Creating the Pathways from Poverty to Prosperity

2020 Key Findings: Pre-COVID, global prosperity was at record high

In the decade prior to COVID-19, global prosperity had risen continuously, driven by people’s lived experience improving and by more open economies.

All seven regions improved since 2010, comprising 147 of the 167 countries included in the Index, largely driven by improvements in the Open Economies and Empowered People domains.

People’s lived experience improved due to better education and living conditions across all regions. Health also improved in all regions except for North America.

There have been near universal improvements to health, education and living conditions, with 155, 150, and 152 countries respectively improving across these areas since 2010.

Economies had become more open, due to improvements to communication and transport infrastructure, strengthened property rights, greater protections for investors and increased access to finance.

The improvements in communications have been particularly widespread, with every country except Sweden seeing an improvement.

The improvement in social capital also contributed to the increase in global prosperity, but further improvement in prosperity has been held back by governance and personal freedom stagnating.

Improvements in social capital were concentrated in Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe. Eighty-seven countries have weaker governance now than in 2010 and 74 have weaker personal freedoms.

A lack of contestability within domestic markets and extensive restrictions on international investment is acting as a brake on economies becoming more open across parts of the world.

Since 2010, 92 countries saw a deterioration in the Domestic Market Contestability element, and 113 saw a deterioration in the Restrictions on International Investment element.

The improvement in global prosperity in the last 12 months has not kept pace with the progress of the previous two years, as Asia-Pacific and Western Europe stalled, and North America deteriorated slightly.

Progress slowed in Asia-Pacific mainly due to a deterioration in safety and security, personal freedom, economic quality, and education.