Monday, November 12, 2012

World Top 7 Self-Made Rich Persons - Immigrant Millionaires

World Top 7 Self-Made Rich Persons - Immigrant Millionaires

Immigrants make up 13% of the U.S. population. They come here in pursuit of the American Dream, an opportunity for a better life in exchange for hard work. For many, their unique skills and fresh perspectives lead them to entrepreneurship.

That may explain why one small-business owner in six in the U.S. is an immigrant, according to a recent report by the Fiscal Policy Institute's Immigration Research Initiative. Professional and business services, such as waste-disposal services and office administration and cleaning, boast the largest number of immigrant business owners, followed by retail, construction, educational and social services, and leisure and hospitality industries. "Immigrants are such a varied group with people from countries all around the world that have a wide range of skill sets . . . and these [fields] have always been a natural fit" both locally and nationally, says David Dyssegaard Kallick, director of FPI's Immigration Research Initiative.

The seven entrepreneurs featured here come from diverse backgrounds. They made their millions (and, in one case, billions) in industries ranging from Internet technology to restaurant services. Here are their stories.

01. Josie Natori

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Age: 64
Country of origin: Philippines
Occupation: Founder and CEO, the Natori Company

Her advice to immigrant entrepreneurs: "There is no better place in the world for an immigrant to succeed than in the U.S. Follow your dream and make it happen."

Moving from the Philippines to Westchester, N.Y., to attend Manhattanville College in 1964 was a complete culture shock for Natori. "The cold winters, the food and the sense of humor were just different. I was very homesick," she told Kiplinger. But it never stopped her.

After earning an economics degree, she went to work for Bache & Company on Wall Street, moving to Merrill Lynch in 1971. But climbing the corporate ladder wasn't enough. "While I loved the [corporate] culture, I also had a very strong desire to build something myself," she says.

In 1974, Natori became a U.S. citizen. And after giving birth to a son in 1976, she and her husband Ken brainstormed a variety of ideas for starting her own business -- from opening a car wash to running a McDonald's franchise. It was by chance in 1977, however, that she would become a high-end women’s sleepwear designer after showing a nightgown (made from what was originally a hand-embroidered blouse) to a buyer at Bloomingdale's.

In the early days, Natori ran her company solo. "It's easy to take for granted the amount of work that goes into [making] the clothes you see in stores," she says. "There are so many elements -- from the design concept to production -- that all need to work in order to make something happen." Today, she has nearly 400 employees. Her husband is chairman, and her son, Kenneth, is vice-president of finance and e-commerce. Her business has expanded to include fragrances, eyewear and home décor. In 2011, Natori teamed up with mass retailer Target for a budget-friendly line of lingerie and loungewear. That same year, her company generated $150 million in retail sales.

"Some people may see their immigrant status as an obstacle," she says. "I have always viewed it as one of my biggest assets. Natori is unique in the design world, because of its East-meets-West aesthetic. All of that is due to my background and heritage." 06 more after the break...

02. Lowell Hawthorne

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Age: 52
Country of origin: Jamaica
Occupation: Founder and CEO, Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill

His advice to immigrant entrepreneurs: "Anybody can achieve the American dream. You've got to be focused, educated, have discipline, and just go for it."

Shortly after moving to the Bronx from Jamaica in 1981, Hawthorne, 21, green card in hand, landed a job as an assistant stock handler with the New York Police Department. He earned an associate's degree in accounting from Bronx Community College and was eventually promoted to accountant. But entrepreneurship beckoned.

Hawthorne had watched his father operate a bakery in his native Jamaica and knew he wanted to work alongside family. So he pitched the idea for Golden Krust, a Caribbean-themed, family-style eatery, to his seven brothers and sisters who had also come to the U.S. At first, they couldn't get a small business loan. "The banks were hesitant to grant loans to new restaurants because of the failure rate -- especially niche restaurants such as ours," Hawthorne recalls. "We also didn't have a lot of personal assets to guarantee the loan." So the siblings took out second mortgages on their homes and borrowed money from family and friends, raising $107,000. In 1989, the first Golden Krust restaurant opened in the Bronx. In 1991, Hawthorne left his job with the NYPD for good. The next year, he became a U.S. citizen.

