2011 World Ranking of Most Gender-Equal, Corrupt, Generous and Prosperous Countries


With the end of 2011, it’s a good time to think about where the world is in terms of extremes. That includes the most populated, most gender-equal, most corrupt, most generous, and most prosperous countries in the world. I specifically wanted to compare Japan with other countries, which is why I make sure it is in each list, even when they are very far down it (e.g., gender equality). It seems that two parts of the world are particularly doing well, and the countries of those regions are to be lauded.



First, just to set the tone, here are the ten most populous nations in the world (the populations are rounded in brackets):

  1. China (1.3 billion)
  2. India (1.1 billion)
  3. USA (320 million)
  4. Indonesia (240 million)
  5. Brazil (190 million)
  6. Pakistan (180 million)
  7. Nigeria (160 million)
  8. Bangladesh (142.9 million)
  9. Russia (142.3 million)
  10. Japan (127 million)

Gender Equality

The World Economic Forum is trying to promote women’s leadership, and close worldwide gender gaps. From the website, they say “For the first year, data sets analyzing national policies designed to facilitate female workforce participation have been included in the report. The data, based on information from almost 60 countries, shows that while 88% of countries have legislation prohibiting gender-based workplace discrimination, less than 45% have a national benchmarking tool. According to the report, 20% of countries surveyed have mandated female corporate board representation and 30% have mandated political participation.”

  1. Iceland
  2. Norway
  3. Finland
  4. Sweden
  5. Ireland
  6. New Zealand
  7. Denmark
  8. Phillippines
  9. Lesotho
  10. Switzerland
  11. Germany
  12. Spain
  13. Belgium
  14. South Africa
  15. Netherlands
  16. UK
  17. USA
  18. Canada
  19. Latvia
  20. Cuba

Japan ranked 98, even behind China which ranked 61. But it still faired better than Korea, which ranked in at 107. Russia ranked 43.


The Transparency International (TI) group released their Corruption Perceptions Index. They actually made a YouTube video that describes what the Index entails within 2 minutes:

They define corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” The following numbers start from the least corrupt to the most corrupt; New Zealand is now the least corrupt country in the world.

  • 1: New Zealand
  • 2: Denmark & Finland
  • 4: Sweden
  • 5: Singapore
  • 6: Norway
  • 7: Netherlands
  • 8: Australia & Switzerland
  • 10: Canada
  • 14: Japan & Germany
  • 16: Austria, Barbados, UK
  • 26: USA
  • 75: China
  • 143: Russia

This chart shows the changes some countries have made on the 1-10 scale of corruption (10 is good, 1 is bad).

North Korea and Somalia were rated as the most corrupt nations, at 182. Technically less corrupt but basically on the same level were Myanmar, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Sudan, Iraq, and Haiti.


The World Giving Index is an interesting rating system. “The Index is based upon the three charitable behaviours – giving money to an organisation, volunteering time to an organisation and helping a stranger.” I decided to write last year’s results in the brackets as well.

  • 1: USA (5)
  • 2: Ireland (3)
  • 3: Australia (1)
  • 4: New Zealand (1)
  • 5: UK (8),
  • 6: Netherlands (7)
  • 7: Canada (3)
  • 8: Sri Lanka (8)
  • 9: Thailand (25)
  • 10: Lao People’s Democratic Republic (11)
  • 17: Denmark (18)
  • 32: Norway (25)
  • 40: Sweden (45)
  • 105: Japan (119)
  • 140: China (147)


The Legatum Prosperity Index measures a total of 89 variables. The variables are in one of the following categories: economy, entrepeneurship & opportunity, governance, education,  health, safety & security, personal freedom, social capital. From the website, they say “Most people would intuitively agree that ‘prosperity’ is not just about money but also about quality of life. The Index defines prosperity as both wealth and wellbeing, and finds that the most prosperous nations in the world are not necessarily those that have only a high GDP, but are those that also have happy, healthy, and free citizens.” A Yahoo article gives a brief description explaining the top and bottom five.

  1. Norway (For the third year in a row)
  2. Denmark
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. Sweden
  6. Canada
  7. Finland
  8. Switzerland
  9. Netherlands
  10. United States
  11. Ireland
  12. Iceland
  13. United Kingdom
  14. Austria
  15. Germany
  16. Singapore
  17. Belgium
  18. France
  19. Hong Kong
  20. Taiwan
  21. Japan

The bottom 10 are: Zambia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic


Update: Forbes also came out with a list of the friendliest nations in the world for expats.

  1. New Zealand
  2. Australia
  3. South Africa
  4. Canada
  5. United States

Wrapping it Up

Well it looks like as of 2011, people in Scandinavia and Australasia are lucky to be there. In terms of the more “on paper” items, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and New Zealand seem like great places to live. And when you factor in generosity, Australia and New Zealand especially look like they deserve high praise.

I’m actually particularly surprised about the high marks of New Zealand, but I guess they have the type of flourishing that occurs when you can claim to be the least corrupt country on Earth. Way to go, Kiwis – you’re a model for the world.

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2 Responses to 2011 World Ranking of Most Gender-Equal, Corrupt, Generous and Prosperous Countries

  1. Mr. G says:

    Why would they include Japan on the Generosity index? It’s probably very low because of the damages caused by that massive earthquake/tsunami. Wasn’t that taken into account?

    • Ryo says:

      Hi Mr. G!
      I think they largely do take disasters into account for the World Giving Index. I see that they mentioned how places like Nepal, which had damage in 2009, may or may not have influenced their results. But, to be honest, I think that if there was any change due to the 3/11 disaster, I would expect it would be an increase in generosity rather than a decrease. Not in giving money, but volunteering time, maybe. Not sure, but that’s what I surmise.

      Unfortunately, they don’t mention anything about the specific events that happened in Japan, so we can’t know for now. But I’m guessing next year’s index will include that information. And with all of that said, Japan did move from 119 last year to 105 in 2011. So perhaps Japan is moving up!

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