Bringing Prosperity to Life


Ranked 114th of 149

At a glance


114 th on the Legatum
Prosperity Index™



In the Prosperity Sub-Index rankings, Bangladesh performs best on Safety & Security and Economic Quality and scores lowest on the Natural Environment sub-index.

Visit our Rankings table to see how Bangladesh compares to other countries.

Prosperity Gap

The ‘Prosperity Gap’ takes a country's GDP and uses it as the yardstick to measure a nation's expected Prosperity Index ranking.

Bangladesh has a marginal prosperity surplus, showing that it is broadly delivering the prosperity expected from its wealth. However, compared to countries with similar wealth levels, like Cambodia, this is as under-achievement. Cambodia has a sizeable prosperity surplus.

In the chart above, each dot represents a country. The curve shows the general tendency with which prosperity increases as GDP per capita increases. If a country falls below the curve, then we can say that compared to all other countries, it is under-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Likewise, if a country rises above the curve, then we can say that it is over-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Learn more about the Prosperity Gap here.

Alternatively, have a look at the Prosperity Gap view on our Rankings table for a full list of countries and to see how each of them are performing on the various sub-indices.


Bangladesh’s most significant achievement lies in the Economic Quality sub-index, having risen 20 ranks since 2007 to 87th place. Standing at 5%, the annual growth rate averaged over the last five years has been high, and the nation has the highest satisfaction with living standards in the region. Alongside significant improvements in life expectancy at birth, relative poverty has fallen by 21% and absolute poverty by 15%, although still the highest in South Asia. Yet, the country’s high vulnerability to external shocks signifies that those close to the poverty line are susceptible to fall below it again.

Average GDP per-capita growth rate, trailing 5 years in Bangladesh, South Asia and the world.
Standing at 5%, the growth rate over the last five years has been high, and the nation has the highest satisfaction with living standards and household income in the region.

The main employer is the agricultural sector, but its failure to meet demand for jobs has led to a large emigration of the labour force. Growth in Bangladesh needs to be more inclusive in creating more productive employment activities, especially as it has been estimated by the 2010 labour force survey that 80-90% of the total number of jobs are found in the informal sector. The informal market is most prominent in rural areas and employs low-skilled workers, mainly women whose labour force participation is only 60% of the female working age population. Bangladesh has high, and rising, non-tariff barriers which represent an important source of revenue for the government and state-owned enterprises distort the economy. Export diversification is the lowest in the region, with 90% of export earnings coming from garment manufacturing. The country need to increase its outward orientation by diversifying exports to higher value added activities.

Bangladesh ranks the highest in South Asia in the Safety & Security sub-index. This is partly due to the fact that unlike other countries with a more turbulent past, Bangladesh has not experienced any ethnic or civil war casualties or battlefield deaths over the last decade. On an individual level, 80% of Bangladeshis feel safe walking home alone at night and less than 15% have had property stolen in the last twelve months. A rise in religious extremism combined with a range of natural disasters from floods to cyclones has however brought down Bangladesh’s ranking in this sub-index by 14 places since 2009. Availability of adequate food and shelter has declined significantly and the political terror scale has increased as well as trailing-5-year terrorist attack casualties.

Environmental challenges are a pressing concern for Bangladesh as its low-lying land makes it extremely vulnerable to natural disasters. Floods, which are increasingly frequent due to rising sea levels, leave behind salt residues which render land barren and push people into poverty. Considering that Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with a population of 150 million on a landmass of 147, 570 square kilometres, pressure on fertile land is rapidly rising. Widening access to drinking water is putting increasing pressure on ground water as rivers are too polluted. Excessive pumping is causing the land to settle. With no wastewater treatment, pollution is also an increasing problem. It is not just water pollution either, but air too. As millions move from low lying villages to cities, the percentage of the population exposed to above WHO recommended pollution levels has increased by a fifth. Serious efforts need to be done to improve Bangladesh’s extremely low ranking in the Natural Environment sub-index.

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How to read this graph:
When comparing multiple countries on a spider chart, data points that appear
further away from the center represent a better performance to the points that are closer to the center.