Just Average

According to the IMF, the world's per capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power, is estimated at $11,400 (as of 2011). Which of these countries comes closest to the current average world income?

A. Singapore
B. Mexico
C. South Africa
D. Kazakhstan

A. Singapore is not correct.

With an average income of $59,100, Singapore has the world's third-richest population, after Qatar and Luxembourg. Singaporeans' average income is around 20% higher than that of the United States ($48,700) and Hong Kong ($48,300).

Singapore's per capita GDP is also more than $20,000 higher than the levels reached by Germany ($37,400), Taiwan ($37,200) and the United Kingdom ($35,600). Similarly, France and Japan achieve income levels of $34,900 and $34,600, respectively. And Singapore's per capita GDP is almost twice the level reached by South Korea, Spain, Israel and Italy — with each at around $30,000 a year.

B. Mexico is not correct.

Mexico's per capita GDP, at $15,100 a year, is about one-third above the global average. In 60th place worldwide, the country is on par with Latvia, Uruguay and Belarus — and below Russia ($16,800).

The richest country in the world on a per person basis, Qatar, has an annual per capita GDP of $103,300. At the bottom of the global income scale among the more than 180 countries surveyed by the International Monetary Fund is the Democratic Republic of Congo, at just $340 per person a year.

C. South Africa is correct.

South Africa, Africa's biggest economy, has a per capita GDP of $10,900 a year. In 75th place globally, it ranks very close to the global average income, falling just $500 short.

However, South Africa is not Africa's richest economy in terms of per capita income. This distinction belongs to Equatorial Guinea, which has an average income of $19,100. Rapidly growing Botswana is not far behind, at $16,400 — ranking 53rd in the world.

D. Kazakhstan is not correct.

Oil-rich Kazakhstan (at $13,500) is significantly above the average global income level, as is Turkey ($14,100). In contrast, Egypt ranks only 103rd worldwide, at $6,400. Along with neighboring Jordan and Syria, it ranks below the level reached by the People's Republic of China ($8,300).

India, the other emerging Asian giant, has an average income of just $3,600 — less than half China's level.

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