Bringing Prosperity to Life


Ranked 136th of 149

At a glance


136 th on the Legatum
Prosperity Index™



In the Prosperity Sub-Index rankings, Libya performs best on Social Capital and Health and scores lowest on the Business Environment sub-index.

Visit our Rankings table to see how Libya 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.

Libya has the largest prosperity deficit in North Africa and one of the largest deficits in the world. Libya’s prosperity deficit grew from 2007 to 2010, right before the Arab Spring, remaining at the same deficit level since then.

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.


The Prosperity Index captures the devastation Libya has experienced since the start of its civil war in February 2011 with the overthrow of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi. Torn between an Islamist group – Libya Dawn – and anti-Islamist forces – Operation Dignity – Libya has experienced violent disintegration and state collapse. Armed conflict has displaced thousands of people, resulted in war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law, and ensures that human rights abuses continue with impunity. It is unsurprising that, across all sub-indices, Libya saw the biggest drop from 2012 to 2016 in its Safety & Security and Governance sub-indices: -9.3 and -8.7 points respectively. Within these sub-indices, there was a near universal decline across the component variables.

Changes in Libyan sub-indices’ scores from 2012 to 2016
The years following the Arab Spring, and the overthrow of Qaddafi, have seen a near-total devastation of Libyan prosperity

The next worst affected sub-index is Economic Quality. Before the war, Libya’s economy, dominated by oil, was stagnant and hovered around 123rd place globally. The abundance of oil is now a major grievance among the various tribes and militias competing for dominance in Libya. Meanwhile, Libyan oil output went down from 1.6mn barrels per day before 2011 to just 380,000 barrels per day now. Along with the structurally lower oil price, and the destruction of infrastructure, the Libyan economy is in tatters. As oil is used for electricity production, power cuts have become frequent across the country, damaging Libya’s already-poor Business Environment.

Health, Social Capital, and Prosperity scores in Libya and North Africa in 2016
While Libya is the least prosperous North African country, it has levels of Health and Social Capital that are above the North African average

There are some bright spots in Libya. Its level of Health is above the North African average, thanks to high life expectancy at birth, high immunisation rates, and widespread access to improved sanitation facilities. Libya’s high Health level, however, is also under pressure from the war. It is has declined marginally between 2012 and 2016, taking Libya from 57th to 59th place globally.

One positive and remarkable aspect of Libyan prosperity has been its resilient Social Capital level. While here too Libya’s global rank has declined since 2012, it remains at a high level by global standards, with a rank of 54th. Since 2012, Libyans are more likely to help strangers, to feel like they are treated with respect, and to feel like they can rely on friends and relatives in times of trouble. Unlike in many of its North African neighbours, conflict and unrest has, in Libya, has in these cases strengthened ties between citizens. In other component variables, the war in Libya has eroded – but not dramatically – those ties. More than any with other area, high and resilient social capital gives hope for the future. It provides the basis on which a new Libya can be built.

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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.