Hosted at the Royal Institute for British Architects, the celebration was opened with welcome remarks by Alan McCormick, Chairman of the Legatum Institute Foundation. He reflected on the history and highlights of the Index over the past ten years, before introducing Baroness Stroud, CEO of the Legatum Institute.

Baroness Stroud, who took up her post at the end of October, paid tribute to the important role that the Index has played over the last decade, before laying out an exciting new vision for the Institute.

In her speech, she announced her plan to establish the Legatum Institute as a “world class centre for metrics”, placing data at the heart of transformational research that will identify, measure and harness the true drivers of prosperity.

"Our research will provide accountability of what really leads to prosperous communities, and what does not, creating an unstoppable movement that can deliver change across the world".

These remarks were echoed by Thorning-Schmidt, who identified the Index as an example of the type of "tool of change that can have an impact for decades to come". She endorsed Baroness Stroud's vision to harness metrics at the Institute's core, stating that "the power of data" is essential to "moving public perceptions, and public policy, closer to a better and more holistic understanding of development".

Baroness Stroud

(Above: Baroness Stroud speaking at the launch of the 2016 Prosperity Index)

Ten Years of Data

Over the past decade, the Prosperity Index has used data to rank nations across a number of areas of potential success or failure, including Economic Quality, Governance, Education, Health, and Personal Freedom, offering a far truer picture of the life chances for the world’s population than any Index of GDP alone could hope to.

In 2016, the Index is more comprehensive than ever, covering more countries, and more variables. To understand how prosperity has formed and changed across the world over the past ten years, Giles Dilnot, Director of Communications at the Legatum Institute, hosted a Q&A with Director of the Prosperity Index, Alexandra Mousavizadeh, revealing key findings that include:

  • Global prosperity is at its highest point in the past decade [More]
  • Commonwealth countries deliver greater prosperity, and greater prosperity given its wealth, than the global average [More]
  • China and India are the biggest drivers of prosperity, together accounting for almost 40 percent of the growth in global prosperity over the past decade [More]
  • The UK is a world-leader at generating prosperity, but it is not so great at sharing it; the absence of life chances in urban areas limits its reach [More]
  • The world has never been more free, but some regions are freer than others [More]
  • Venezuela has seen the biggest decline in prosperity over the past decade, falling in all but two sub-indices [More]
  • Prosperity grows rapidly from peace [More]
  • While most people now enjoy more Personal Freedom than they did in 2007, the improvement has been regionally uneven [More]
  • Global prosperity inequality is falling as the less prosperous grow faster than the prosperous [More]
  • When it comes to citizens' confidence in their national government, perception and reality aren't always aligned [More]
  • Significant improvements in Social Capital have been recorded over the past ten years in Indonesia, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, and Mongolia [More]​

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About the Prosperity Index

National success is about more than just wealth. And yet, traditionally we have used narrow measures of wealth (such as GDP) as our benchmark to determine the success of nations. The Prosperity Index goes beyond GDP to measure countries’ success against a broad set of metrics covering areas such as health, education, opportunity, social capital, personal freedom, and more. The Prosperity Index is the only global index that measures national prosperity based on both wealth and wellbeing (objective and subjective data). The Index seeks to redefine the concept of national prosperity to include, as a matter of fundamental importance, factors such as democratic governance, entrepreneurial opportunity, and social cohesion. It aims to spark debate and to encourage policy-makers, scholars, the media, and the interested public to take an holistic view of prosperity and to better understand how it is created. 


  • New Zealand Announced as the Most Prosperous Country in the World in 2016 Legatum Prosperity Index™, Press Release, November 2016 [View]