There are now more than 100 Golden Krust locations in nine states along the Eastern seaboard. Hawthorne and Golden Krust have been profiled in major publications such as The New York Times, the Washington Post and Black Enterprise magazine. In 2011, the company generated $100 million in revenue. Hawthorne says in addition to opening more franchises, there are plans to expand the company with a line of cooking sauces.

"Risks not taken are opportunities missed," he says. "You've always got to take calculated risks in entrepreneurship.”

03. Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Age: 65
Country of origin: Austria
Occupation: Hollywood actor and former California governor

His advice to immigrant entrepreneurs: Don't let others' negativity discourage you from achieving your goals.

"Aw-nold" wasn't always a famous face with a big bank account. He's originally from Thal, Austria, and immigrated to the United States in 1968 at age 21. His meal ticket back then was body-building. Schwarzenegger would eventually become a five-time Mr. Universe and seven-time Mr. Olympia champion, which helped open many doors for him -- especially in Hollywood. From 1969 to 1980, he was cast in a series of small roles in films such as "Hercules in New York" and "Stay Hungry." When he was cast as the title character in the 1982 film "Conan the Barbarian," Schwarzenegger's acting career took off. He became a U.S. citizen in 1983. One year later, he starred in "The Terminator" and has gone on to star in more than 20 films.

Schwarzenegger's entrepreneurial ventures include the Arnold Sports Festival, which he started in 1989 and is held annually in Columbus, Ohio. It hosts thousands of international health and fitness professionals and has expanded into a three-day expo. He was one of the founding celebrity shareholders in the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain that opened in 1991. Schwarzenegger also owns Oak Productions, Inc., a movie production company, and Fitness Publications, a publishing interest with Simon & Schuster.

In 2003, he ran for governor of California, and won, ultimately serving two terms. Today, Schwarzenegger is worth an estimated $300 million. His films have grossed $1.6 billion domestically. In October, he published his memoir "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story."

Earlier this year, he was profiled in ESPN's "30 for 30" short documentary-film series. During that interview, Schwarzenegger discussed how early in his career, he refused to let naysayers stop him from pursuing his dreams: "I didn't pay any attention to it. . . I did not listen to the 'no' . . . and it worked out. I used that attitude as a blueprint for the rest of my life."

04. Shama Kabani

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Age: 27
Country of origin: India
Occupation: Founder and CEO, the Marketing Zen Group

Her advice to immigrant entrepreneurs: "If you have an idea, put it out there and then figure out how to improve it. Look beyond the bottom line and toward the bigger impact."

Kabani came with her family to the United States from India in 1994 at age 9. Kabani's father drove a taxi, and her mother ran a café, which she later turned into a Subway franchise. "I saw them work hard and doubly so because they were in a new country trying to adjust. They worked very long hours, and I was a latchkey kid well into high school," she told Kiplinger. By age 10, Kabani had started her first business selling gift wrapping paper, with her younger sister working as her assistant.

In 2008, she earned a master's in organizational communications from the University of Texas at Austin, where she wrote her thesis on the impact of Twitter and social media. "When I finished grad school, I knew I wanted a job in social media. I applied to several companies, but no one would hire me." The demand for social media professionals simply there yet. Instead of letting rejection discourage her, Kabani founded the Marketing Zen Group, a full-service online marketing and digital PR firm.

Today, Kabani's company has gone from being a one-woman show to employing 30, including her husband Arshil, who serves as vice president and legal counsel. In 2011, annual sales reached around $1 million, a figure that is expected to double in 2012. Kabani has been featured in national publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek and Entrepreneur.

