America Is Just The World's Ninth Best Country

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Want more proof America’s health care needs drastic improvement? Or that politics needs cleaning up? How about cutting spending?

Here it is: thanks to those and other short-comings, the U.S. is now just ninth in the world according to a new study of international prosperity.

The U.S. rates relatively poorly in the 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index, a ranking of 104 countries in terms of a broad definition of prosperity that includes economic growth and quality of life measures.

America leads big countries, with strong scores for democracy, entrepreneurship and innovation, but it still has a long way to go, easily losing to the Scandinavians, Canadians, Aussies and others in many important categories like health, governance and economic fundamentals.

SEE THE TOP 25 MOST PROSPEROUS COUNTRIES>>>
The index is the third annual report published by the London-based Legatum Institute. Here are highlights about the USA:

  • The U.S. ranks 1st in the world in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and 2nd in the world in the strength of Democratic Institutions.
  • Two other areas of American strength are Education (7th globally), and Social Capital (also 7th globally).
  • The U.S. performs worst in the health category, ranking27th in the world. Dissatisfaction with their overall health is dragging down Americans’ sense of well-being, affecting their determination to get ahead and impacting their faith in the health care system.
  • Ranking 19th globally, safety and security is another relative weakness of the U.S. Lower scores are driven by the large number of people in the U.S. who feel they live in unsafe places, coupled with a high per capita murder rate relative to other developed nations.
  • The U.S. ranks 16th globally on Governance, indicating that Americans believe that there is too much corruption in their government and sometimes doubt the honesty of elections.  The United States’ laws and regulations are generally seen to foster economic growth, but government’s negative effects pull down its citizens’ quality of life.

Legatum spokesman Hamish Banks tells us the U.S. story isn’t terrible in context.

“On the face of it the U.S. is getting beaten out by a raft of countries more known for their welfare policies — the Scandinavians, Swiss and Dutch, for example — and scores relatively low on health and safety and security.  We need to compare like-with-like, however, and the U.S. maintains its pre-eminence amongst the large nations and is still leading the pack in Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Democratic Institutions. There’s no  doubt, however, that the economic fundamentals score is below where it should be, but the general underlying indication is certainly not bad, at least form a long-term perspective.”

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permalink=”25-czech-republic-1″
title=”#25 – Czech Republic”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 25th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 27th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 29th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 31st / 133 UN Human Development Index 35th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 37th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 45th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 11th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”24-taiwan-2″
title=”#24 – Taiwan”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 24th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 50th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 24th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 12th / 133 UN Human Development Index n/a Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 35th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 39th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 37th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”23-singapore-3″
title=”#23 Singapore”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 23rd / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 20th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 3rd / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 3rd / 133 UN Human Development Index 28th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 2nd / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 4th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 23rd / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”22-portugal-4″
title=”#22 Portugal”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 22nd / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 44th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 31st / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 43rd / 133 UN Human Development Index 33rd / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 53rd / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 32nd / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 14th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”21-italy-5″
title=”#21 – Italy”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 21st / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 23rd / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 23rd / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 48th / 133 UN Human Development Index 19th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 76th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 55th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 36th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”20-slovenia-6″
title=”#20 – Slovenia”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 20th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 40th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 25th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 37th / 133 UN Human Development Index 26th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 68th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 26th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 9th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”19-spain-7″
title=”#19 – Spain”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 19th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 10th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 19th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 33rd / 133 UN Human Development Index 16th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 29th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 28th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 28th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”18-hong-kong-8″
title=”#18 – Hong Kong”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 18th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 70th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 6th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 11th / 133 UN Human Development Index 22nd / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 1st / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 12th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index n/aData from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”17-france-9″
title=”#17 – France”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 17th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 16th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 21st / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 16th / 133 UN Human Development Index 11th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 64th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 23rd / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 30th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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[slide
permalink=”16-japan-10″
title=”#16 – Japan”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 16th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 32nd / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 20th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 8th / 133 UN Human Development Index 8th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 19th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 18th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 7th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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[slide
permalink=”15-austria-11″
title=”#15 – Austria”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 15th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 14th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 9th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 17th / 133 UN Human Development Index 14th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 23rd / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 12th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 5th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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[slide
permalink=”14-germany-12″
title=”#14 – Germany”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 14th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 29th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 18th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 7th / 133 UN Human Development Index 23rd / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 25th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 14th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 16th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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[slide
permalink=”13-belgium-13″
title=”#13 – Belgium”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 13th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 15th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 14th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 18th / 133 UN Human Development Index 17th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 20th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 18th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 15th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”12-united-kingdom-14″
title=”#12 – United Kingdom”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 12th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 17th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 17th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 13th / 133 UN Human Development Index 21st / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 10th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 16th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 35th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”11-ireland-15″
title=”#11 Ireland”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 11th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 5th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 5th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 25th / 133 UN Human Development Index 5th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 4th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 16th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 12th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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[slide
permalink=”10-new-zealand-16″
title=”#10 – New Zealand”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 10th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 9th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 27th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 20th / 133 UN Human Development Index 20th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 5th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 1st / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 1st / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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[slide
permalink=”9-united-states-17″
title=”#9 – United States”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 9th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 11th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 4th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 2nd / 133 UN Human Development Index 15th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 6th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 18th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 83rd / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”8-netherlands-18″
title=”#8 – Netherlands”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 8th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 4th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 8th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 10th / 133 UN Human Development Index 6th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 12th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 7th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 22nd / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”7-canada-19″
title=”#7 – Canada”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 7th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 7th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 11th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 9th / 133 UN Human Development Index 3rd / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 7th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 9th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 8th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”6-australia-20″
title=”#6 – Australia”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 6th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 13th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 12th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 15th / 133 UN Human Development Index 4th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 3rd / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 9th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 19th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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[slide
permalink=”5-norway-21″
title=”#5 – Norway”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 5th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 3rd / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 1st / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 14th / 133 UN Human Development Index 2nd / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 28th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 14th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 2nd / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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[slide
permalink=”4-denmark-22″
title=”#4 – Denmark”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 4th / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 1st / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 15th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 5th / 133 UN Human Development Index 13th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 8th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 1st / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 2nd / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”3-sweden-23″
title=”#3 Sweden”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 3rd / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 6th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 13th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 4th / 133 UN Human Development Index 7th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 26th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 1st / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 6th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”2-switzerland-24″
title=”#2 – Switzerland”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 2nd / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 8th / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 7th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 1st / 133 UN Human Development Index 10th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 9th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 5th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 18th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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[slide
permalink=”1-finland-25″
title=”#1 – Finland”
content=”Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 1st / 104 Average Life Satisfaction Ranking 2nd / 104 Per Capita GDP Ranking 16th / 104 WEF Global Competitiveness Index 6th / 133 UN Human Development Index 12th / 179 Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index 17th / 178 TI Corruption Perceptions Index 5th / 180 Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index 9th / 144Data from Legatum; full country profile here.
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permalink=”see-also-26″
title=”See Also”
content=”Frustration with government is one reason the U.S. is ranked #9. Here are the 15 most corrupt members of Congress.
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