Using the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) 2011 global results, New Zealand is number 22 in the world for average income, beaten by the US, UK, Australia, which ranked number 15, and most of Scandinavia.
The ILO data uses Purchasing Power Parity to correct figures for how much they buy, rather than just how big the number is. A $29,900 salary in New Zealand can buy a lot less than a $30,000 salary in South Korea – a fact reflected by South Korea’s place at number 10 on the list.
"If someone in China takes their salary of 1,500 yuan per month and they go to the bank, they will actually get $200," ILO economist Patrick Belser explains. "But this is not what we use to compute this global average, because what is important here is what people are able to buy with these 1,500 yuan, and this is where we compare to the purchasing power of the US dollars and find that it is actually equivalent to around $400."
The country that ends up on top is Luxembourg, with an average income of more than $4,000 a month, but spare a thought for Tajikistan, where the average person earns just $227 a month.
The countries with the highest income are:
|| United States
|| United Kingdom
|| South Korea
*Source: ILO 2011 World Income Survey. Data does not include self-employed or those receiving government benefits.
The average individual income in New Zealand is $29,900, with the household income averaging about $72,000. But where does that leave New Zealand on a world scale?