Tue, 20 Dec 2011 14:55:06 GMT | By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
World's most prosperous nations

The 2011 Legatum Prosperity Index

The 2011 Legatum Prosperity Index (© iStock)
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Webster's dictionary defines prosperity as "the condition of being successful or ..." — OK, we're not going to start with an intro that cheesy. Nonetheless, in 2011, in a world no longer measured by the flimsiness of extreme wealth, prosperity is an important gauge on a planet still struggling after a devastating recession. What countries can still claim a well-off population? What countries can't? And who envies who?

To get a grasp on prosperity around the world, public policy group The Legatum Institute studied the prospects of 110 countries, accounting for over 90 per cent of the globe's population. Countries were ranked in eight all-encompassing categories*, each of which were deemed to have an effect on economic growth or personal well-being. After the downturn, Canada has maintained a high level of prosperity, but what nations are doing better than us? Click through to find the most prosperous countries on earth.

* Legatum's eight categories: 1) economy, 2) entrepreneurship and opportunity, 3) governance, 4) education, 5) health, 6) safety and security, 7) personal freedom and 8) social capital.

* Bing: How to help those less fortunate this holiday season

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