If wealth is power, then Qataris have some serious muscle to flex. The Persian Gulf emirate of 1.7 million people ranks as the world’s richest country per capita thanks to a rebound in oil prices and its massive natural gas reserves. Adjusted for purchasing power, Qatar booked an estimated gross domestic product per capita of more than $88,000 for 2010.
In second place on our list is the mighty minnow Luxembourg, with a per capita GDP on a purchasing-power parity basis of just over $81,000. It’s followed at No. 3 by the city-state of Singapore, which thrives as a technology, manufacturing and finance hub with a GDP (PPP) per capita of nearly $56,700.
Like Qatar, many of the countries in the top 15 spots on our list rely on natural resources to fill their coffers. In Norway, which ranks fourth, petroleum accounts for nearly half of exports and is the main contributor to its PPP-adjusted GDP per capita of nearly $52,000. Brunei, meanwhile, located on the island of Borneo, reaps the benefits of extensive petroleum and natural gas fields and comes in at No. 5 with a PPP-adjusted per capita GDP of just over $48,000. And the United Arab Emirates looks to its oil and gas for about 25% of its GDP, which is nearly $47,500 per capita (PPP).
To rank the world’s wealthiest countries, Forbes looked at GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power for 182 nations. We used International Monetary Fund data from 2010, the most recent available. The PPP-adjusted GDP—preferred by economists when making international comparisons—takes into account the relative cost of living and inflation rates, rather than just exchange rates, which may distort real differences in worth.
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