According to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, Qatar has the wealthiest overall population, based on per capita income.
Conventionally, there are two principle methods in which the wealth of a nation is defined. The approach most preferred by economists for working out the wealthiest countries takes into consideration how wealthy the average resident of a country is. This represents the “per capita income” data point, which is the gross domestic product (GDP) per person. In order to standardize the information across nations, the GDP per capita is viewed on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis in current international dollars. PPP takes into account the relative cost of living and the inflation rates of the countries. Based on that criteria, the richest nation in the world is Qatar, with a per capita GDP (PPP) of $145,894, according to the IMF and $136,727 according the 2013 World Bank data.
Qatar has a population of 2.2 million people, based on data for January 2015, though there are only around approximately 280,000 actual citizens. The remainder of the population are migrant workers, and represents the highest ratio of migrants to citizens in the world. Qatar remains a monarchy ruled by the Al Thani family.
The economy is heavily geared to oil and Qatar has the third-largest reserves in the world. Qatar's natural gas and oil industry fueled more than half of the country’s GDP in 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The nation is the global leader in liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) exports, and it boasts more than 25 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The Persian Gulf Emirate is pushing to diversify its economy, investing in the construction sector and developing its finance and tourism industries. Supporting this approach, Qatar is building nine stadiums, a new metro and rail system, new roads and is creating a city for 200,000 people before hosting the FIFA World Cup.
Qatar was the first Middle Eastern country to have been awarded the FIFA World Cup, with the tournament taking place in the nation in 2022. The country has also used its wealth to buy assets around the world, often through its sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Acquisitions have included the Paris Saint-Germain soccer team in France and the Harrods upmarket department store in the U.K.
The other principle method of representing a nation’s wealth simply measures the total GDP of a country, representing the size of its economy. Based on this criteria, China would come out as the wealthiest country in the world under the IMF’s reading from October 2014. However, given that China also has the largest population in the world, the per capita wealth figure is significantly impacted. The World Bank shows that the 2013 GDP per capita (PPP) figure was only $11,907 for China in comparison to $136,727 for Qatar.