Norway is once more the world's most prosperous country, at least according to an annual global prosperity index that released its findings this week.
The map above is a reflection of rankings compiled by the Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank and publisher, which this year evaluated the "prosperity" of 142 countries based on 89 variables that fall under eight sub-indices: "Economy, Entrepreneurship & Opportunity, Governance, Education, Personal Freedom, Health, Safety & Security and Social Capital." (You can explore the data and click through a more complete interactive map here.)
The index, in many respects, is not a surprise. European countries dominate at the top of the rankings; sub-Saharan nations languish closer to the bottom. The conflict-torn Central African Republic comes in last at 142.
But there are some interesting takeaways, as you can glean from the charts below. Russia was the worst-performing country in Europe, sliding seven places to 68th as a consequence of poor performance in regard to governance and personal freedom. Indonesia, buoyed by the optimism of its people, has surged 20 places in the rankings since 2009.
The United States' ranking is hampered by a low score in the personal freedom sub-index, far behind some other nations in the Americas such as Canada, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
The Legatum Institute is connected to a private investment group that's based in the United Arab Emirates. That particular concern may explain the rankings' curious omission of Qatar, the Persian Gulf state frequently listed as having the world's highest GDP and sometimes considered a geopolitical rival to the UAE.