Creating the Pathways from Poverty to Prosperity

2019 Key Findings: Global prosperity hits highest ever level

Global prosperity continues to improve, but the gap between the strongest and weakest countries continues to widen.

Global prosperity has steadily improved over the past decade and is at its highest level ever, with 148 countries improving since 2009. However, 19 countries have not improved, and their deterioration has resulted in the gap between the strongest and weakest performing countries widening since 2014.

The improvement in global prosperity has been driven by more open economies and improvement to people's lived experience

Economies have become more open over the last decade, with enterprise conditions, market access and infrastructure and investment environment all strengthening, although economic quality is relatively unchanged. Living conditions, health, and education have also improved, although there has been stagnation in the natural environment.

Economies are more open due to improvements in the investment environment and in digital connectivity, and a reduction in administrative burdens

The global investment environment has become more attractive over the past 10 years. In addition, internet usage has more than doubled during this period and internet capacity is six times that in 2009. These improvements, combined with a simplification of business administration, particularly around the frequency of tax payments and starting a business, has also led to economies becoming more open.

People’s lived experience has improved due to better health, education, and living conditions

Improvements to health-care systems and health outcomes have driven the enhancement seen in global health. Education has also improved, particularly tertiary education, and the adult population

is now more educated than they were previously. Greater personal financial security and increased access to basic services have also led to the improvement in living conditions.

Further improvement in global prosperity is held back by stagnating institutions

Personal freedom has deteriorated over the last decade, with all regions other than Western Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean weakening. The quality of governance has declined, with regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and MENA experiencing particular deterioration. Over the first eight years of the past decade, the world saw a steady deterioration in safety and security. However, the past two years have seen a slight improvement, but not yet enough to reverse the trend.

People are more tolerant, but the freedom to speak, associate and assemble has deteriorated

People have become more accepting of other groups in society over the past decade, particularly of the LGBT community, with 111 countries expressing more tolerance than they did a decade previously. The freedom to speak, assemble, and associate, however has deteriorated, with 122 countries seeing a deterioration, resulting in an overall decline in personal freedom.