What is the Median Income Worldwide? Overview, 7 Facts

Median income worldwide refers to the middle value in a group of data. In the case of median income worldwide, we are taking into account all the world’s countries and using the data in the World Bank report. Continue reading to learn all you need to know.


Due to the fact that a country’s GDP does not necessarily represent its individuals’ well-being, it is frequently more beneficial to examine the actual earnings of people in a country to evaluate their wealth as opposed to the overall amount of economic activity (GDP).

If we merely assessed the total income of a country’s population, countries with larger populations would frequently appear to be wealthier than those with smaller populations. Moreover, if we only considered the GDP per capita, we may overlook the negative impacts of inequality.

What is the Median Income Worldwide?

In general, we shall examine the mean income (the total income of the country divided by the population) or the median income (the middle figure in a list of everyone’s salary put in sequential order).

What is the Median Income Worldwide?

The median income globally is $850 US Dollars, which is the amount that falls in the midpoint between the lowest and greatest incomes (USD). People with salaries of $41,000 USD are among the top 3 percent of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

If the trillion-dollar global economy were distributed evenly among Earth’s 6.7 billion inhabitants, the average income would be $7,000.

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Chile and Mexico are two nations with median earnings of around $7000 USD.

Switzerland has the highest median income in the world at $60,288 USD. The median income in the U.S. is $50,233.

Luxembourg has the greatest gross national income per capita, at $63,978 USD, whereas the United States has a gross national income per capita of $47,320 USD.

Three billion people worldwide live on less than two dollars a day.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per Capita

GDP per capita is the most generally used metric of worldwide income distribution. Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, is the total monetary worth of all final products and services produced in a nation during a given year. GDP per capita is calculated by dividing a country’s GDP by its population. Globally, GDP per capita estimates vary greatly.

However, looking at each country’s GDP per capita is not the greatest approach to gauge a nation’s prosperity. Due to the fact that GDP excludes non-market activities, numerous variables might add to a country’s GDP without hurting its citizens’ standard of living.

For instance, damages generated by pollution are not included in the GDP if no one pays for them. In contrast, useful activities such as housework and family time are not accounted for by GDP.

Median Income by Country 2022

The median income is a statistic used to determine the middle point of the income distribution in a specific nation. Half of a country’s population have a greater income than the median, while the other half have a lower income than the median.

Since the median differs somewhat from the average or mean, it is also somewhat more resistant to severe “outlier” values that might compromise the accuracy of a statistic. Consider the following set of persons and their earnings as an example:

Mike – $30,000 Ahmed – $40,000 Stephanie – $50,000 Midori – $40,000 Contessa – $25,000 Gary – $55,000 Jordan – $1,000,000

Due to Jordan’s atypically high pay, the mean or average of all these wages is $177,142, which is grossly wrong for all seven individuals listed. However, the median (sometimes referred to as “average”) income is $40,000, which is generally correct for all countries except Jordan.

The World Bank monitors a variety of income and poverty-related measures, such as GDP per capita, GNI per capita, GINI coefficient per nation, and median income. The ten nations with the highest median salaries as of March 2021 are shown below.

Nota bene che questi valori sono in dollari internazionali attuali, un dollaro teorico che viene utilizzato spesso for confrontare due paes International dollars are not interchangeable with U.S. dollars, euros, or any other money in the actual world.

What is the Median Income Worldwide?

10 Countries with the Highest Median Income, March 2021 (PPP, Current Int$):

  1. Luxembourg – 26,321
  2. United Arab Emirates – 24,292
  3. Norway – 22,684
  4. Switzerland – 21,490
  5. United States – 19,306
  6. Canada – 18,652
  7. Austria – 18,405
  8. Sweden – 17,625
  9. Denmark – 17,432
  10. Netherlands – 17,154

10 Countries with the Lowest Median Income, March 2021 (PPP, Current Int$):

  1. Congo, Democratic Republic of – 395
  2. Madagascar – 398
  3. Burundi – 475
  4. Malawi – 484
  5. Guinea-Bissau – 486
  6. Central African Republic – 491
  7. Mozambique – 529
  8. Zambia – 545
  9. Uzbekistan – 591
  10. Rwanda – 621

According to Gallup statistics from 2013, the worldwide median household income was $9,733 (PPP, Current In$). Liberia, Burundi, Mali, Benin, Togo, Sierra Leone, and Madagascar were the nations with the lowest median incomes.

This information is based on self-reported data collected between 2006 and 2012. See the table below for the complete list of nations and their median earnings in (PPP, Current Int$).

Inequality Between Countries

Perhaps it is more vital to analyze international inequality. Yes, countries like the United States have instances of poverty (at a level that can be shocking given how wealthy the country is overall).

