THE LEGATUM PROSPERITY INDEX™ 2019

Creating the Pathways from Poverty to Prosperity

Country Highlights

Highlighting important changes in Prosperity from around the globe.


United States (18th)

The United States is ranked 18th, and is one of only 19 countries to have experienced a deterioration in prosperity since 2009. This has been driven primarily by declining mental and physical health, and rising obesity rates (rising by five percentage points to 36% of the population), causing the health of US residents to deteriorate. A reduction in the availability of adequate shelter has also contributed to a decline in living conditions. On the other hand, it has seen improvement in its market access and infrastructure.

China (57th)

China ranks 57th, up 8 places since 2009, driven by improvements in its enterprise conditions and in the living conditions of its residents. The proportion of those living in absolute poverty has been reduced dramatically, from 19% of the population in 2009, to less than 1% currently. However, despite some improvements, China still ranks 159th for the Personal Freedom pillar and 147th for the Natural Environment pillar.

Indonesia (63rd)

Indonesia’s rise in prosperity makes it the fifth most improved country since 2009, rising 20 places to 63rd in the global rankings. Indonesia’s economy has strengthened considerably, with improvements across each of the four economic pillars. It is also the second most improved country for Social Capital (5th), having risen 27 ranks as a result of a larger proportion of the population taking part in social and civic activities. It now boasts the highest levels of volunteering of any country.

Ecuador (80th)

Ecuador has improved its prosperity more than any other Latin American or Caribbean country since 2009, rising 14 ranks to 80th. The country has seen wholesale improvement, particularly within the Governance and Personal Freedom pillars; government effectiveness and executive constraints are significantly better than they were in 2009, and many media freedoms have recently been re- established following the election in 2017. The country is also safer and more secure than previously, helped by a move to ‘legalise’ gangs.

India (101st)

India rose nine places to 101st in the prosperity rankings, seeing an improvement in each pillar except Personal Freedom. Significant improvements have occurred in its enterprise conditions, where the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax has reduced the frequency of tax payments. Health outcomes have also improved, specifically longevity, and the rise in preventative and ongoing treatments has helped India rise nine ranks for the Health pillar.

Ethiopia (150th)

Ethiopia is ranked 150th in the world, and has seen considerable improvement in Education (139th) over the past decade. For example, an additional 2.15 million children had access to pre-primary education over the course of just four years. There are also promising signs that the country’s institutions are strengthening; Prime Minister Abiy oversaw the formal conclusion of the conflict with Eritrea (for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize), and freedom of speech and the access to information have improved substantially.