The annual Legatum Prosperity Index has released its rankings for 2013, declaring Norway to be the most prosperous country, while putting Pakistan near the bottom with a rank of 132 in a total of 142 countries listed, according to their report.
The London-based Legatum Institute is "an independent non-partisan public policy organistation" that promotes research and programmes to help countries make their societies free and prosperous.
About the annual signature publication in 2008, LI's press release states:
"The Legatum Prosperity Index™ is a unique and robust assessment of global wealth and wellbeing, which benchmarks 142 countries around the world in eight distinct sub-indices:
1. Economy 2. Education 3. Entrepreneurship & Opportunity 4. Governance 5. Health 6. Personal Freedom 7. Safety & Security 8. Social Capital."
The index now covers more than 96% of the world’s population and 99% of the world’s GDP.
The 2013 report indicates that though global prosperity has risen over the past five years, many countries including Pakistan, are facing stagnation.
While the US and UK have slipped in their rankings, Bangladesh (103) has overtaken India (106) in overall prosperity.
Pakistan - 132
LPI's Pakistan profile suggests that Pakistan slipped from 107 in 2009 to 132 in 2013, but this is partly due to the addition of 32 new countries in the 2012 Prosperity Index. Most of the data used is from 2012 while some is older.
Breaking down its overall rank, Pakistan's faring in each sub-index is as follows:
Economy - 107
The report uses data from 2005-2009 and shows the five-year term's GDP per-capita growth rate (1.6%) to be lower than in the rest of the world (2.2%).
Compared to the global average, the number of people employed (50.7%), expectations from the economy and job prospects also showed a negative trend.
The percentage of exports that make up high-tech goods (1.8%) were much lower than in other countries (9.2% average), as was the size of foreign direct investment. The inflation rate for 2012 was listed as 9.7%, against the world average 6.2%
Curiously enough, the percentages of Pakistanis saying they had basic access to food and shelter, confidence in financial institutions and satisfaction in their living standards were always close to the global average.
Entrepreneurship and Opportunity - 100
Pakistan claimed its best position in this particular sub-index.
This was despite the fact that only 49% of people considered the country to be a 'good place' to start up a business when the number was 70% in the rest of the world.
The number of secure internet servers per one million people was also staggeringly low, as was the country's internet bandwidth.
Governance - 123
Predictably, most people (84%) were dissatisfied with the government's efforts in addressing poverty, while a similar number (79%) believed elections in the country to have been dishonest.
Confidence in the military and judiciary was high though and low in the government. More than 77% people believed the businesses and government to be corrupt.
Education - 124
Around 60% of the survey respondents children have an opportunity to learn and the quality of education is satisfactory.
The country ranked very poorly in terms of gross secondary and tertiary enrollment rates, though.
Health - 110
The most stark difference was health expenditure per person in dollars, which was close to 69 in Pakistan but 1226 on average in the rest of the world.
Life expectancy was 55 against the global 60, but sanitation and satisfaction with environmental beauty were much lower.
Safety and Security - 140
Only Chad and Congo could beat Pakistan in being the least secure places to live and work. Saudi Arabia was ranked 131.
As expected, civil war casualties were high in Pakistan. Sixty percent of people said they did not feel safe walking alone at night, whereas around 10% said they had been assaulted or had their property stolen within the past 12 months.
Personal Freedom - 135
Barring a handful of countries (such as Yemen, Sudan, Iraq and Egypt), the Index declared Pakistan to be among the worst countries in terms of personal freedom.
Compared to over 70% in the world, only 36% people in Pakistan said they were satisfied with the freedom of choice available here. But compared to the world average (68%), a slightly higher number of people (70%) said the country was a good place for ethnic minorities to live in.
Social Charity - 130
People in Pakistan turned out to be more charitable and helpful to strangers than in the rest of the world. A higher percentage of them happened to be married and religious too.
But compared to other countries, Pakistanis did not think their friends and families were reliable or that people could be trusted in general.
Top 10 most prosperous and free nations:
5. New Zealand
Least prosperous and free countries:
140. Democratic Republic of Congo
141. Central African Republic