Bringing Prosperity to Life


Ranked 2nd of 149

At a glance


2 nd on the Legatum
Prosperity Index™



In the Prosperity Sub-Index rankings, Norway performs best on Governance and Natural Environment and scores lowest on the Health sub-index.

Visit our Rankings table to see how Norway 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.

Norway’s prosperity ranking of second is not matched by its prosperity surplus which falls just outside the global top ten. New Zealand on the other hand, is not only the most prosperous country in the world but also enjoys the greatest prosperity surplus despite having a GDP per capita much lower than Norway’s. Norway’s prosperity surplus is extremely high by global standards but the nation is not delivering as much prosperity to its citizens relative to its wealth as its Nordic peers Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.

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.


Norway is a very prosperous country. Ranked in the top ten in seven out of nine sub-indices and with the second highest prosperity ranking in the world, Norway is a model for countries aspiring to turn their natural resources into prosperous lives for their citizens. The discovery of offshore oil and gas in the late 1960s enables it to enjoy the world’s highest living standards along with Switzerland. In many ways, the nation has grown a better place to live over the last decade with positive changes seen in governance, social capital and environment.

Satisfaction with living standards reaches 93% in Norway. This is far greater than the world average and surpasses that of its Nordic peers, to be ranked 2nd in the world.
Satisfaction with living standards reaches 93% in Norway. This is far greater than the world average and surpasses that of its Nordic peers, to be ranked 2nd in the world.

Norway has one of the best governance systems in the world, having climbed to third since the election of Erna Solberg, Norway’s second female prime minister in 2013. The involvement of women in Parliament is amongst the best in the world, with 40 percent of seats in the Stortinget (Norway’s unicameral parliament) held by women. The Prime Minister has also appointed women to half of the cabinet posts, in line with an unwritten rule about gender equality. Norway’s government is praised for being sound, respectable, and clean. It is the fifth least corrupt country globally, has an extremely strong and well respected rule of law, and has without fail achieved the highest possible scores for level of democracy and political rights for at least the last ten years.

Norwegians’ strong concern for the environment combined with the country’s small population of five million, is reflected in its top five performance in the Natural Environment sub-index. Its air pollution levels are extremely low with zero percent of the population exposed to PM2.5 above the World Health Organization thresholds. Fish stock preservation is the best among its Nordic peers, waste water treatment has improved by 24 percent since 2007, and pesticide regulation is extremely high. Such care for the environment is reflected in few health problems amongst Norway’s citizens.

One of Norway’s greatest improvement since 2007 lies in its Social Capital sub-index, having risen four ranks to sixth place. With a 56 percent increase in the number of donations made, Norwegian devotion to charitable activities is on the rise. Strong social cohesion is supported by a high degree of satisfaction with interpersonal relations. 86 percent of respondents are satisfied with opportunities to make friends and 93 percent feel that they are treated with respect. Norway is the European country where people feel most secure in voicing their opinions which is supported by the fact that it has the world’s 12th largest voter turnout. The number of households sending financial help to other households is amongst the highest in the world. All these factors suggest a rapidly increasing sense of community and frequent cooperation at an individual level which has been key to driving up prosperity.

Ways to make a change

Click on the Tweets to help make a change in your nation.


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.