Top 10 wealthiest countries in 2050

Singapore is slated to lead per-capita income in 2050. Who else made the list?

Downtown Singapore (Andy Leo/Flickr)

From Thomas Friedman to Fareed Zakaria, writers have long predicted the dominance of Asian nations in the 21st century. Leading economists, like Danny Quah of the London School of Economics, agree.

"The emergence of the East has, in the last three decades, yanked the world's economic center of gravity nearly 5000 km from its 1980 mid-Atlantic location, eastwards past Helsinki and Bucharest, onto a trajectory aimed squarely at India and China," Quah wrote for in 2011.

The 2012 Wealth Report, a new study by Knight Frank Research and Citi Private Bank, is bearing out these predictions. According to the study, the 21st century will largely be dominated by the East, rather than the West, particularly when it comes to per-capita income.

Today, even in the midst of an economic instability in Europe, residents of western nations outpace the rest of the world. Eight of the ten top-earning countries, for example, are members of NATO.


  1. Singapore -- $56,532
  2. Norway -- $51,226
  3. United States -- $45,511
  4. Hong Kong -- $45,301
  5. Switzerland -- $42,470
  6. Netherlands -- $40,736
  7. Australia -- $40,736
  8. Austria -- $39,073
  9. Canada -- $38,640
  10. Sweden -- $36,438

By 2050, the study's authors predict, this list will be strikingly different. Even though per-capita income in the United States is predicted to double in the next forty years, the study predicts that economic might will shift to East Asian nations. When it comes to per-capita income, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea will outpace the United States by 2050.


  1. Singapore -- $137,710
  2. Hong Kong -- $116,639
  3. Taiwan -- $114,093
  4. South Korea -- $107,752
  5. United States -- $100,802
  6. Saudi Arabia -- $93,311
  7. Canada -- $96,375
  8. United Kingdom -- $91,130
  9. Switzerland -- $90,956
  10. Austria -- $90,158

The trend of wealth heading east is already evident, writes Grianne Gilmore, head of U.K. residential research at Knight Frank:

"Our global HNWI data also indicates a shifting emphasis to the East. There are now 18,000 centa-millionaires in the region covering South-East Asia, China and Japan. This is more than North America, which has 17,000, and Western Europe with 14,000."

Perhaps the most telling case study of this shift was the recent move to Singapore by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. According to CNN, Saverin's move to Singapore saved an estimated $39 million. Doing so, however, cost Saverin his citizenship -- a commodity still worth its weight in gold.


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