Kabani took her oath to become a naturalized citizen on October 29. "It's been a long process that took three years,” she says. Her husband is a natural-born citizen, so she was able to apply through him. For other aspiring immigrant entrepreneurs, Kabani advises: "Pursue entrepreneurship if you have a passion for something. A lot of people see it as a way to make money -- and it shouldn't always be about that."

05. Sergey Brin

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Age: 39
Country of origin: Russia
Occupation: Co-founder and director of special projects, Google

His advice to immigrant entrepreneurs: "Success will come from simplicity."

During a wave of resurgent anti-Semitism, Brin's family left Moscow for America in 1979 when he was 6 years old. They settled in Adelphi, Md. Brin followed in the footsteps of his father, a mathematician and economist, by earning a B.A. in mathematics and computer science in 1993 at the University of Maryland. From there, it was on to Stanford University where Brin received a masters of science and Ph.D. It was at Stanford that he met Larry Page. The now-legendary duo later came up with the idea for Google, launching the search engine in 1998. When the company went public in 2004 (opening at $85 per share), Brin became a billionaire overnight. His net worth is now $22.5 billion.

These days, Brin continues to innovate. Google teamed up with fashion designer Diane von Furstenburg during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week earlier this year. The models in her show captured their runway experience wearing Google Glass, technology-driven eyewear that allows users to take pictures and send messages. The product has generated lots of interest in the tech world. In September, his company also announced its newest project, Google for Entrepreneurs. It's aimed at connecting business owners with local programs and online resources to help their companies get off the ground.

In 2007, Brin was included in a CNN Money feature that asked several prominent entrepreneurs to share how they were able to achieve such success and stay ahead of the curve. He stressed how keeping things simple at Google -- focusing on a few small projects and doing them really well -- has helped the company become a household name: "Technology has this way of becoming overly complex, but simplicity was one of the reasons that people gravitated to Google initially . . . success will come from simplicity."

06. Carlos Castro

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Age: 58
Country of origin: El Salvador
Occupation: President and CEO, Todos Supermarket

His advice to immigrant entrepreneurs: "Never let discrimination be an excuse for not being successful."

Castro fled to California from civil war-torn El Salvador in 1980 at age 26, forced to leave his wife and young children behind. "At the time, I worked in the factories. The guerilla unions were taking over the factories and the jobs . . . there were many kidnappings and killings," he told Kiplinger.

Castro, who entered the U.S. illegally, eventually landed in the Washington, D.C.-area. He worked as a janitor and as a dishwasher and cook at a restaurant before becoming a legal resident in 1986. He started working construction and saved enough money to reunite with his family in D.C. By 1987, he had opened a small construction business of his own.

In 1988, a family friend suggested that he and his wife Gladis start a Hispanic grocery store. The couple spent the next couple of years trying to learn as much as possible about starting a small business. Once they had enough money, they opened the first Todos Supermarket in Woodbridge, Va., in 1990.

The first year was rough. Money was tight, and both Carlos and Gladis still had to work other jobs to help make ends meet at home. "My wife was making more cleaning houses than we were at the first store," Castro recalls. He eventually turned things around and opened a second Todos location in Alexandria, Va., in 1998. By 2001, business had grown so much that he had to move the first store from its 5,000-square-foot space to a 15,000-square-foot building. "That's when profits really started to roll in," Castro says. In 2007, he opened another location in Dumfries, Va.

Todos Supermarkets took in $15.9 million last year and projects sales of about $18 million for 2012. When it comes to starting your own company, there will be plenty of naysayers, Castro says. "That's why it's important to always believe in yourself."

07. Jose Wilfredo Flores

Courtesy of Poon Watchara-Amphaiwan

Age: 42
Country of origin: El Salvador
Occupation: Owner and founder, W Concrete

His advice to immigrant entrepreneurs: "Do it right and nobody can stop you."

