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What Is GNI per Capita?

GNI per capita measures the average income of a country's residents, reflecting economic health and citizen prosperity. It includes wages, investments, and international earnings. This indicator helps gauge living standards and informs policy decisions. Understanding GNI per capita can reveal much about a nation's well-being. How does your country's GNI per capita affect your daily life?
Andy Hill
Andy Hill

The gross national income (GNI) of a country is a measure of the total income received by that country over the course of a year. This measure was previously achieved through the use of gross national product (GNP) figures. GNI measurement comprises all resident producers along with associated taxes not included within the output figures and net primary income from abroad. The term per capita refers to the amount per person; to achieve the GNI per capita figure, the GNI is divided across the mid-year population of each country.

Analysts use this GNI per capita figure as an indicator of the average income of a citizen in any country. Figures produced can provide an indication of the overall economic state of a country and of the general living standards of the citizens there. In general, those countries with a high GNI per capita figure possess a higher standard of environmental and social health than those countries with a low per capita figure.

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In a similar relationship, those citizens living in a low per capita country generally experience higher mortality rates, lower educational standards, and an overall lower standard of living than those in a high per capita country. The correlation between GNI and the well-being of the populace is obvious. When less money is being generated by a country, the overall economy of that country will suffer. Those citizens within that country will therefore have less income, disposable or otherwise.

While the GNI is now utilized to establish the overall economic health of a country, GNP still exists and features some differences in terms of measurement and inclusion into the GNI. The measurement of GNP does not include cross-country income. Both of these measurements differ from the gross domestic product (GDP), which is based solely on the value of products generated within a country over the period of a year.

In reviewing the list of countries arranged by GNI per capita, there are some interesting statistics that may not be expected. In 2010, for example, the United States of America was placed 18th in a list of 194 applicable countries with other, smaller countries such as Finland, Denmark, and Liechtenstein reporting a higher per capita figure for the year. During the same period, the United Kingdom was placed in the 31st position in the list; countries presenting a higher GNI per capita included Ireland and Australia.

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