The U.S. tumbled out of the top 20 most economically prosperous nations in an annual measure of wealth and well-being compiled by the Legatum Institute, falling below France and China.
While the U.S. rose one place to 11th position in the London-based research group’s overall prosperity index, it was downgraded in a gauge measuring economic strength. In a month in which lawmakers shut the government and struck a deal to avoid default only as the clock began running out, faith in the U.S. government also fell to an all-time low.
“The U.S. can no longer be seen as the most prosperous nation in the world — indeed it’s no longer even in the club,” said Jeffrey Gedmin, the institute’s president and chief executive officer. “This year’s index shows that Americans are suffering increasing hardship as a result of the country’s economic condition.”
The seven-year-old Legatum Prosperity Index is a study of wealth and well-being in 142 countries, based on eight categories such as economic strength, education and governance. It is an attempt to broaden measurement of a nation’s economic health beyond indicators such as gross domestic product.
The main index was topped by Norway for a fifth year, ahead of Switzerland, Canada, Sweden and New Zealand. The U.S. has now dropped eleven places in five years in Legatum’s economy sub-index, and is now ranked 24th. China is in seventh place, and France in 22nd.
Behind America’s decline are unemployment that is higher than South Korea and Taiwan and a lower reliance on high-tech exports than China or Malaysia, Legatum said. That leaves Americans saving less, and just 72 percent are satisfied with their standard of living, the group said.
Only 35 percent have confidence in the U.S. government, a decline from 51 percent in 2010.
The Legatum Institute is the public policy research arm of the Legatum Group, a Dubai-based private investment group founded in 2006 by New Zealand billionaire Christopher Chandler.
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