At the age of 14, Flores made a month-long pilgrimage from El Salvador to Philadelphia to escape the country's brutal civil war. If he had remained in his homeland, he would've had one of two options: Join the guerillas or join the army. "The guerillas would come to our house," Flores told Kiplinger. "We had to hide. You couldn't say no because then they would think you were on the army's side and shoot you. A few hours later, the army guys would come and say, 'We want food. We want to take you.' If you said no, they'd think you were with the guerillas."

When he arrived in the U.S., he was crammed into a U-Haul truck with other illegal immigrants. The truck was pulled over by police. Most of the van's occupants were detained, but Flores was released because of he was a minor. He made his way to Washington, D.C., where his uncle and 18-year-old brother lived. "I came to America with no shoes, no nothing -- not even a dollar.”

Upon arriving in D.C., Flores worked part-time cleaning offices while attending Lincoln Middle School. “I didn’t have enough money to buy a French fry,” he says. At 15, he left school to work full-time in construction, using falsified documents that said he was 18. “Fake ID, fake Social Security, everything was fake. Nobody checked,” he says. He later became eligible for a legal work permit (he is now a U.S. citizen). By age 25, he had learned the concrete business and was supervising a crew of 50, earning more than $60,000 a year. Despite having secured himself a good job, Flores dreamed of starting his own business.

Ten years ago, he used savings and a line of credit to start W Concrete, in Jessup, Md. One of the company’s first jobs was to pour the concrete for the building that replaced Lincoln Middle School. Last year, the business brought in $6.6 million. "Most Salvadorans are humble people who will do whatever it takes to get ahead," says Flores. "In my country, there's no opportunity for poor people. The rich get richer and richer. The poor will always be poor and poor. Here, do it right and nobody can stop you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Top Ten Most Educated Countries in the World

The Top Ten Most Educated Countries in the World

College graduation rates continued to improve around the world during the recession, according to a recent international economic study. In more developed countries, the percentage of adults with the equivalent of a college degree rose to more than 30% in 2010. In the United States, it was more than 40%, which is among the highest percentages in the world. However, improvements in higher education are harder to achieve in these countries. More developed economies have had the most educated populations for some time. While these countries have steadily increased education rates, the increases have been modest compared to developing economies. At just above 1%, the U.S. has had one of the smallest annual growth rates for higher education since 1997. In Poland, an emerging market, the annualized rate was 7.2% from 1997 to 2010.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Education at a Glance 2012 report calculated the proportion of residents with a college or college equivalent degree in the group’s 34 member nations and other major economies. Based on the report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 countries with the highest proportion of adults with a college degree.

The majority of countries that spend the most on education have the most educated populations. As in previous years, the best educated countries tend to spend the most on tertiary education as a percentage of gross domestic product. The United States and Canada, among the most educated countries, spend the first and third most respectively.

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Among the 10 countries with the highest proportion of educated adults, unemployment rates for those with a college equivalent ranged from 2.8% in Australia to 5.4% in the Canada. In each country, the rate remained lower than that country’s national average. The OECD provided information on the percentage of residents aged 25 to 64 with a tertiary education for each of its 34 member countries, as well as for eight other nations. 2010 statistics on educational attainment, graduation rates, GDP per capita and unemployment rates also were provided by the OECD. The latest figures covering country-level education expenditure are from 2009. These are some most educated countries in the world after the break...

01. Canada

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Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 51%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 2.4% (5th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $39,050 (11th highest)

Canada is the only nation where more than half of all adults had a tertiary education in 2010. This was up from 40% of the adult population in 2000, when the country also ranked as the world’s most educated. Canada has managed to become a world leader in education without being a leader in education spending, which totaled just 6.1% of GDP in 2009, or less than the 6.3% average for the OECD. A large amount of its spending went towards tertiary education, on which the country spent 2.5% of GDP, trailing only the United States and South Korea. One of the few areas Canada did not perform well in was attracting international students, who made up just 6.6% of all tertiary students — lower than the OECD’s 8% average.