However, both the frequency and severity of poverty in the United States are far lower than in many other nations. And just a few clicks, we can send donations to folks on the other side of the world, due to the internet.

To be as successful as possible, it is necessary to adopt a global perspective; in this manner, we can ensure that we are identifying (and, more crucially, supporting) the greatest possibilities to achieve the most good with the available resources.

What is the Median Income Worldwide?

The disparities between countries’ median wages can be substantial. For instance, the United States has a median income of $19,296 for all its people (including children, pensioners, and those who are not part of the labour force) and a substantially higher median income of $35,977 for its working population.

In certain nations, even $19,296 is sufficient to place one in the top 99 percent of earners. In one of the world’s poorest countries, the Central African Republic (CAR), 65 percent of the population lives on less than $700 per year.

If you make the typical U.S. wage, there are likely less than one thousand individuals in the CAR who are wealthier than you. This quantity is insignificant when compared to the country’s population of around 4.5 million people — greater than the population of Los Angeles! Imagine being among the wealthiest 0.02 percent of Los Angeles’s population.

Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)

You may believe that while the facts in this post are correct, they disregard the disparities in cost of living across nations with low and high incomes. Indeed, the cost of living in the Central African Republic is far lower than in the United States.

Consider a period when you visited a huge, costly city such as New York or London. Compare this to a trip you took to a far less costly city, such as a warm vacation in Southeast Asia.

While it is true that the cost of living varies from country to country, the $700 income number already accounts for this difference using a purchasing power parity (PPP) calculation.

PPP is an economic term used to compare the costs of products and services in places with varying expenses of living. It functions as a type of exchange rate by determining how much a certain sum of money may purchase in various locations.

PPP is determined by comparing the prices of a basket of commodities (consisting of food, clothes, gadgets, housing, etc.) in two nations.

Imagine a (heavily simplified) basket of goods comprising a laptop, a 1 kilogram bag of lentils, a wool jumper, and a bottle of wine, for instance. Each basket is priced as follows in the United States and Mexico:

United States:
Laptop: $500 USD
Lentils: $2 USD
Sweater: $40 USD
Wine: $10 USD

Laptop: 20,000 pesos
Lentils: 80 pesos
Sweater: 1600 pesos
Wine: 400 pesos

In this instance, the PPP exchange rate is forty pesos per dollar (quite far from the actual exchange rate of approximately 20 pesos for every one dollar).

Those residing in high-income nations may find it difficult to appreciate the severity of poverty in nations such as the Central African Republic. What does the notion of buying power parity imply for an individual in the CAR with a $700 USD income?

It indicates that the expense of living has already been accounted for. This number of $700 (equal to $1.90 per day, a typical measure of poverty) is based on what $700 can purchase in the United States. Imagine living on $700 per year in the United States.

What is the Median Income Worldwide?

How quickly would you run out of money for necessities such as food, clothes, and shelter? The response is rather fast, as do many individuals in low-income nations. This is precisely why affluent nations are able to do so much good in the world through extremely effective gifts to those in greatest need.

Your money can buy happiness for others, and at a huge discount!

These numbers are not a gloomy glance at the poverty of others. They can serve as a reminder that you have an incredible chance to make a difference in the lives of others, even without making a substantial sacrifice.

According to a 2013 research by two economists, whether your annual income is $1,000 or $100,000, increasing it increases your happiness by approximately the same amount.

In a different research (published in 2021), the author utilized a smartphone app to ask a wide sample of individuals with diverse incomes how they were feeling during the day. The same finding is reached as in the 2013 research.

Therefore, $35,000 may increase one person’s pleasure by the same amount as it would for fifty individuals earning $700 yearly. This is a stunning discrepancy, especially considering that other global health programs, such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets and treatment for parasitic worms, can be up to 15 times more successful than direct cash transfers!

In his book Doing Good Better, Will MacAskill, co-founder of Giving What We Can and a key player in the effective altruism movement, illustrates this concept with an analogy:

“Imagine a happy hour where you could purchase a drink for yourself for five dollars or for another person for five cents. If that were the case, we’d likely be rather generous; I’ll buy the next round!”

MacAskill refers to this concept as the 100x Multiplier: for every dollar spent, affluent nations may expect to help individuals in low-income nations at least one hundred times more than themselves.


The median income worldwide for the year 2000 was US$ 3,800 per year. This means that half the world population earned less than this amount and half earned more than this amount.

The United States had a median income of US$ 29,500 in 2000. This means that about half the people earned more than that amount and half earned less than that amount.

The United States is the richest country in the world. The median income for the United States is almost double that of India. India’s median income is $ 1,531 per year compared to the United States’ $ 3,800 per year. The reason why the United States has such a high median income is that its average

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