Income inequality has become a hot button political issue in the United States over the last several years. Unequal distribution of wealth is not an issue unique to the United States, however.
North America is home to fewer than 5% of the global population — yet the continent’s combined gross domestic product accounts for over one-quarter of global economic activity. Meanwhile, South Asia is home to nearly one-quarter of the world’s population, yet the region’s economic output accounts for less than 4% of global GDP.
While GDP is a practical way to measure the size of a given country or region’s economy, it does not accurately reflect the overall wealth of a population. Unlike GDP, gross national income, or GNI, accounts for all economic activity within a country’s borders in addition to wealth generated by nationally-owned entities operating abroad. Adjusted to the population and converted to U.S. dollars, GNI per capita is an accurate approximation of the average income of residents of a given country.
Using data from the World Bank, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed GNI per capita in over 170 nations to identify the 25 richest countries in the world. Worldwide GNI is about $10,300 per person. In the world’s 25 wealthiest nations, GNI per capita is far higher, ranging from $27,600 to over $82,300.