02. Israel

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Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 46%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): N/A
> GDP per capita: $26,531 (13th lowest)

Israel only joined the OECD in 2010. That year, its GDP per capita was more than $7,000 below the OECD’s average. Despite this, the country’s high school graduation rate was 92% in 2010, well above the OECD’s 84% average. Some 46% of residents had a tertiary education, versus 31% for the OECD. Israel spent 7.2% of GDP on educational institutions in 2009, the sixth most among all nations. And for the first time, preschool education will become free in 2012 even for children as young as three years old, Haaretz newspaper reported. This should benefit Israel as, according to the OECD, “early childhood education is associated with better performance later on in school.”

03. Japan

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Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 45%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 2.9% (10th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $33,785 (18th highest)

In 2009, Japan spent 1.6% of GDP on college or college equivalent education, on par with the OECD’s average, and just 5.2% of GDP on education overall, well below the OECD’s 6.3% average. Despite its relatively light spending, the country still had a high school graduation rate of 96%, the second best among all nations in 2010, while the percentage of its population with a tertiary education was 14 percentage points higher than the OECD’s average. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, recent university graduates in Japan have struggled to find work, with 15% those graduating in the spring of 2012 neither employed nor enrolled in further education as of August.

04. United States

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Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 42%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 1.3% (2nd lowest)
> GDP per capita: $46,548 (4th highest)

Although the U.S. is one of just a few nations where more than 40% of people had a tertiary education in 2010, its education system is not without problems. Among the concerns, the graduation rate for upper secondary students in 2010 was 77%, well below the average rate of 84% for the OECD. Even though graduation rates were relatively low, the U.S. is one of the biggest spenders on education, with related expenditures equaling 7.3% of GDP in 2009. The U.S. was also the world’s largest spender on tertiary education in 2009, at 2.6% of GDP. The majority of funds for higher education, totaling 1.6% of GDP, came from private sources.

05. New Zealand

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Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 41%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 3.5% (13th highest)
> GDP per capita: $29,711 (17th lowest)

The tiny country’s population has grown 13.2% between 2000 and 2010, as has the country’s education system. The number of people with a college or college equivalent education rose from 29% to 41% over the period. The country also has become a destination of choice for international students, who made up 14.2% of tertiary students in 2010. New Zealand is also a leader in educating scientists, with 16% of students choosing a science for their field of study at the tertiary level — the highest proportion of any country.

06. South Korea

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Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 40%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 5.2% (6th highest)
> GDP per capita: $28,797 (16th lowest)

Between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of South Koreans with a college education or more rose from 24% to 40%. In addition to being well-educated, many residents also invested considerable amounts towards their schooling. In 2009, only Iceland spent more than South Korea’s 8% of GDP. That year, no country in the study contributed more private funds for education at all levels than South Korea, at 3.1% of GDP, or for tertiary education, at 1.9%. Despite the investment, education does not appear to have a measurable impact on job seekers. The unemployment rate in 2010 for those with a tertiary degree was 3.3% — low relative to the OECD average of 4.7%, but not much lower than the 3.7% rate for all workers in the country.

07. United Kingdom

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Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 38%
> Average annual growth rate: 4.0% (10th highest)
> GDP per capita: $35,756 (15th highest)

Between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of U.K. residents with a tertiary education rose 12 percentage points. The country’s universities are also popular among students from other nations. International students make up 16% of enrollment. The country recently has had a shift in how education is financed. While in 2000 the percentage of funds from private sources was 14.8%, it rose to 31.1% by 2009. Students also must cover more of the cost of higher education than in the past, as the cap on tuition fees was raised from 3,290 pounds to 9,000 pounds for the 2012-2013 year.

