Legatum Institute's 2014 Prosperity Index ranked Norway as the most prosperous country in the world, with Switzerland at number two on the list.
The rankings are based on eight variables of a country's prosperity performance:
- Personal freedom
- Social capital
Norway performed best on Social Capital and worst (7th) on Entrepreneurship and Opportunity.
The Nordic nation retained its number one spot from last year, as the top-ranking most prosperous country. New Zealand moved to third place, up two spots from 2013, while Russia slipped to Europe's worst performing country in 68th place.
The study revealed 90 percent of Norwegians believe their country is a good place for immigrants to live, while 94.9 percent said they felt they could rely on their fellow citizens in a time of need.
Less optimistic however was that nearly one-third of Norwegians (29.7 percent) thought corruption in business and government were widespread. Compare this to the Central African Republic's results – the least prosperous country in the world – where 75 percent of the nation's population believe corruption is widespread.
The study, now in its eighth year, offers a unique insight into how prosperity is forming and changing across the world.
The Index takes into account 142 countries, representing more than 96 percent of the world’s population and 99 percent of global GDP.
Prosperity Index: Top 20
3 New Zealand
10 United States
13 United Kingdom
20 Hong Kong
France was just outside the Top 20 in 21st place, Spain was 26th and Italy was The Local's poorest performing country in 37th place.