Looking at Disposable Income Across the Globe

The high point of economic development (at least according to some secular economists) is the availability of disposable income for the average citizen. How do the figures look recently?

A Global Geographic View

The first view is a geographic view of the numbers (the chart is interactive). The countries with the lowest average monthly disposable income are color coded by dark orange. Disposable income increases slowly as the color become bluer, with the countries with the highest average monthly disposable income in dark blue.

A Perspective from the Geographic View

The map view provides some perspective on where the countries are with high and low average monthly disposable income (an interactive version is here). It’s fairly easy to see that, by and large, the western world (North America, Europe, Australia) generally have higher average monthly disposable income than South American, Asian, or African nations.

Monthly Disposable Income Across the Globe

A Table View of the Figures

The geographic view makes it difficult to compare countries. Here’s a table view of the numbers  (an interactive version is here). As a frame of reference, the vertical line down the middle is the average, which is $1,275 per month.

Interestingly, the country with the highest average monthly disposable income is Switzerland at $6,302, well ahead of second place Luxembourg at $4,480. Fascinatingly, in third place is Zambia at $4,331, followed by Jersey at $4,323, and Bermuda at $4,250.

The bottom five members of the top 10 include Norway at $4,215, Monaco at $4,143, Qatar at $4,038, Gibraltar at $3,991, and Australia at $3,781.

Where Do the Big Countries Show Up?

Seeing a good number of small countries show up high on the list, one might ask – where are the big countries? Interestingly, the United States places 13th at $3,259. China, soon to be the globe’s largest economy by most measures, shows up 88th at $751. Japan and Russia, the other two behemoth Asian economies, show up in 24th and 95th at $2,782 and $686 respectively.

The two highest African countries are Zambia at $4,331 and Angola at $2,650. In South America, the country with the highest average monthly disposable income is Argentina at $1,019.

Complete List of Monthly Disposable Income by Country

Conclusion

When looking at disposable income across the globe, the figures show some surprising results. The world’s largest economy by many measures, the United States, fails to make it into the top 10, coming in 13th among 176 nations covered by the study.  The lack of finding the United States in the top 10 is not all that surprising when looking at how the other large economies around the globe show up.

The largest European economy, Germany, places 22nd, with France at 26th, and the United Kingdom at 19th.

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