# What is Per Capita Income & How to Calculate It?

by Angel One
Per capita income is a vital economic indicator reflecting average earnings per person, guiding policy decisions and assessing living standards globally. Read on to learn more about per capita income.

Per capita income is a fundamental indicator, shedding light on the financial landscape of nations, regions, and communities. It serves as a yardstick to gauge the economic prosperity and standard of living prevalent within a specific geographic area during a defined period. This article delves into the essence of per capita income, exploring its definition, formula, calculation methods, and practical applications.

## What is Per Capita Income?

At its core, per capita income illustrates the average income earned by an individual residing within a particular jurisdiction, whether a country, province, city or any other demarcated region. It represents the monetary measure of prosperity, summarising the earnings distributed among the populace within a given locale. In essence, per capita income embodies the financial pulse of a community, reflecting its collective earning potential and economic well-being.

Per capita income, often called PCI, is a vital economic indicator measuring the average income earned by individuals within a specific geographic region over a set period. It provides insights into a population group’s economic well-being and standard of living.

## Per Capita Income Formula

The per capita income formula is straightforward and essential for economic analysis. It is calculated by dividing the total income of a region by its population size.

### Formula for Per Capita Income

Per Capita Income = Total Income of Area / Total Population

## How to Calculate Per Capita Income?

Calculating per capita income involves two critical components: the overall income of the population and the population size. By dividing the total income by the population, one can determine the per capita income of a specific area.

Example Calculation:

Let’s consider a scenario where there are ten individuals in a room, each earning varying incomes:

• Person 1: ₹1 .3 lakh
• Person 2: ₹1.7 lakh
• Person 3: ₹2 lakh
• Person 4: ₹0.8 lakh
• Person 5: ₹1.2 lakh

Application of Formula:

• Total Income of the Population = ₹7 lakh (1.3 + 1.7 + 2 + 0.8 + 1.2)
• Size of the Population = 5

Therefore,

Per Capita Income = ₹7 lakh / 5 = ₹1.4 lakh

### Consideration of Unemployment:

In real-world scenarios, it’s crucial to account for unemployed individuals. Suppose we modify the illustration, considering 14 people with at least 1 unemployed:

• Total Income of the Population = ₹5 lakh (1.3 + 1.7 + 0 + 0.8 + 1.2)
• Size of the Population = 5

Therefore,

Per Capita Income = ₹5 lakh / 5 = ₹1 lakh

## Uses of Per Capita Income

Per capita income finds widespread application in economic analysis, with some key uses including:

GDP Per Capita: This metric measures a country’s economic output per person. Calculated by dividing the gross domestic product (GDP) by the population, it offers insights into individual economic productivity and overall wealth distribution.

Gross National Income (GNI) Per Capita: Similar to GDP per capita, GNI per capita considers income from foreign investments in addition to domestic output. This provides a broader perspective on a nation’s economic performance and individual prosperity.

## Significance of Per Capita Income

Per capita income is a crucial gauge of economic prosperity, guiding policy decisions and shaping the quality of life for individuals and communities.

• Economic Well-being Indicator: Per capita income provides insights into the economic health of a population, offering a measure of available income per individual.
• Comparative Analysis: It enables comparisons between countries or regions, facilitating the identification of economic trends and policy effectiveness.
• Quality of Life: Higher per capita income correlates with improved living standards, as individuals have more purchasing power for goods, services, education, and healthcare.
• Wealth Management Tool: Per capita income aids in managing wealth between nations, serving as a metric for national prosperity and economic performance.
• Early Warning System: Declines in per capita income prompt leaders to evaluate economic policies, identify challenges, and strategise solutions to address downturns.

## Limitations of Per Capita Income

Despite its utility, per capita income has certain limitations:

• Income Inequality: Per capita income fails to account for disparities in income distribution within a population, potentially masking the true standard of living for many individuals.
• Inflation: As per capita income does not adjust for inflation, it may overstate actual purchasing power and economic well-being, particularly in regions experiencing significant price increases over time.
• Exclusion of Personal Wealth: Per capita income solely considers earned income and excludes personal savings or wealth accumulation, offering an incomplete picture of individual prosperity.
• Inclusion of Non-Earning Population: Including children and other non-earning individuals in the per capita income calculation can skew results, especially in regions with high birth rates, leading to potentially misleading conclusions about overall economic health.

## Conclusion

Per capita income provides valuable insights into a population’s economic conditions and living standards. While it represents the average annual income per person, it’s essential to remember that it doesn’t account for individual wealth. By dividing the total income by the population size, per capita income is a vital statistical indicator for assessing living standards. Ready to invest and grow your wealth? Open a demat account with Angel One today to start your journey towards financial success.

## FAQs

### What is per capita income?

Per capita income, often called PCI, measures individuals’ average income within a specific geographic region over a set period.

### What is the per capita income formula?

The per capita income formula is calculated by dividing the total income of a region by its population size.

### How is per capita income calculated?

Per capita income is calculated by dividing the total income of a region by its population size.

### How to find per capita income?

To find per capita income, one needs to divide the total income of a region by its population size.

### Why is per capita income important?

Per capita income is crucial for assessing a population’s economic well-being and living standards. It helps policymakers and economists understand the average income level and make informed decisions.