SINGAPORE: On the Legatum Prosperity Index for 2023, Singapore ranked first among Southeast Asian nations and 17th worldwide. The index, a framework for evaluating nations based on promoting their residents’ flourishing, reflects economic and social well-being.

Notably, Singapore outranked the United States, now in 19th place, as well as Hong Kong (22nd), France (23rd), and China (54th). As for Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia ranked 43rd in the world, comes second after Singapore, and Indonesia, ranked 63rd globally, is in third place regionally.

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Twelve indicators are assessed in the Prosperity Index: Safety & Security, Personal Freedom, Governance, Social Capital, Investment Environment, Enterprise Conditions, Infrastructure & Market Access, Economic Quality, Living Conditions, Health, Education, and Natural Environment.

Europe took the first through ninth spots on the 2023 index, with only New Zealand ranked 10th, breaking into the top ten. Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Switzerland took first to fifth places on the Index, respectively, followed by the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Iceland and Germany in sixth to ninth places.

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Singapore’s prosperity has been upward in the past ten years.

In 2013, the country scored 76.5 on the Index, and its most recent score is 78.2. The lowest Singapore has ranked globally is 19th in 2016 and 2019, while in 2021, it reached its highest ranking, 16th.

The country has scored well in the following categories:

Safety and Security (7), Open Economies (2), Investment Environment (4), Infrastructure and Market Access (1), Economic Quality (1), Health (1) and Education (1). However, it received the lowest marks in Personal Freedom (107) and Natural Environment (87).

For comparison, first-placer Denmark had single-digit scores across all categories except Health (16).

The Index, however, has found that “prosperity continues to plateau around the world, with the primary reason being a general trend towards the deterioration of institutions and democratic processes.”

Nevertheless, it added that basic needs are met more than ever, with people’s lives continuing upward over the past ten years. More and more people from less prosperous countries are catching up in terms of living conditions, which include nutrition, basic services, shelter, connectedness and protection from harm.

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Education has continued to improve, particularly in tertiary and adult skills. Surprisingly, so has Health despite the pandemic, with mortality rates much lower in 2023 than in 2013.

However, the Index notes, “Recent economic shocks have exacerbated long-term structural weaknesses. There has been a slowdown in productivity growth that is felt not only by the Western economies but also by developing countries. The least prosperous countries are less well-positioned to counter these shocks than the rest.”/TISG

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