20 Highest-Paid World Leaders

April 23, 2018 by Steven M. Peters

Source: Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

Does it pay to be president? Ask the men and women who are among the top paid world leaders.

Earning from just over $200,000 to nearly $2 million, the yearly earnings of these heads of states far exceed the pay of the average citizen in their countries. One measure of the average resident yearly earnings is GDP per capita. While the countries with the highest GDP per capita often have the best-paid leaders — the annual salaries of their leaders are always well above the country’s GDP per capita.

To find the highest-paid world leaders, 24/7 Wall St. gathered information from country websites, data from organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, and the CIA World Factbook.

Click here to see the highest-paid world leaders.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: Korea.net / Wikimedia Commons

20. Moon Jae-in
> Title: President of South Korea
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $211,320
> Time in office: 1 month
> GDP per capita: $39,400

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Source: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

19. Theresa May
> Title: Prime minister of United Kingdom
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $214,247
> Time in office: 2 years, 2 months
> GDP per capita: $43,600

Source: Johannes Jansson / Wikimedia Commons

18. Lars Rasmussen
> Title: Prime minister of Denmark
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $219,205
> Time in office: 3 years, 2 months
> GDP per capita: $49,600

Source: Minister-president Rutte from Nederland / Wikimedia Commons

17. Mark Rutte
> Title: Prime minister of Netherlands
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $222,053
> Time in office: 8 years, 4 months
> GDP per capita: $53,600

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Source: khamenei.ir / Wikimedia Commons

16. Stefan Lofven
> Title: Prime minister of Sweden
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $224,258
> Time in office: 4 years, 8 months
> GDP per capita: $51,300

Source: Official web-page of the President of Azerbaijan / Wikimedia Commons

15. Ilham Aliyev
> Title: President of Azerbaijan
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $230,000
> Time in office: 15 years, 9 months
> GDP per capita: $17,400

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

14. Charles Michel
> Title: Prime minister of Belgium
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $230,392
> Time in office: 4 years, 8 months
> GDP per capita: $46,300

Source: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

13. Leo Varadkar
> Title: Taoiseach of Ireland
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $234,685
> Time in office: 1 years, 11 months
> GDP per capita: $72,600

Source: Annika Haas (EU2017EE) / Wikimedia Commons

12. Kersti Kaljulaid
> Title: President of Estonia
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $240,312
> Time in office: 2 years, 10 months
> GDP per capita: $31,500

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Source: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

11. Angela Merkel
> Title: Chancellor of Germany
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $244,000
> Time in office: 13 years, 11 months
> GDP per capita: $50,200

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

10. Justin Trudeau
> Title: Prime minister of Canada
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $273,809
> Time in office: 3 years, 9 months
> GDP per capita: $48,100

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

9. Jimmy Morales
> Title: President of Guatemala
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $326,796
> Time in office: 2 years, 10 months
> GDP per capita: $8,200

Source: GuentherZ / Wikimedia Commons

8. Sebastian Kurz
> Title: Chancellor of Austria
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $330,396
> Time in office: 1 years, 11 months
> GDP per capita: $49,200

Source: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

7. Xavier Bettel
> Title: Prime minister of Luxembourg
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $340,000
> Time in office: 5 years, 7 months
> GDP per capita: $109,100

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Source: Hannah Peters / Getty Images

6. Jacinda Ardern
> Title: Prime minister of New Zealand
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $345,385
> Time in office: 1 years, 11 months
> GDP per capita: $38,500

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

5. Donald Trump
> Title: President of United States
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $400,000
> Time in office: 1 years, 11 months
> GDP per capita: $59,500

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Source: Bundeskanzlei / Wikimedia Commons

4. Alain Berset
> Title: President of Switzerland
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $401,929
> Time in office: 0 months
> GDP per capita: $61,400

Source: Stefan Postles / Getty Images

3. Malcolm Turnbull
> Title: Prime minister of Australia
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $409,981
> Time in office: 3 years, 9 months
> GDP per capita: $49,900

Source: Carl Court / Getty Images

2. Carrie Lam
> Title: Chief executive of Hong Kong
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $578,320
> Time in office: 1 years, 11 months
> GDP per capita: $61,000

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1. Lee Hsien Loong
> Title: Prime minister of Singapore
> Annual salary in U.S. $: $1,700,000
> Time in office: 14 years, 10 months
> GDP per capita: $90,500

Detailed Findings & Methodology

Leaders of absolute monarchies and of a number of constitutional monarchies are generally among the wealthiest people on the planet. However, they were excluded from this list because incomes of sultans, emirs, and kings are frequently not available.

When looking at relatively wealthy parliamentary democracies, the national governments are often organized differently from one another. While many countries have both a head of state and a head of government — a president and a prime minister, for example — the position that holds the greater power depends on the nation.
In France, the president is the head of state and holds more power than the head of government, who is the prime minister. The hierarchy is reversed in Germany, where the head of government is the chancellor, who holds the highest position of power over the country’s president.
Even if a country’s leaders are living like kings compared to their citizens, a government salary can’t compare with that of a chief executive officer in the private sector. Some leaders on this list entered government service from more lucrative careers in the business, legal, and entertainment worlds. Some are so rich that they forgo their salaries.
Even so, world leaders typically receive perks during their time in office — from security to travel expenses. And a nation’s leader is almost always provided a residence maintained with taxpayer money. As we’ve seen with former U.S. presidents and British prime ministers, they earn their biggest bucks after leaving office through lucrative book deals and speaking engagements.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed publicly available annual compensation figures for the 20 highest-paid leaders in the world as calculated by the International Monetary Fund. Salaries are expressed in U.S. dollars that were converted from country of origin currencies as of April 13, 2018. Leaders of absolute monarchies such as Qatar, Brunei Darussalam, and Saudi Arabia were excluded from our list. Constitutional monarchies were included, except where the highest ranking officials have the power to appoint the government. In such cases, including Kuwait, Bahrain, and United Arab Emirates, state leadership compensation often is not publicly disclosed. The head of state is by definition the highest-ranking official in a sovereign nation. However, in cases where the head of government is paid a higher salary, she or he was listed instead. The identities and dates of election or appointment of these leaders were obtained from CIA World Factbook, national government websites, or media sources.