. The nation’s main trading partners are the United States, Germany and China. Recently, the nation has made drastic changes based on Brexit reforms.

Luxembourg

The great landlocked country of Luxembourg is often called the richest country in the world. The nation is rather small, however, with a population of only 600,000. The GDP per capita is slightly more than $105,000, with the financial sector contributing most of it. The world-renowned banking industry is the largest sector in Luxembourg's economy.

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Aside from its banking and financial services, the nation also exports steel. Since 1911, refining processes have allowed the nation's industries to produce iron and steel. Exports total more than $60 million annually, with rubber products and glass also contributing to the nation's wealth.

Kuwait

The small nation of Kuwait is a wealthy, oil-based economy in the Middle East. The country has an annual GDP of more than $150 billion and a population of only 4 million. Both crude and refined petroleum oils are exported along with fertilizers for a total of roughly $55 billion every year.

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Aside from the natural resources that make Kuwait a rich country, the nation has a history in banking. The wealth management industry has been on the rise in Kuwait since 1952 when the National Bank was founded. At one point, the country had the third-largest market capitalization in the world.

Israel

In the Middle East, the nation of Israel is famous for its diamond industry. The cutting and polishing of the precious stones make up a hefty 23% of its exports. The GDP is slightly below $400 million but is steadily growing every year. Israel has a highly advanced free market economy that has prospered in recent years.

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With the United States as its main trading partner, the nation exports refined petroleum, pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, computers and more. Exports total more than $60 billion, and this wealth gives Israelis a relatively high standard of living compared to those in neighboring countries.

Italy

With the third-largest economy in the area, Italy is another leader in the European Union. It was one of the founding members of the Eurozone and has a GDP of more than $2 trillion. Italian agriculture is exported worldwide. Along with grapes and olives, clothing is also one of the nation's major industries. The economy is diverse and excels in multiple sectors.

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Engineering products, motor vehicles and tobacco also contribute to the $500 billion exported annually. Germany, France and the United States are Italy's major trading partners. With all roads leading to Rome, tourism is another important sector, with more than 60 million visitors every year.

South Korea

South Korea is a technologically advanced nation with a GDP per capita of $30,000. With an ever-growing population that is currently at 51 million, this country provides a high standard of living for its citizens. The economy is dominated by family-run conglomerates known as chaebols, including Samsung, LG and Hyundai.

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The nation has very few natural resources but has still managed to boom economically and produce high-quality goods. Exports amount to more than $500 billion every year, with the main industries being semiconductors, petrochemicals, vehicles, vehicle parts, computers, steel, wireless communication equipment and other electronics.

Spain

The beautiful country of Spain has a capitalist mixed economy that is the fifth-largest in the European Union. With a GDP per capita of more than $29,000, Spain enjoys a high standard of living. Although the country dealt with a recession in 2008, the economy has managed to bounce back and is steadily growing.

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Exports make up $315 billion of the economy every year. The majority comes from the machinery, motor vehicle, medicine and consumer goods industries. Most trading takes place within the European Union with countries like Germany and France, although the United States is also a big importer of Spanish goods.

San Marino

San Marino may be a nation that only covers 24 square miles of land, but it’s one of the wealthiest countries in the world. The country boasts a GDP per capita of more than $46,000. Although the nation experienced an economic contraction in 2008, the government has made necessary changes to counter this.

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With an economic structure similar to Italy, the citizens of San Marino also have a similar quality of life. The country's industries include banking, apparel, ceramics, electronics, furniture, paints, cement and wine. Tourism and foreign direct investments are also notable sectors that contribute to San Marino's wealthy economy.