Thursday, 1 December 2011

Australians are so very wealthy

Australians are close to being the highest income earners in the world. When compared to countries with populations over 20 million, Australian per capita GDP in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms are behind only the US and are between 10% and 35% “richer” than Europeans, Japanese and South Koreans. Using current exchange rates rather than PPP, Australians are well ahead of the US and miles ahead of all other major countries - we are only behind those living in countries such as Qatar, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and Norway.

The following table shows Australia’s per capita GDP in PPP and US dollar terms relative to some selected countries. A positive signs shows Australia’s per capita GDP relative to the country listed.

For example, in PPP terms, Australia’s per capita income is 15% below that of the US, but 10% above Germany, 35% above Italy and 47% above New Zealand.

In US dollar terms, and this perhaps highlights why so many Australians are travelling abroad, Australian per capita income is 19% higher than in the US, 38% above Germany, 54% above the UK , 63% above Italy and a staggering 73% above New Zealand.

Australia vs

PPP terms

US Dollar terms

United States












United Kingdom









South Korea






New Zealand












Source: IMF

All this goes to show just how stunningly well Australia is going at the moment. While nothing is perfect, we Australians should have little to complain about, particularly relative to about 99% of the world’s population.


  1. How would the comparison look if we took out the top 10% of income earners from each country? Or looked at median income, or even wealth rather than income?

    Have any such studies been done, to your knowledge?

  2. No - I haven't seen studies like the one you suggest. Sounds interesting, but that is one for an honours thesis at least.