Pictures: World's 30 Richest, Healthiest and Safest Countries

The Legatum Prosperity Index ranks 149 countries according to nine "pillar points": economic quality, business environment, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, social capital and natural environment. Here are the world’s 30 best countries to live in.Creative Commons CC0
30. Italy (The world's number 54 country for social capital.) Creative Commons CC0

For many decades, unemployment rate and gross domestic product have become the preferred benchmarks to measure a country’s success, but some experts have indicated that both estimates do not paint a broader picture on how well a nation is serving its citizens.

In the U.S., for instance, GDP became the defining yardstick of national progress in the years since the Great Depression, as a Boston Globe op-ed underscored. But leading economists such as Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz began questioning whether GDP provides enough information to evaluate success, especially in the aftermath of the 2008 economic meltdown. In a report called “Mismeasuring our Lives: Why GDP Doesn’t Add Up,” economists said that “if we have the wrong metrics, we will strive for the wrong things,” the Boston Globe cited.

Assessing economic performance is not a bad idea, experts argued, but it is still shortsighted. “Broadly, richer countries have higher social progress, so getting more economic growth is not a bad idea,” Michael Green, CEO of the Social Progress Index, which keeps data from 128 countries, told BBC. “But what we also find, very clearly, is that social progress is not completely explained by economic variables. GDP is not destiny.”

Other methodologies suggest that the quest for innovation and broad-scale social “well-being” can pave the way to development success, according to the World Economic Forum. “Societies thrive–in a sustainable way–when inclusion and innovation help expand the circle of opportunity, and when strong governance standards lead to sound civic decision-making,” the forum added.

The Legatum Prosperity Index, which is the tool we used for our ranking, uses nine categories such as the economy, education, entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, health, personal freedom, safety and security, social capital and natural environment to reshape the meaning of national prosperity, according to its website.

Here are the world's 30 most prosperous countries.

29. Costa Rica (it ranks 64th on economic quality, in a list of 147 countries.) Creative Commons CC0
28. Uruguay. (Since the Prosperity Index's inception, this country has moved up the rankings table by four places.) Creative Commons CC0
27. Estonia (This country has fallen by one position from 26 to 27 when compared to 2016.) Creative Commons CC0
26. Czech Republic (It ranks 10th for personal freedom.) Creative Commons CC0
25. Portugal (the world's number 10 country for personal freedom.)Creative Commons CC0
24. Hong Kong. (It performs best on "Business Environment" and "Safety & Security" but receives low scores on the Natural Environment pillar.)Creative Commons CC0
23. Japan. (This country fares better on "Safety & Security" and "Health" and scores poorly on the "Social Capital" pillar.)Creative Commons CC0
22. Malta. (The world’s number 76 country for natural environment.)Creative Commons CC0
21. Slovenia. (The world’s number 2 for natural environment.)Creative Commons CC0
20. Spain. (it's the world's number 12 country for safety and security.)Creative Commons CC0
19. France. (It is ranked number four for natural environment.) Creative Commons CC0
18. United States. (The world’s second best country for business environment.)Creative Commons CC0