Top 10 Richest Countries In South America 2020

South America is one of the largest continents in the World and the continent is known to be a region of vast extremes. Even though some countries in the continent are ridden with poverty, crime and deprivation, there still exist some that are enjoying high-income lifestyles, stable economies, thriving ecosystems, and has a large number of highly developed industries.

However, which of these countries occupy the first 10 positions in the list of richest countries in South America? They include: 

Top 10 Richest Countries In South America 2020

1. Chile

  • Income Per Capita: $27,058

The richest country in South America is Chile. The country is one of the most advanced sovereign states in South America known for leading the charge in Latin America when it comes to human development, globalization, low homicide rate, low corruption, and economic freedom. The citizens of the country are also known for enjoying high living standards due to the well-developed economy. The economy of the country is stabilized by mining, business, and personal services, wholesale, retail trade, and manufacturing.

2. Uruguay 

  • Income Per Capita: $24,051

With income per capita of $24,051, Uruguay occupies the second spot in the list of richest countries in South America. The country is known to derive most of her wealth from the exportation of rice, soybeans, frozen beef, malt, milk, and combed wool. Even though the economies of most countries supported by agriculture are known to be fragile, Uruguay’s economy is unique as the economy is majorly stabilized by agricultural products. In addition to being among the richest countries in the continent, the country also ranks first in Latin America in terms of democracy, peace, corruption, and government. In fact, the country is the first in the continent when it comes to press freedom, size of the middle class, and prosperity. No wonder, they occupy the second spot in the list.

3. Argentina

  • Income Per Capita: $24,425

Argentina is the third richest country in South America. The country is well known for the quality of beef. However, there is more to the economy of the country than beef exportation. With a population of around 43 million and a diversified economy oriented towards exportation, the country has been praised for managing to put the turmoil of her political and economic past behind in order to rank as the second overall when it comes to Human Development Index and third when it comes to income per capita in the continent.

4. Brazil

  • Income Per Capita: $16,662

Being the largest South American country when it comes to population and landmass, Brazil is the fourth richest country in South America. In addition, the country also ranks as the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nation in the continent. Also, the Gross Domestic Product of the country is considered as the ninth-largest in the World. The economy is known to be supported by agriculture, industry, and numerous services. Also, the country is highly endowed with numerous resources including oranges, coffee, sugar cane, cassava and sisal, soybeans, and papayas. This has also earned the country the largest producer and exporter of these resources in the World. Despite the political turbulence and recession experienced in 2014, the economy of the country is gradually coming up.

5. Suriname

  • Income Per Capita: $15,845

Located on the North-Eastern Atlantic Coast of the continent, Suriname is the fifth richest country In South America. The country is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the North, French Guiana to the East, Guyana to the West, and to the South is Brazil. Suriname is also the smallest sovereign state in the continent. The country is also known to be a profitable exporter of aluminum ore, gold, and oil with the majority of the commerce taking place with the Netherlands, United States, Canada, Trinidad, and Tobago, etc. These countries are also considered to be the country’s main trading partners.

6. Columbia

  • Income Per Capita: $15,719

Even though the country is still struggling with meeting up with the big players, the economy of the country is also coming aboard gradually. The country is a home for one of the fastest-growing information technology in the World and this has boosted the Gross Domestic Product of the country with a corresponding decline in poverty. In addition, the country is also endowed with abundant petroleum which currently makes up 45% of all the exports.

7. Peru

  • Income Per Capita: $14,252

The seventh richest country in South America is Peru. Even though the country is well known for her history of oppression, coups, social unrest, and economic instability, the country has made a strong effort in improving global integration and this makes her one of the highest-ranking sovereign states in the continent when it comes to social freedom. The country is also considered as one of the countries with the fastest-growing emerging markets with a diverse economy that is currently experiencing rapid growth in the biotechnology and telecommunications sectors. Currently, Peru also has a poverty rate of just 19 percent and this is one of the lowest in the region.

8. Paraguay

  • Income Per Capita: $14,131

Paraguay has enjoyed the highest economic growth in South America and can now boast of the eighth position with an income per capita of $14,131. The economy of the country is known to be boosted by her export trade. In fact, currently, the country is the sixth-largest soybean producer in the World, second largest producer of stevia, second largest producer of Tung Oil, sixth largest exporter of corn, the tenth-largest exporter of wheat and 8th largest exporter of beef. However, other contributors include the energy, automobile, clothing industries.

9. Ecuador

The economy of the ninth richest country in South America is known to depend heavily on agricultural products and petroleum with bananas, coffee, rice, potatoes, cassava, plantains, and sugar canes. The country is also widely endowed with abundant wildlife and biodiversity. Because of this, tourism has increased drastically in the country and this is also a major contributor to the economy.

10. Guyana

  • Income Per Capita: $8,524

The last country on the list is Guyana. It is the third smallest sovereign state located on mainland South America. The majority of the country’s wealth is known to be derived from the export of agricultural products including rice, sugar, gold, timber, etc. 


Just like numerous other continents in the World, South America is also endowed with both rich and poor countries.