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A choropleth map showing gross median per-capita income at purchasing power parity, based on data from Gallup.
Gross median per-capita income at purchasing power parity, based on 2006–2012 data from Gallup

Per capita income (PCI) or average income measures the average income earned per person in a given area (city, region, country, etc.) in a specified year.

In many countries, per capita income is determined using regular population surveys, such as the American Community Survey.[1] This allows the calculation of per capita income for both the country as a whole and specific regions or demographic groups. However, comparing per capita income across different countries is often difficult, since methodologies, definitions and data quality can vary greatly.[2][3] Since the 1990s, the OECD has conducted regular surveys among its 38 member countries using a standardized methodology and set of questions.[3]

Per capita income is often used to measure a sector's average income and compare the wealth of different populations. Per capita income is also often used to measure a country's standard of living. When used to compare income levels of different countries, it is usually expressed using a commonly used international currency, such as the euro or United States dollar. It is one of the three components of the Human Development Index of a country.


While per capita income can be useful for many economic studies, it is important to keep in mind its limitations.

See also


  1. ^ "American Community Survey and Puerto Rico Community Survey: 2021 Subject Definitions". U.S. Census Bureau. p. 90. Retrieved 2024-01-28.
  2. ^ "The world's richest countries in 2023". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2024-01-28.
  3. ^ a b Förster, Michael; d'Ercole, Marco (2012). Besharov, Douglas J.; Couch, Kenneth A. (eds.). Counting the poor: new thinking about European poverty measures and lessons for the United States. International policy exchange series. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-19-986058-6.