Ten countries with the highest incomes
Disposable income per capita is one way to measure a country’s wealth. Find out the top ranked.
Countries use various measures to gauge their wealth, Andrew Sebastian, from Investopedia.com, outline the top 10 countries based on disposable income per capita, identifying how much money a person has available to spend on goods and services after paying their taxes.
Think of disposable income as your earnings minus necessary expenses such as your mortgage payment, groceries and health insurance, but less the taxes you paid.
The following disposable income per capita figures for the top 10 countries are from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as of 2018. Disposable income per capita is specifically the household net-adjusted disposable income per capita according to the OECD and all amounts listed are in U.S. dollars.
1. United States
The United States, with its 326.7 million people,3 tops the list with a disposable income per capita measure of $53,122. The country’s GDP came in at $20.58 trillion in 2018—the largest GDP on our list and world’s largest economy. Key sectors in the U.S. include financial services, professional and business services, manufacturing and health care.
The small country of Luxembourg, with an estimated population of about 608,000 people in 2018,6 had $47,138 in disposable income per capita that year, putting it second in the world. The European country nestled between Germany, France and Belgium had $71 billion in GDP.4 For context, the U.S. dwarfs Luxembourg in GDP at about 300 times its size. Much of Luxembourg’s economic success stems from banking, where the country has grown into a global financial centre.
Switzerland had $41,561 in disposable income per capita in 2018. Its GDP was $590.5 billion and population 8.5 million.4 7 The country has a stable market economy, favourable taxation laws, strong financial and tourism sectors, and a skilled workforce. Switzerland’s main exports are pharmaceuticals, gold, watches and jewellery.
Germany commands $40,699 in disposable income per capita. Germany is home to approximately 82.9 million people and is a major exporter, notably of cars, being home to major car brands such as Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW. Germany is also a major exporter of chemicals and has a GDP of $4.5 trillion.
Australia’s disposable income per capita was $40,237. Australia had a GDP of $1.34 trillion in 2018 and a population of almost 25 million people. The country is rich with natural resources, which is reflected in one of the primary engines of its economy—mining.
Norway had $39,570 in disposable income per capita in 2018. With a population of 5.3 million people and a GDP of $359 billion. Norway makes its way with a natural resource-driven economy focused on oil, fisheries and metals. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is worth just over $1.15 trillion and is funded largely by the country’s oil industry.
The European country of Austria had $38,333 in disposable income per capita in 2018.1 The country had 8.8 million people and a $503 billion GDP. Over the years, the country’s shift toward privatization, i.e. less regulation, has improved the economy. Much of the country’s economic growth is driven by the energy industry, where renewable energy accounts for about 30% of gross domestic consumption.
Belgium, another European country, makes the top 10 list of countries based on $36,044 in disposable income per capita. Belgium had a population of 11.4 million and a GDP of $597 billion in 2018.17 The country is world-renowned for its chocolate shops and factories. Given its location, Belgium’s economic strong suit is exporting, notably vehicles and medicine.
The Netherlands had $35,914 in disposable income per capita and a GDP of $991 billion in 2018.1 4 Its population was 17. million that year and much of its recent success has come about due to natural gas discoveries. Refined petroleum is its largest export category.
Canada finishes the list with $35,772 in disposable income per capita in 2018. The country had a GDP of $1.86 trillion and a population of 37 million. The discovery of oil sands in Alberta has propelled the nation’s economy and the country is one of the largest oil producers in the world. Other top exports include cars, gold and vehicle parts
The key aspects of generating a higher disposable income per capita include a few factors. Ways to increase a country’s income per capita can include lowering its population while keeping the income the same. However, that may be tough to maintain, or do, as the trend for most countries is a rising population. Government policies are generally an easier way to boost income per capita, as governments can enact various policies. Others may include boosting the hours worked by employees, government investment, and more training or education for workers.