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Richest Countries by Per-Capita Income

We have a list of the top 21 richest countries based on per-capita income. How many can you name?
2019. Purchasing power parity. More info here
Last updated: May 06, 2019
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Income
Country
$196,000
Monaco
$135,000
Qatar
$129,000
Liechtenstein
$112,000
Luxembourg
$100,000
Singapore
$84,400
Ireland
$83,900
Brunei
Income
Country
$78,200
United Arab Emirates
$76,100
Norway
$75,200
Kuwait
$65,500
Switzerland
$64,900
United States
$61,500
San Marino
$59,200
Iceland
Income
Country
$58,600
Netherlands
$56,400
Saudi Arabia
$55,500
Sweden
$55,000
Taiwan
$54,900
Austria
$54,600
Australia
$54,200
Germany
+5
level 25
Jan 19, 2013
Woah, 0% for Singapore, that's quite a surprise. Yay, first to get it :D
+1
level 14
Feb 1, 2013
Can't believe I got 100% on this one haha
+2
level 77
Feb 1, 2013
That's it! I'm moving to Qatar.
+2
level 55
Apr 28, 2014
They probably have really strict immigration laws.
+19
level 49
Jun 6, 2014
Actually, Qatar controls citizenship more than immigration. You can move there if you can find somebody who wants to hire you. But you'll never be eligible to become a citizen, no matter how long you're a resident. If you later quit the job, you'll be arrested. Your children, even if born in Qatar, also won't be eligible for citizenship; they'll have the same status you did. Describing the situation as "apartheid" would be a little strong, but only a little; it's definitely not one into which a person would want to place himself and his descendants.
+5
level 19
Sep 1, 2014
doesnt sound like a nice place to live
+9
level 36
Dec 10, 2014
Qatar's immigration/citizenship/labour laws are very harsh. Bad place for labourers.
+3
level 73
Jun 22, 2017
Well, good thing the World Cup will be there in a few years.
+2
level 66
Apr 2, 2018
@ThirdParty: you won't be arrested, you will be given a certain period to find another job and renew your visa or else you'll be deported.
+1
level 75
Apr 3, 2018
3P: your post is a little over dramatic, with some strands of the story you weave I think coming from neighboring countries. It also depends quite a lot on where you are from. Some expat workers in Qatar are treated very well; others are treated little better than slaves. If it's much like Bahrain, though, then on average the expats with less prestigious passports are still better off there than in Saudi Arabia.

The accurate bit is that Gulf states are teeming with immigrants but they are incredibly stingy when it comes to giving out citizenship. There are strict racial, tribal, and nationalistic hierarchies; some written but many unwritten, that influence how you are treated in these countries.
+1
level 75
Apr 3, 2018
some clarity: African and South Asian expats working legally in Saudi Arabia will have a sponsor and they have a lot of restrictions placed on them making it extremely difficult for them to do anything without their sponsor. Employees that find themselves in an abusive relationship with said sponsor might try to escape but if they do the sponsor can file a complaint placing these expats in a difficult legal situation that can take years to resolve.
In Bahrain, however, these same types of expats have a lot more freedom and their rights are better protected. They can move around more easily; I think they can leave the country without their sponsor's approval; and they also can switch jobs much more easily.
I think the situation in Qatar is closer to Bahrain than Saudi Arabia, but I've never actually been to Qatar except to the airport in Doha.

+2
level 75
Apr 3, 2018
That being said, if Jezilly wants to move to Qatar to make money, all of the above is no reason not to. Western expats working in Gulf states often earn significantly more than Arab locals do. This is especially true in Oman, Bahrain, and the KSA... though Qataris, Kuwaitis, and Emiratis tend to be pretty well-off. Cost of living is low (outside of Kuwait and Dubai), taxes are minimal if not zero depending on where you work, salaries for certain nationalities are high.
+1
level 76
Dec 5, 2015
Money isn't everything...
