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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Nations with highest per capita income

July 24, 2008
India's per capita income is almost Rs 40,000 ($950) per year, according to the latest figures released by the World Bank.
This has been calculated using the World Bank Atlas method that employs official exchange rates for conversion.
India's per capita income has more than doubled from $460 in 2000-01 to $950 in 2007 due to strong economic growth.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram had recently stated that India's per capita income could double every 9 years. By 2016-17, the country's per capita would be at $2,000; and by 2025, per capita would be $4,000 if India grows at 9 per cent.
At $950 per capita income per year, India ranks a poor 160th in the world.
According to the World Bank categories: Nations with per capita income (PCI) less than $935 are 'low income;' nations with PCI from $936 to $3,705 are 'lower middle income;' those with PCI from $3,706 to $11,455 are 'upper middle income;' and those with PCI from $11,456 or more are 'high income.'
So which are the world's richest nations, or people, in terms of per capita income? And where do India's neighbours like China and Pakistan stand?


Strange, as it might seem, the World Bank ranks nations, sometimes without giving their actual per capita income. No explanation is given by the World Bank, other than a footnote that says: �2007 data not available; ranking is approximate.'
However, information gleaned from other sources bears out the World Bank ranking.
So the nation with the highest per capita income in the world is Liechtenstein, a small country bordering Switzerland and Austria. Liechtenstein's per capita income is about $80,000 per annum.
The principality has an industrialised economy, with banking and financial services being the mainstay. Tourism too is a major revenue earner for the nation.
The personal income tax rates in Liechtenstein too are exceedingly low: basic income tax rate is 1.2 per cent on income up to 200,000 Swiss Francs, and maximum is 5 per cent on income over 2 million Swiss Francs a year.

2. Bermuda

Bermuda is tourist's delight, located in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Bermuda's per capita income is almost 50 per cent more than that of the United States. The tiny island nation's per capita income stands at just above $78,000. It has the second highest PCI in the world.
Bermuda is a major financial centre and is particularly attractive because of its low taxation rates. Financial services is the nation's largest industry, followed by tourism.


Norway's per capita income stands at $76,450, which is the third highest in the world.
Norway has a mixed economy consisting of state-owned businesses and a robust free market. It's a high developed and industrialized state. Fishing, petroleum, hydel power, minerals contribute heavily to the nation's GDP.


Luxembourg's per capita income is at $75,880. That makes it the world's fourth highest PCI.
Luxembourg is located in Europe and is bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany.
The nation has highly developed industrial and financial sectors.


The per capita income of Qataris is $60,000, the fifth highest in the world.
Qatar is an Arab emirate located in the Persian Gulf.
The nation's economy mainly depends on its huge oil and natural gas reserves. There is no income tax in Qatar.


The Swiss enjoy a financially comfortable life, with a per capita income of $59,880. Switzerland ranks sixth in the World Bank's per capita income rankings.
Switzerland, a truly capitalist economy, has many giant banks and multinational corporations. It also has highly developed industries in sectors like pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machine parts, electronics, precision instruments, banking, tourism, etc. Dairy farming too is an age old industry in Switzerland. It has very low tax rates.


Denmark's per capita income is at $54,910. According to World Bank rankings, it is the world's seventh highest PCI.
Denmark has a highly industrialised economy, with robust agricultural and corporate sectors. Despite being one of the most competitive nations, the nation has a very weak financial regulatory system. Also, its labour laws are very lax and tilted heavily in favour of the employers.


At $54,100, the per capita income of Iceland is the world's eighth highest.
Iceland has a very healthy power sector which helps it be a highly industrialised country. Apart from manufacturing, the nation is also taking big strides in the fields of software generation, biotechnology, tourism, and financial services.

Cayman Islands

The per capita income of Cayman Islands is more than $48,140 and less than $54,100, as per World Bank figures. It has the 11th highest PCI in the world. At number 9 is Channel Islands and in the 10th spot is Andorra.
The Cayman Islands are situated in the Caribbean Sea. It is a major financial centre and also one of the world's best known tax havens.
The nation's economic mainstays are tourism and financial services.

United States of America

America's per capita income is $46,040. It's the 15th-highest in the world.
The United States is mostly a capitalist economy, with huge mineral and oil reserves, apart from fantastic infrastructure, skilled work force, and the highest number of the world's largest corporations.
The country has highly developed sectors, like banking, financial services, automobile, agriculture, manufacturing, energy, etc.


China's per capita income is $2,360. It ranks 132nd in the world.
China is the world's second largest economy, with its GDP standing at slightly more than $7 trillion. India, by comparison, touched the $1-trillion mark in 2007.
China, the world's factory, has a highly developed manufacturing sector. It has a huge market which acts as a magnet for big multinationals who pour in billions of dollars into the economy to grab a chunk of the massive Chinese market.
The country also has a very well developed telecommunications market, apart from robust agricultural and industrial sectors.


Pakistan's per capita income is at $870. It ranks 163rd in the world.
For the past few years, India's neighbour has been growing at an impressive rate of about 7 per cent. Its economy mainly comprises agriculture, services, telecommunications, software, automotives, textiles, etc.