08. Finland

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Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 38%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 1.8% (4th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $36,307 (14th highest)

Finland spent 6.4% of its gross domestic product on education in 2009, with 97.6% of these funds coming from public sources, more than any country in the report. Between 2000 and 2010, high school graduation rates rose by just two percentage points, while the number of people with a college education or more rose by just six percentage points. As a result, Finland fell from fourth to eighth place among the world’s most educated countries. Finnish workers with a tertiary education were far more likely to be employed than those without such an education — the unemployment rate was 4.4% for residents with a degree and 8.4% for those without.

09. Australia

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Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 38%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 3.2% (12th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $40,790 (6th highest)

Australia is a preferred destination for many international students, which is why it should come as no surprise that they accounted for 21.2% of the country’s tertiary students in 2010, higher than every country other than Luxembourg. Finding a job in the country is not especially hard for those with a college degree. The country had an unemployment rate of just 2.8% in 2010 for workers with a tertiary degree, compared to a rate of just 5.2% for all workers.

10. Ireland

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Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 37%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 7.3% (the highest)
> GDP per capita: $40,478 (7th highest)

From 2000 through 2010, the percentage of people with a college education or more in Ireland nearly doubled, rising at an annual average of 7.3% — faster than any country in the study. High school graduation rates also rose during that time, from 74% to 94%. Education has become especially critical for male job seekers in Ireland’s workforce, as 6.3% of men with a tertiary education were unemployed in 2010 versus 15.2% for all men nationwide.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Top Ten World’s Friendliest Countries

Top Ten World’s Friendliest Countries

01. Ireland

Centuries of turmoil, conquest, famine and subsequent immigration have certainly taken their toll on the Irish: it’s left them with a deliciously dark sense of humour and a welcoming attitude towards strangers. That famous ability of the Irish to find craic (fun times) in boom or bust times means you’re always in for a treat.
Here is the list of top ten friendliest countries of the world,
02. Samoa

What’s this? Samoa reckons they have ‘the world’s friendliest people’? Hmmm, trouble is there’s no ratifying body for such a claim, meaning the Samoans have to contend with the challenge of Fiji, which also self-applies the title. Though readers can rest assured that Samoa harbours lovely and warm people.

03. United States

Blamed for the coming of World War III, the Anti-Christ, Bon Jovi, Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson, rampant street crime and noise pollution through overloud talking, Americans just take it all in their stride. Americans may be patriotic and love their country but they’ll invariably welcome you and help you get the best out of the United States.

04. Malawi

Whereas other African nations are beset by tribal war and fighting, Malawians describe themselves as ‘the friendliest people in Africa. Anyone who’s visited will know that the rare (for Africa) cohesion of the country’s ethnic groups is solid evidence for this, as is the people’s propensity to welcome you into their homes as well as their nation.

05. Fiji

Fijians have got plenty to smile about lush islands, kaleidoscopic reefs, cobalt sea, a wealth of marine life, world-class diving, romantic coastlines, awesome cuisine and they love to spread the love around. Fijians have a rep for helping all travellers feel welcome, thereby allowing you to uncover the best from this sprawling group of islands.

06. Indonesia

It’s hard to make generalisations about a country that contains so many different cultures still, a cliché you’ll hear often is that Indonesian people greet foreigners with open arms. Fact is they do, but the media limelight is stolen by the knack of their law-enforcement officers for welcoming drug dealers and bomb makers in an altogether different ritual.

07. Vietnam

Vietnam’s another country inextricably caught up in Western images and stereotypes: napalm death; tormented American soldiers; assassins hiding in the rice fields. But Vietnam put all that behind it a long time ago and is now on a drive to become the new ‘Asian’ tiger economy.

08. Thailand

Southeast Asia’s most-visited country is bound to offer up a welter of stereotypes and clichès. Here are some of them: dazzling islands and beaches; lush and balmy weather; great shopping and great food; the ‘France of Asia’. The Thai people’s gracious hospitality does indeed take some beating.