+3
level 36
May 8, 2017
I'm moving to Luxembourg
+14
level 64
May 20, 2017
See, Luxembourg would be fun. Castles, chocolate, opera, the ever-present threat of being invaded by countries as small as Belgium ... good times.
+6
level 72
Jun 20, 2017
Luxembourg is beautiful, definitely go if you get the chance
+1
level 44
Apr 2, 2018
Well i'm going to Monaco
+5
level 75
Feb 1, 2013
I've always contended that PPP (purchasing power parity) measures of income are not as relevant as nominal GDP per capita. I can see the arguments both ways. But if you live in a country where the cost of living is very cheap, that doesn't make you rich by international standards. Similarly, if the cost of living is very high, that doesn't make you poor. I made another test based on nominal GDP per capita, averaging data from the CIA World Fact Book (which is probably the most exhaustively researched and accurate set of statistics on world demographics anywhere), the World Bank, the IMF, and the UN.
+1
level 75
Feb 1, 2013
just in case anyone wants to take that and compare. Most of the countries listed make both lists, some do not, others are in different order.
+6
level 62
Nov 6, 2014
You are one of the only people I see on this site who self replies. And I'm not sure whether thats good or bad...
+2
level 75
Dec 25, 2016
In this case I was just too lazy to delete my comment and type something longer.
+8
level 75
Apr 4, 2017
I don't see it as "self-replying", I see it as adding additional thoughts, or sometimes giving additional info to clarify a previous comment. I'd say that's good.
+1
level 70
Jan 23, 2018
PPP adjustment is intended to account for equivalency of value - for example, The Economist has its famous 'Big Mac Index' to estimate PPP. The idea being, that a Big Mac is identical wherever you go - and if one in Zurich costs the equivalent of $8 while one in NYC is $4, then the cost of goods is double. If salaries are also double, then the two places are considered to be cost-equivalent. There is much more, but that's the short version.
+2
level 75
Apr 2, 2018
^ yes I know that. I just don't think it's a relevant way to measure the size of an entire nation's economy. Or income, as it is measured here, which is taking all income paid and then dividing it up per person. And the Big Mac index is a good example of why it's silly. A Big Mac in New York is *not* the same as a Big Mac in Manila. In one place it is shitty low-cost fast food. In another it is a high-end luxury. And its cost is affected by, among many other things, taxes, import duties, local labor costs, rent, market studies, competition, inflation, etc. They're definitely not equivalent and looking at them as if they are, you're going to end up with flawed results.

PPP is useful when looking at, for example, average wages amongst entry-level employees, or... um... it's a short list. It has its uses. It just gets overused a lot. The worst overuse of it is trying to measure total GDP. Per capita income is somewhere in the middle.
+1
level 20
Feb 2, 2013
Economics right there XD!
+1
level 54
Feb 2, 2013
Can't believe Japan not in the list!
+1
level 20
Feb 2, 2013
Just because the country is rich (due to high exports in technology), doesn't mean the income is distributed evenly. There probably is poor rural areas in Japan.
+5
level 75
May 23, 2014
gandalf is correct. Japan has better income equality than many countries that make the list. They would likely rank higher on a list of highest median incomes.
+1
level 74
Dec 6, 2017
Having lived in most areas of Japan, there is certainly low income for many areas. Other areas may be dragged down by tendency for women to stay at home even now as they get tax reductions for dependents. Even in Tokyo a high salary would be $50-100k, as there is still a preference to stay in a stable job rather than move to higher paying one, so it doesn't surprise me that they have a low average salary for the country.
+1
level ∞
May 6, 2019
I know this is an old comment, but there are only 14 countries that are more expensive than the United States. Japan is not one of them. Japan is not one of the world's 21 richest countries. It doesn't matter if you use PPP or nominal GDP.
+1
level 75
May 7, 2019
^ but in terms of median income they are ahead of Germany, Taiwan, Singapore, Belgium, Qatar, Ireland, and Saudi Arabia.
+1
level 23
Feb 17, 2013
Forgot Kuwait, but I actually thought of Brunei but didn't think it would go on this list.
