World Prosperity Index What is prosperity, and how is it achieved? Following a turbulent year marked by a global economic crisis, the Legatum Prosperity Index seeks to answer these two fundamental questions. It defines prosperity as both wealth and wellbeing, and finds that the most prosperous nations in the world are not necessarily those that have only a high GDP, but are those that also have happy, healthy, and free citizens. The Prosperity Index accounts for 90% of the world’s population and is based on years of statistical analysis and research of objective data and subjective responses to surveys. The data comprises 79 different variables organised into nine sub indexes – each identified as a foundation of long-term prosperity. A country’s performance in each sub-index is given a score, and the overall Prosperity Index rankings are produced by averaging the scores of the nine sub-indexes for each country. Those countries that perform well across each sub-index do best in the overall rankings. The nine sub-indexes are: Economic Fundamentals – a growing, sound economy that provides opportunities for wealth creation Entrepreneurship and Innovation – an environment friendly to new enterprises and the commercialisation of new ideas Democratic Institutions – transparent and accountable governing institutions that promote economic growth Education – an accessible, high-quality educational system that fosters human development Health – the physical wellbeing of the populace Safety and Security – a safe environment in which people can pursue opportunity Governance – an honest and effective government that preserves order and encourages productive citizenship Personal Freedom – the degree to which individuals can choose the course of their lives Social Capital – trustworthiness in relationships and strong communities Finland tops this year’s Index, with the United States ranking ninth, ahead of large European nations such as Britain, Germany and France, which all still make the top 20. Finland is narrowly ahead of Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark. Zimbabwe ranks last, following Yemen and Sudan.