09. Scotland

Scotland’s becoming the destination for visitors to the British Isles, winning out over London. The Scots have survived English invasion, brutal weather and the pain of having the world’s worst goalkeepers. This fighting spirit against insurmountable odds has left them with an extroverted, buoyant demeanour and a blackly humorous nationalism.

10. Turkey

It’s a shame that for such a long time the Western world’s image of Turkey revolved around the drug-smuggling film Midnight Express. Thankfully, we can report the Turkish people actually have an unsurpassed reputation for hospitality. With their heavenly cuisine, dreamy coastline and historical sites, the Turks know there’s no reason to be secretive.

Top 10 Hardest Working Countries of the World

Top 10 Hardest Working Countries of the World

10. Slovenia

Average Hours Worked: 8.15

Slovenia rounds out the top 10 in terms of average hours worked among the population of OECD member states, possibly as a result of the fact that Slovenians do three hours and 51 minutes of unpaid work each day, 24 minutes more than the OECD average. Slovenia also has the lowest income inequality in OECD and the ninth – lowest relative income poverty rate at 7.8 percent of its population. Slovenia registered a big fall in infant mortality in the last generation and has the second lowest rate in the OECD of 2.1 per 1,000 live births, just after Luxembourg. But the country is rated in the highest third of the OECD for perceived corruption and the lowest third for confidence in national institutions. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) released its ‘Society at a Glance’ survey, which investigated the number of hours the population of its member countries spent in both paid and unpaid work (defined as working at home or doing volunteer work), as well as how much time people spent in leisure activities. Lets take a look at which countries are among the world’s busiest and hardest-working nations? 09 more countries after the break...

09. USA

Average Hours Worked: 8.16

According to the OECD the U.S. is only ranked ninth among the hardest working nations. However, at $31,000, the U.S. has the second – highest average household income after taxes and benefits in the OECD, after Luxembourg. But U.S. income is distributed relatively unequally, with both the fourth – highest rate of income inequality and relative poverty (17.3 percent of people are poor compared to an OECD average of 11.1 percent) in the OECD. People in the U.S. have a life expectancy of 77.9 years, lower than the OECD average of 79.3 years, despite having the highest public and private spending on health at 16 percent of GDP, considerably higher than the OECD average of 9 percent.

08. New Zealand

Average Hours Worked: 8.18

New Zealand may not be famed for its work ethic, but it actually ranks quite high. Unpaid work in New Zealand accounts for 43 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the third highest in the OECD after Australia (46 percent) and Portugal (53 percent). Along with Israel, Iceland and Turkey, New Zealand is one of only four OECD countries with a fertility rate at 2.14 children per woman, sufficient to replace the population in the coming generation.

07. China

Average Hours Worked: 8.24

The research also included non-OECD member countries such as China, India, South Africa, and Brazil because all are “enhanced engagement countries” — which means OECD members have opted to forge a more structured and coherent partnership with them. The research states that, at less than an hour, both men and women spend very little time on unpaid work in China, in comparison with other countries, particularly in terms of cooking and cleaning. Meanwhile, at 12.29 births per 1,000 of the population, China has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, equal to France and the United Kingdom. The average birth rate stands at 1.54 children per woman.

06. Austria

Average Hours Worked: 8.29

At nearly 8 1/2 hours of work per day, Austrians have the sixth – highest total time spent working – both paid and unpaid – in the OECD. (The OECD average is 8 hours.) Austria also has the fifth – lowest unemployment rate in the OECD at 4.8 percent – far lower than the average OECD rate of 8.1 percent. Austria has low income inequality and poverty rates with around 7.2 percent of the population on relatively low income or classed as being in poverty in both cases.

