Gaps in – GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)



The gap in wealth is enormous in the World.

The poor countries in the graph does not show – it is not a fault – it is because the gap is so big.

One can measure wealth in many ways. One often used indicator is: GNI per capita.

GNI (Gross National Income) tells us something about the total value produced including net-incomes from abroad. Divided with the population you get GNI pr capita. And the “Atlas method” from the World Bank provides technically comparable data.

The graph looks at two countries: Malawi and United States and two country groups: low income and high income.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the World and United States one of the richest. The GNI per capita was 157 times bigger in United States compared with Malawi in 2015. And the gab increases compared with 1990. In 1990 the GNI per capita was  (only….) 134 times bigger in US compared with Malawi.

Basically the same picture is seen when we compare the poorest countries with the richest: The gab in 2015 is 67 times compared with 64 times in 1990.

Malawi has a population of 77 million, United States 321 million. When we compare low income countries with high income countries we are talking about 638 million people living in low income countries compared with 1189 million people living in high income countries.

In other words 1,2 billion people has an average income which is 67 times bigger than the 0,6 billion people living in the poorest countries in 2015. And the gap has even increased between 1990 and 2015.

Perhaps happiness does not rely on wealth – but…?


The data are averages for the countries and the country groups, but within a country there is often bigger gaps in wealth.

Although the data tries to reflect the different “purchage-strenghts” of 1 $ in different countries, it is still difficult to calculate precisely how much the “natural-economy” (non market products) counts. In poor countries one would expect that self grown and family consumed products would reduce the real gap (?). One the other hand the so called “black economy” (income not being taxed) in rich (and poor) countries is important too, and likewise difficult to meassure. The guys in the Statistical Department of The World Bank are aware of these challenges – and do their best to make comparable data.



Facts about World Development and inequality