PER CAPITA INCOME: Definition & What You Must Know

Per Capita Income
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The amount of money made per individual in a country or area of the world is expressed as per capita income. Per capita income is used to figure out how much the average person in an area makes and to figure out how well people live and how good their lives are. By dividing the nation’s national income by its population, one can get the per capita income of a country. Read further for more information on per capita income.

Per Capita Income 

The amount of money made by each resident in a particular area is measured by the per capita income of that region (for example, a nation, state, city, or other). It tells what a person’s median income is in a country, a state, or a certain area. By doing this, we can get a better idea of how the local people live and how good their lives are overall.

Every individual is considered when determining a nation’s per capita income. Men, women, kids, and infants are all factored into the computation. This is mostly because the assessment takes into account the population of the whole nation or a particular geographic area.

The Importance of Per Capita Income

Per capita income is the amount of money that each person makes within a nation or geographic region. To find out how much the average person in a region makes and to figure out how well people live and what their standard of living is one must use PCI. To find The PCI of a country divide its total income by the number of people living there.

For measuring PCI, the population includes everyone, even newborns. This is different from other measures of economic well-being, such as household income, which counts all the people living in a single home as a household, and family income, which counts as a family all the people living in a single home who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption.

American Per Capita Income

The US Census Bureau surveys per-capita income once every ten years and updates its data every September. The census uses annual total income to calculate the median average for 15-year-olds and older. The census includes self-employment, earnings and salaries, interest and dividends, trusts and estates, and government payments (Social Security, public assistance, welfare, survivor, and disability benefits). Employer health care, loans, insurance premiums, donations, food stamps, public housing, capital gains, medical bills, and tax refunds are not avaliable. In 2020, the per-person income in the United States was $39052, according to the Census. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the PCI in 2020 will be lower than the $67,521 median household income.

Each fact has advantages of its own. Per capita income helps analyze enormous populations like the US’s more than 330 million people. The median household income removes outliers that could affect data on income inequality and poverty.

Uses of Per Capita Income

To assess the prosperity of a region one must use Income per capita. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) uses income per person and median household income to determine the wealthiest counties. 

A region’s PCI affects affordability. Real estate statistics can determine if typical homes are too expensive for the ordinary household. Manhattan and San Francisco have high property price-to-income ratios. 

Based on per-capita income, businesses can determine where to open. The corporation may sell more goods in a high-income municipality if its residents have more disposable income. 

Limitations of Per Capita Income 

Although being a popular measure,  per capita income has some limitations.

#1.Quality of Life

Because it divides the population’s total income by the number of people, per capita income doesn’t always precisely reflect the standard of living. Or, to put it another way, the information may be failing to account for economic inequality.

Imagine a community with a total of 50 residents earning $500,000 per year and 1,000 individuals earning $25,000 per year. The per capita income is ($500,000 * 50) plus (1,000 * $25,000), where the total income is $50,000,000. The town’s per-person income is $47,619, which is by dividing $50,000,000 by 1,050.

The standard of living for everyone who lives in the town, however, is not fully reflected by the amount of money earned per person. Imagine if local governments gave federal aid or other kinds of help based on how much each person made. In our example, the neighborhood might not receive essential aid, such as housing and food assistance, if the income limit for aid was $47,000 or less.

#2. Inflation

Inflation does not affect per capita income. If a country’s per capita income rose from $50,000 to $55,000 the next year, the population’s annual earnings would rise by 10%. The real income increase would have been 6% if inflation had been 4%. Inflation barely affects consumer purchasing power and income growth.PCI overstates an economy’s richness.

#3. Foreign Comparative Studies

Currency rates may distort cost of living comparisons. It is often argued that per capita income should be adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) to reduce the influence of exchange rates. In other economies, bartering and other non-monetary activities aren’t included in per capita income.

#4. Resources and Savings

The wealth or savings of an individual are not represented by the PCI. For instance, even when wealthy person has a little annual income and doesn’t work, they nonetheless use their money to maintain a high standard of living. Using the per capita metric, the wealthy person would seem to have a low income.

#5. Children

Children are included in the population’s per capita calculation, although they are not given any money. The results would be skewed because more people in countries with more children than in countries with fewer children divide their money among more people.

#6. Economic Stability

The amount of money earned per person does not always indicate how well off a country’s citizens are.PCI doesn’t account for employment conditions, hours, education, or health insurance. This can result in a misrepresentation of the general welfare of the community.

It’s important to keep in mind that factors such as median income, income by location, and the percentage of the population living in poverty should be included with PCI when calculating the level of income of a nation.

How Do We Calculate per Capita Income? 

This equation is used to figure out a region’s per capita income.

PCI is calculated as the total income for the population divided by the population of a given area.

Which Country Is No 1 in per Capita Income?

The European country of Luxembourg is the richest country in the world. These conclusions are based on each nation’s gross domestic product per person. They are number one in per capita income. The GDP per capita is by dividing the total GDP of a country by its population. This yields the GDP value per person within a nation. A country’s GDP per capita is a great measure to gauge its richness because it takes the quality of life into account. You can reliably identify which country is richer than another by comparing the GDP per capita of two different nations, taking a few other things into account. Focusing on Luxembourg specifically, the report from October 2021 showed that the GDP per capita hit a record-breaking $131,300 US dollars.

Is It Good to Have a High per Capita Income? 

In comparison to a town with a low per capita income, the corporation may have a higher chance of making money from the sale of its products if the residents of the high-income town have more disposable income.

Why Is per Capita Income Calculated in Us Dollars? 

The per capita income is calculate in US dollars because the US dollar is the most important currency in the world. All across the world, people accept it as a form of payment.

Does the US Have the #1 Economy? 

The economy of the United States is a mixed market that is highly developed. By nominal GDP, it has the largest economy in the world, while it ranks second after China in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). Since about 2022, it has had the eighth-highest nominal and PPP per capita GDP in the world.

Why Us per Capita Income Is So High? 

Real GDP per capita in the United States is significantly greater than in other major industrialized nations as a result of the country’s higher real GDP growth rate, which has been sustained over a longer period of time. In 2015, the United States’ real GDP per person was $56,000.

In terms of purchasing power, Italy had a real GDP per capita of just $36,000, $41,000 in France, and $47,000 in Germany in the same year. So, the official estimates of real GDP show that the United States has had higher real growth rates than the main industrialized countries in Europe and Asia.


Unlike to other economic measurements that evaluate income relevant to employment, per capita income accounts for every individual within a community or specific place. It suggests that, while calculating PCI, non-working individuals, such as the homeless or children, are taken into account. This means that especially when compared to average employment income per country, PCI is a less accurate measure of average national income.


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