+2
level 8
Apr 1, 2013
my brother is in the air force and was working in Qatar he said all day long he works and eats popsicles and that's about it ...it it's really hot there so you might not want to move there
+1
level 58
Aug 3, 2013
Iceland? really surprised thought their entire economy went down the toilet
+5
level 44
Apr 4, 2017
They actually had one of the strongest economic recoveries ever and today their economy is doing OK
+2
level 71
Nov 15, 2013
I'm surprised Vatican City isn't on here. Their annual income from investments alone must be massive and they don't have many permanent residents.
+3
level 61
Feb 25, 2014
I shall have to wear the cone of shame for forgetting Monaco
+1
level 57
Mar 29, 2014
Ireland really surprised me there
+1
level 29
Apr 28, 2014
i said saudi arabia and then assumed there wouldnt be any middle east countries :/
+1
level 75
May 23, 2014
Qatar and Kuwait are both tiny compared to Saudi with much smaller, highly-urbanized populations. Both countries have enormous oil resources relative to their size. In absolute terms Saudi has more but measured per square kilometer it falls far behind. Saudis are well off compared to Yemenis, Syrians or Egyptians, but the average Saudi is not wealthy by American or Western European standards.
+1
level 75
Apr 4, 2017
Looks like they've moved up quite a few places in the rankings as Saudi is on the list now and not even at the bottom. But still behind Qatar and Kuwait and the Emirates.
+2
level 77
May 8, 2014
Japan is not on the list... it doesn't make sense, seriously.
+1
level 21
May 23, 2014
For. Got. Freaking. AUSTRIA. The last one! Thought I had taken all european ones!
+1
level 78
May 23, 2014
I forgot Germany!! Doing too many of these geography quizzes back to back and I start thinking I entered something that I haven't!
+1
level 48
May 23, 2014
I always forget about the existence of Taiwan. 19/20
+1
level 38
Jun 1, 2014
My problem is that I always mix Taiwan and Sri Lanka around by accident. :P
+1
level 80
May 25, 2014
Really interesting. Including Iceland who was just about bankrupt a few years ago. Quite a bounce-back.
+1
level 44
Aug 14, 2014
(Pulling something out of my ass here) Perhaps it is BECAUSE they are so wealthy that they were able to (somewhat peacefully) dismiss their government and start over. Just a theory.
+2
level 48
May 30, 2014
I am punching myself in the face for missing Switzerland
+1
level 32
Sep 25, 2014
Why the hell does USA have such high income compared to Switzerland?
+3
level 73
Feb 13, 2017
Because PPP. Switzerland is very expensive, USA a bit less.
+1
level 14
Oct 19, 2014
interesting
+1
level 68
Jan 16, 2015
No Japan and South Korea? Why?
+1
level 82
Mar 20, 2015
Because they're ranked 26th and 30th, respectively, while this quiz inexplicably stops at 22. Japan is only $200 below the cutoff, but South Korea is $4k below.
+1
level 20
Jul 26, 2015
I forgot about Singapore, but TAIWAN?
+2
level 61
Sep 1, 2015
USA is number 8, but if you take away the richest 1%, I wonder how the stats would look.
+2
level 71
Oct 7, 2015
The same stat probably applies to most of these countries
+1
level 75
Apr 2, 2018
It's not only income that counts in these stats, but also cost of living. Get away from the coast and many smaller cities in the US have a much lower cost of living.
+1
level 55
Sep 8, 2015
Missed Canada and Belgium, nooooooo |-(
+1
level 7
Jun 18, 2016
taiwan!!...........seriously:)what the rubbish
+1
level 76
Feb 13, 2017
These are the kinds of quizzes I love....100%
+1
level 80
Feb 13, 2017
Uhm. You are missing UAE. Between Norway and San Marino. I think I tried to type that about 15 times and wondering why it didn't work.
+1
level 80
Feb 13, 2017
Also San Marino should be $65.300, not the same as Norway.
