New Zealand ranked world's second most prosperous country

We might have slipped down in the ranking order, but New Zealand is still the second most prosperous country in the world.

The Legatum Prosperity Index 2018, which compares 149 countries, was released on Wednesday (local time).

The index is based on nine 'pillars of prosperity': economic quality, business environment, governance, personal freedom, social capital, safety and security, education, health and the natural environment.

Norway took out the top spot, with Finland, Switzerland and Denmark rounding out the top five.

New Zealand has been ranked first since 2014, but our relatively low rankings in economic quality (14th), education (18th) and health (17th) meant we slipped down to second this year.

But all things considered, we're doing well.

We're the highest-ranked country in the world for social capital, which the report describes as "the strength of personal and social relationships, social norms and civic participation in a country".

We're number two in business environment, governance and personal freedom, and fourth in natural environment.

Our worst area is safety and security, in which we ranked 24th behind countries like Australia, Portugal and the Czech Republic.

Down the other end of the scale, the world's least prosperous country is Afghanistan, who also ranks last in social capital.

The Legatum Institute says its key global finding for 2018 is that prosperity is growing, but not equally.

"The gap between the largest and smallest scores has been growing steadily since 2013, and this year the gap is the largest it has ever been."


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