05. Estonia

Average Hours Worked: 8.36

At 8 hours and 36 minutes, Estonians – yes we did say Estonians – have the fifth – highest total work time in the OECD, well over the OECD average of 8 hours and 4 minutes. At 3 hours and 52 minutes, Estonians do the fourth – highest unpaid work time after Turkey, Mexico and Australia, and well above the OECD average of 3 hours and 28 minutes. However, at 14.1 percent , Estonian unemployment is also the third – highest in the OECD, six percentage points above the OECD average of 8.1 percent.

04. Canada

Average Hours Worked: 8.37

Canadians have the second – highest rate of “positive experiences” in the OECD after Iceland – feeling well-rested, being treated with respect, smiling, doing something interesting, and experiencing enjoyment. At the same time, Canadians have above OECD average “negative experiences,” such as pain, worry, sadness, stress and depression. Canada has the sixth highest proportion of its population foreign-born in the OECD at 20 percent, nearly double the OECD average of 11.7 percent.

03. Portugal

Average Hours Worked: 8.48

While some people might think that the Portuguese live a relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle, they in fact rank among some of the hardest – working in the world. Men do nearly two hours of unpaid work in Portugal, compared to less than an hour in other OECD countries such as Korea and Japan. The amount of time devoted to unpaid work accounts for up to 53 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the country, the highest proportion of all OECD countries, compared to 19 percent of GDP in Korea. Meanwhile, 60 percent of the Portuguese population spends time cooking and cleaning, spending the third largest amount of time on household chores at 110 minutes per day.

02. Japan

Average Hours Worked: 9

The second-hardest working nation among OECD member countries will probably come as no surprise to anybody. Japan’s adherence to its work ethic is legendary with company employees often competing to stay at work later than their colleagues to achieve promotion in many corporations, where company loyalty is demanded and where a job for life still means life. Japanese people work an average 9 – hour day while the unemployment at 5.3 percent is well below the OECD average of 8.1 percent.

01. Mexico

Average Hours Worked: 9.54

Recently, Richard Hammond of the TV program “Top Gear” managed to upset the Mexican Ambassador to the U.K. by suggesting that Mexicans were “lazy, feckless, flatulent [and] overweight”. The OECD’s research, however, may go some way to ward redressing the balance by showing that the Mexican people are in fact the hardest working in the world, working a total of nearly 10 hours on average every day. They also have the second-highest level of income inequality and the highest level of relative poverty among OECD countries.

Information Details About The World's 15 Richest Muslim Countries

Information Details About The World's 15 Richest Muslim Countries
Note: The list is based on gross domestic product at purchasing power parity per capita, the value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given year divided by the average (or mid-year) population for the same year. Data refer mostly to the year 2011. World Development Indicators database, World Bank.] (Photo: REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal)

01. Qatar

GDP (PPP) per capita: $ 88,919 (2011)
(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

02. Kuwait

GDP (PPP) per capita: $54,654 (2011)

03. Brunei

GDP (PPP) per capita: $50,506 (2010)
(Getty Images)

04. United Arab Emirates

GDP (PPP) per capita: $48,222 (2011)
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

05. Oman

GDP (PPP) per capita: $28,880 (2011)

06. Saudi Arabia

GDP (PPP) per capita: $24,434 (2011)

07. Bahrain

GDP (PPP) per capita: $23, 690 (2011)
(ThinkStock Images)

08. Turkey

GDP (PPP) per capita: $16,885 (2011)
(Getty Images)

09. Libya

GDP (PPP) per capita: $16,855 (2009)
(Note: The figures are before the popular uprising in the country)
(Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

10. Malaysia

GDP (PPP) per capita: $15,589 (2011)
(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

11. Lebanon

GDP (PPP) per capita:$14,709 (2011)

12. Kazakhstan

GDP (PPP) per capita:$13,189 (2011)

13. Iran

GDP (PPP) per capita: $11,479 (2009)

14. Azerbaijan

GDP (PPP) per capita: $10,136 (2011)

15. Tunisia

GDP (PPP) per capita: $9,415 (2011)
(Getty Images)

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