Disposable household and per capita income

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Median household income and taxes

Household income is a measure of the combined incomes of all people sharing a particular household or place of residence. It includes every form of income, e.g., salaries and wages, retirement income, near cash government transfers like food stamps, and investment gains.

Average household incomes need not map directly to measures of an individual's earnings such as per capita income as numbers of people sharing households and numbers of income earners per household can vary significantly between regions and over time.

Average household income can be used as an indicator for the monetary well-being of a country's citizens. Mean or median net household income, after taxes and mandatory contributions, are taken as indicators of standard of living, because they include only disposable income and acknowledge people sharing accommodation benefit from pooling at least some of their living costs.

Median income is the amount that divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having income above that amount, and half having income below that amount. Mean income (average) is the amount obtained by dividing the total aggregate income of a group by the number of units in that group.

Disposable income per capita (OECD)[edit]


The list below represents a national accounts derived indicator based on adjusted gross income, which is defined as "the balance of primary incomes of an institutional unit or sector by adding all current transfers, except social transfers in kind, receivable by that unit or sector and subtracting all current transfers, except social transfers in kind, payable by that unit or sector; it is the balancing item in the Secondary Distribution of Income Account" [1] "plus transfers in kind" received mainly from government, such as healthcare and education.[2] In other words, it only includes taxes and transfers. It is based on the national accounts, which follows a standardized accounting (System of National Accounts) so to allow for comparability. It is also not survey based, which avoids survey errors and underreporting. The following is published by the OECD and is presented in purchasing power parity (PPP) so to adjust for costs of living.


The following table represents data from OECD's "median disposable income" metric per person, which includes all forms of income as well as taxes and transfers in kind from governments for benefits such as healthcare and education. This metric, in addition to using a median rather than a mean, uses "data calculated according to the new OECD terms of reference"; compared to previous terms of reference, these "include a more detailed breakdown of current transfers received and paid by households as well as a revised definition of household income, including the value of goods produced for own consumption as an element of self-employed income."[4] As OECD displays median disposable incomes in each country's respective currency, the values were converted here using the World Bank's PPP conversion factors, accounting for each country's cost of living in the year that the disposable median income was recorded.[5] Unless noted otherwise, all data refers to 2016.

Luxembourg Income Study[edit]

Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) has a publicly available database with comparable statistics on household incomes for several countries, as has the OECD.[6] These are the sources used.

Below are presented the mean and median disposable household incomes, adjusted for differences in household size.[7] Thus, the figures presented are per person (equivalized) and after all income taxes and mandatory social contributions are paid. All figures were converted using respective year purchasing power parity (PPP) for private consumption, which is recommended when comparing incomes internationally.[8] The PPP conversion rates are taken directly from the OECD database. All incomes are in the prices when income was earned, and refer to year 2004, except for Australia (2003), UK (2004–2005), and Sweden (2005). The exact definition of income can be seen in the LIS website (variable DPI). Generally, it includes all cash income (e.g., earnings, pensions, interests, dividends, rental income, social transfers) and excludes most non-cash income (e.g., employer contributions to social insurances, governmental health care, education). Note that capital gains are excluded from the income definition.[clarification needed]

Caution should be made when comparing countries based on a strict ranking, since not all datasets are capturing income equally. For instance, income spent on private health insurance, which in 2004 was about $1300 per household in the US, is not subtracted.[9] In terms of underreporting, the U.S. dataset (US Census) captured only 80% of the gross income aggregate as of 2004.[10] By contrast, Finland, UK, and Norway registered much higher coverage with less underreporting.[11]

Mean equivalized disposable household income (PPP) $[edit]

Rank Country NCU[12] Currency in 2004[13] PPP rate 2004[14] Mean Income (PPP)
1  United States 32,195 United States Dollar 1 32,195
2  Canada 33,785 Canadian Dollar 1.27 26,602
3   Switzerland 49,844 Swiss Franc 1.88 26,512
4  United Kingdom 16,685 British Pound 0.64 26,070
5  Norway 254,243 Norwegian krone 9.8 25,943
6  Austria 22,527 Euro 0.89 25,311
7  Germany 20,901 Euro 0.91 22,968
8  Denmark 202,275 Danish Krone 9.0 22,475
9  Netherlands 20,607 Euro 0.92 22,398
10  Sweden 203,460 Swedish Krona 9.6 21,193
11  Belgium 19,563 Euro 0.924 21,173
12  South Korea 18,587,000 Won 886.2 20,937
13  France 19,547 Euro 0.952 20,532
14  Australia 29,417 Australian Dollar 1.44 20,428
15  Japan 2,986,594 Yen 150.8 19,805
16  Spain 14,003 Euro 0.788 17,770
17  Italy 15,835 Euro 0.91 17,401
18  Poland 14,844 Polish złoty 2.08 7,136

Median equivalized disposable household income (PPP) $[edit]

See also the country lists in the median income article.

Median household income divides households in a country or region into two equal segments with the first half of households earning less than the median household income and the other half earning more. It is considered by many statisticians to be a better indicator than the mean household income as it is not dramatically affected by unusually high or low values.[15]

Rank Country NCU[12] Currency in 2004[13] PPP rate[14] Median Income (PPP)
1  United States 26,672 United States Dollar 1 26,672
2   Switzerland 45,050 Swiss Franc 1.88 23,962
3  Norway 233,186 Norwegian Krone 9.8 23,794
4  Canada 29,394 Canadian Dollar 1.27 23,144
5  Austria 20,134 Euro 0.89 22,622
6  Denmark 192,937 Danish krone 9.0 21,437
7  United Kingdom 13,637 British Pound 0.637 21,408
8  Germany 18,507 Euro 0.91 20,337
9  Netherlands 18,507 Euro 0.91 20,116
10  Sweden 189,475 Swedish Krona 9.6 19,736
11  Belgium 17,818 Euro 0.924 19,284
12  South Korea 16,665,877 Won 886.2 18,806
13  France 17,120 Euro 0.952 17,984
14  Australia 25,581 Australian Dollar 1.44 17,764
15  Japan 2,644,730 Yen 150.8 17,538
16  Spain 12,319 Euro 0.788 15,633
17  Italy 13,367 Euro 0.91 14,689
18  Poland 12,697 Polish złoty 2.08 6,104

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Directorate, OECD Statistics. "OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms - Disposable income Definition". stats.oecd.org.
  2. ^ Directorate, OECD Statistics. "OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms - Adjusted disposable income Definition". stats.oecd.org.
  3. ^ "Household accounts - Household disposable income - OECD Data". theOECD.
  4. ^ Income Distribution and Poverty: Median disposable income (current prices). OECD. Accessed August 6, 2018.
  5. ^ PPP conversion factor.
  6. ^ OECD. "OECD Statistics". stats.oecd.org.
  7. ^ [1] Archived September 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ [2] Archived January 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "2004 CE standard age" (PDF).
  10. ^ https://www.nber.org/chapters/c12828.pdf
  11. ^ http://www.lisdatacenter.org/wps/techwps/2.pdf
  12. ^ a b "LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg". www.lisdatacenter.org.
  13. ^ a b "Currencies of the World". fx.sauder.ubc.ca. Archived from the original on 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  14. ^ a b "PPPs and exchange rates". From the drop down menu select PPPs for private consumption. OECD stat extracts. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau on the nature the median in determining wealth" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-06-29.[not specific enough to verify]

External links[edit]