The Legatum Institute, a London based think-tank released its annual Prosperity Index this week. The index is a massive survey which ranks 142 countries in terms of their so called “prosperity”.
Prosperity may mostly be used to talk about money, but the Legatum Institute thinks that there is more to it than that.
It takes into account 89 different variables, ranging from indicators like a country’s unemployment rate, all the way to asking citizens how much political freedom feel they have.
The data is then broken down into eight sub indexes — economy, entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, and social capital — each one is given a score, and the prosperity of countries is calculated.
We’ve already shown you the 26 countries that the Prosperity Index rated as the most prosperous, or in other words, the happiest, wealthiest and most crime free places on earth, but now its time to look at the countries at the other end of the list.
Many of the countries that feature towards the bottom end of the index have been hit hard by wars and outbreaks of disease, and are generally lacking in strong economies, governments and education systems.
We’ve taken the bottom 22 countries from the Legatum Institute’s, and ranked them in reverse order. So check out the world’s 22 least prosperous countries.
22. Mauritania — The north African country has a pretty good score for social capital (59th out of 142) but is in the bottom 15 for governance and personal freedom sub indexes meaning that it makes our list as one of the least prosperous countries on earth.
21. Malawi — Despite having a governance sub-index score in the top 75, Malawi has fallen four places this year, going from 118th to 122nd. This is thanks in large part to having the fifth worst economy in the whole Prosperity Index.
20. Iraq — As one of the areas occupied by ISIS, it is not hugely surprising to see Iraq rank in the bottom ten of the safety and security sub-index. Despite ranking in the top 100 in two sub-indexes — economy and social capital — Iraq ranks 123rd out of the 142 countries surveyed.
19. Sierra Leone — Sierra Leone was badly hit by the Ebola crisis, and this is reflected in scoring fourth lowest in the health sub-index. Despite this, ranking 54th out of 142 in the social capital sub-index helped the west African nation jump ten places to 124th overall in this year’s Prosperity Index.
18. Nigeria — Nigeria may have one of Africa’s most powerful economies, but it scored pretty poorly in all eight sub-indexes. It did particularly badly in the safety and security index, ranking as one of the five most unsafe countries surveyed.
17. Ethiopia — Ethiopia scored pretty well in some sub-indexes, but low levels of entrepreneurship and opportunity, and a bad score in the education sub-index mean that the Legatum Institute rank it as one of the 20 least prosperous countries on earth. Overall, it is unmoved from last year’s rankings.
16. Republic of Congo — The Republic of Congo has a top 100 economy, but finishing 135th out of 142 in the health sub-index has pushed it down five places to 127th overall in 2015’s Prosperity Index.
15. Zimbabwe — Subject to hyperinflation for much of the early 21st century, it’s not surprising that Zimbabwe scored very poorly on the economy sub-index. A poor economy, coupled with a low rating in the governance sub-index means that Zimbabwe has dropped five places in this year’s Prosperity Index.
14. Togo — Togo, in the Gulf of Guinea, ranked in the top 75 for the safety and security, and personal freedom sub-indexes, but having the worst levels of social capital of any nations means it is one of the Legatum Institute’s least prosperous countries.
13. Pakistan — Despite having fairly good scores for both economy and entrepreneurship, Pakistan was ranked as one of the five most unsafe countries on earth. It has dropped three places, from 127th to 130th this year.
12. Guinea — Only Liberia scored worse than Guinea in the economy sub-index in this year’s Prosperity Index. The west African nation also scored very poorly in the entrepreneurship and opportunity sub-index.
11. Liberia — It was hit badly by 2014’s Ebola virus epidemic, and almost 5,000 people were killed in the country. As a result Liberia’s score in the health sub-index was in the bottom ten. Furthermore, the country has officially the worst economy of any surveyed by the Legatum Institute.
10. Angola — Angola ranks in the bottom ten for six of the eight sub-indexes surveyed by the Legatum Institute. It has fallen by one place from 132nd in 2014 to 133rd this year.
9. Sudan — Sudan has fallen from 130th last year to 134th now, even though its score in the social capital sub-index is in the top 50. The country’s citizens are the second least free of any in the Prosperity Index.
8. Yemen — According to the Prosperity Index, Yemenis enjoy the worst levels of personal freedom on earth, as well as having one of the ten worst economies. Despite this fact, the country has climbed from 138th last year to 135th in 2015.
7. Syria — When the Prosperity Index first launched in 2009, Syria was ranked inside the top 90 countries, but the brutal civil war that has ripped through the country, along with the rise of ISIS have pushed it steadily down the rankings. Unsurprisingly, it is ranked as the third most unsafe country of any surveyed by the Legatum Institute.
6. Democratic Republic of Congo — Citizens in the Democratic Republic of Congo is ranked as the most unsafe country in the whole Prosperity Index. However, high levels of social capital (65th out out 142) mean that the country has climbed three places this year.
5. Burundi — Only three countries in the Prosperity Index scored lower in the economy sub-index this year. This, along with very poor scores in the social capital and health indexes, means that Burundi ranked 138th out of 142 countries in the complete index.
4. Chad — Last year only the Central African Republic was less prosperous than Chad, but this year, thanks to having the 76th best economy of all countries surveyed, Chad has climbed two places. It still scored very close to the bottom in four sub-indexes.
3. Haiti — Haiti has never truly recovered from the earthquake which ravaged the country in 2010, and a dreadful health rating, along with poor governance and low levels of personal freedom mean that it falls five places to 140th out of 142 countries this year.
2. Afghanistan — Ravaged by war for decades, it is perhaps unsurprising that Afghanistan ranked as having the worst governance of all countries surveyed, and the second worst safety and security. These factors, combined with poor scores across the board make it second least prosperous of any country surveyed.
1. Central African Republic — As its name suggests, the country is located in the heart of Africa. Citizens reported relatively high levels of personal freedom, but finishing last in three categories — entrepreneurship and opportunity, education, and health — means that the CAR is the Legatum Institute’s least prosperous country for the second year in a row.