+1
level ∞
Feb 14, 2017
Fixed
+1
level 50
Apr 4, 2017
That's not per capita INCOME. It's GDP per capita per the CIA.
+1
level 60
Apr 4, 2017
Couldn't for the life of me figure out my last one... turns out it was Brunei. Dang.
+1
level 58
Apr 4, 2017
wow I didn't even try Ireland since the UK wasn't on the list.
+1
level 54
Apr 4, 2017
Brunei?
+1
level 75
Apr 2, 2018
oil rich tiny emirate
+1
level 28
May 20, 2017
I though Brunei Taiwan and San Marino were just average countries when it comes to money. looking forward to visiting there
+1
level 40
Jan 5, 2018
I would have never guessed Ireland was not only on the top of the list, but on the list!
+1
level 69
Jan 14, 2018
Were Vatican open and honest about their finances, they'd be topping the list. After all, the Catholic Church is the financially largest 'corporation' after the Mafia, which only surpassed them last year.
+2
level 39
Jan 16, 2018
I always forget Brunei on these quizzes...
+1
level 71
Jan 23, 2018
Where does Saudi Arabia rank?
+1
level 63
Jan 24, 2018
It's below the US
+1
level 63
Jan 24, 2018
Iceland isn't in the correct place, neither is Taiwan
+1
level ∞
Jan 25, 2018
Fixed
+1
level 48
Mar 7, 2018
Got it all on first try.LOL
+2
level 53
Mar 10, 2018
Surprised to not see Bahrain on here.
+1
level 75
Apr 2, 2018
They just discovered a new oil field, maybe that will make a difference in a few years.
+1
level 75
Apr 2, 2018
^ Hadn't heard about this new discovery. That's interesting. The country is so tiny, where else could they look? Drilling further down?

Bahrain used up its oil reserves quite a while ago. The country now has a Russian vagina based economy. There are quite a few lower-class neighborhoods around the small island and even in Manama. They are not as wealthy as their Gulf neighbors. But not quite poor, either.
+2
level 32
Apr 5, 2018
"The country now has a Russian vagina based economy." Is that a typo? Or do I not understand the reference.
+1
level 75
Aug 24, 2018
not a typo. Though last time I was there just a couple months ago I found out that some of the most famous and often-visited RV emporiums in Hoora had been shut down or repurposed, so maybe they're looking to diversify.
+1
level 41
Mar 19, 2018
Average person in Ireland is doing better than in Switzerland, Norway or Sweden - very interesting indeed.
+1
level 55
Apr 2, 2018
Had no idea Ireland's per-capita is so high.
+2
level 61
Jun 12, 2018
It's primarily because of foreign investment - many major companies set up their European HQ in Ireland because of low corporation tax. So the per-capita income is actually a lot higher than the average wage.
+1
level 53
Apr 2, 2018
This isn't the Top 20 list it's top 23
+1
level 49
Apr 2, 2018
Guess I should move to either Europe, the Middle East, Asia, North America, or Australia.
+1
level 44
Apr 3, 2018
I FORGOT AMERICA!
+1
level 3
Apr 6, 2018
What is this information based on? What things have been taken into account? Free education, health care level and the costs, maternity and paternity leave... I doubt that. Unfortunately. Now this does not clear the whole truth. Roosa
+1
level 60
May 7, 2019
The income per capita is simply a countries GDP divided by the population. There's data for almost every country so it's easy to compare and rank. But of course it doesn't say anything about living standards.
+1
level 70
May 12, 2019
Click through the link in the description and it will take you to all the information on the criteria, definitions, sources, methodology, etc.
+1
level 46
Apr 10, 2018
Damn! Forgot Canada! So focused on some “rich-and-forgotten-paradises-of-oil” of Middel East that missed a obvious one!
+1
level 54
Dec 2, 2018
People say Qatar is the richest. They are incorrect or formerly correct. It's Monaco. =]
+2
level 75
Mar 4, 2019
Depends on the year, which data set you are using, and how you measure.
+1
level 44
Mar 4, 2019
HOW DID I FORGET THE US??
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