I spent 5 days in Monaco. Here's what life looks like in a land so wealthy it doesn't even track poverty rates.
Katie Warren/Business Insider
- Monaco, a tiny city-state on the French Riviera, doesn't track poverty rates.
- This is partially because the principality has no income tax, according to the Monaco Statistics agency.
- But it's also due to the fact that Monaco is so wealthy that poverty essentially does not exist, two local economists told Business Insider.
- An estimated one-third of Monaco residents are millionaires, and the per capita GDP is the second-highest in the world; only Luxembourg's is higher.
- The country, which is smaller than New York City's Central Park, hosts glamorous events each year such as the Monaco Yacht Show and the Monaco Grand Prix.
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Monaco, a tiny city-state on the French Riviera, doesn't track poverty rates.The CIA World Factbook, which records poverty rates for countries around the world, lists "NA" for the portion of Monaco's population living below the poverty line. This is partially due to the fact that the principality has no income tax and therefore no way to measure the income of its residents, a representative for the Monaco Statistics agency told Business Insider.Advertisement
But it's also because Monaco is so lavishly wealthy that there is essentially no poverty to record, two local economists told Business Insider.
In Monaco, which is smaller than New York City's Central Park and which hosts glamorous annual events like the Monaco Yacht Show and the Monaco Grand Prix, an estimated one-third of residents are millionaires. The per capita GDP is $165,420 - the second-highest in the world.Here's what life looks like in the land so wealthy it doesn't even measure poverty.
Monaco, a tiny sovereign city-state on the French Riviera, is so wealthy that it doesn't even measure poverty rates.
But it's also because Monaco is so lavishly wealthy that there is essentially no poverty to record, local economists told Business Insider.Advertisement
Monaco's apparent lack of poverty can be traced to a confluence of factors.
Monaco's lack of personal income tax likely attracts affluent international residents as well — and its mild climate doesn't hurt either.Advertisement
Then there are the robust social programs, including housing subsidies and free education and health care systems.
Monaco's population is one of the wealthiest in the world.Advertisement
So, what does this all really mean — and what does it really look like? I recently spent five days in Monaco, and the wealth was evident from the moment I set foot there.
Each year, Monaco hosts the glamorous Monaco Yacht Show, which brings tens of thousands of yachting industry insiders, as well as buyers and charter customers, to the city-state for four days at the end of September.Advertisement
Tis, the largest yacht on display at this year's show, is a 365-foot behemoth that was built for a Monaco resident who essentially wanted a second home.
The yachts might not all be a constant in Monaco, but the luxury was equally apparent on land. At ultra-luxury hotels like Hotel Hermitage, Hotel de Paris, and Hotel Metropole, you won't find a basic room for less than $400 per night, and many suites cost thousands of dollars.Advertisement
The streets of Monaco are pristine.
Monaco has safety standards so strict that it's been called "the safest square mile in Europe."Advertisement
According to the Monte Carlo tourism website, the rule imposed by Monaco's Prince Rainier is unambiguous: "Monaco must have total security."
The streets of Monaco were filled with impeccably-dressed people from around the world: I heard Americans, British accents, and French, Italian, and Russian speakers.Advertisement
Most of the shopping in Monaco seemed to be catered to millionaires.
While this lack of poverty doesn't exactly translate to beauty — I actually found Monaco to be surprisingly ugly — it does mean that the city looks different from pretty much every other city I have ever visited across the globe.Advertisement
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