The gross national income (GNI) of a nation refers to the total that is obtained after adding the gross domestic product (GDP) and net income from foreign sources. Also known as the gross national product (GNP), the GNI is a total measure of a country’s income from both local and foreign sources. On the other hand, the GDP is a measure of income produced within the bounds of that country by anyone. In other words, GNI is used to measure a nation’s income while the GDP measures the production.
One thing to note is that even though GNI and GNP are similar concepts, their calculations are a bit different. For this reason, some analyses will state that the two do not point to the same thing. However, over the years, international statistics has been gradually replacing GNP with the GNI. All numbers come from the World Bank.
Countries by GNI per capita
By definition, the GNI per capita of a nation simply refers to the average income of the citizens of a particular nation. The figure is obtained by diving the final annual income by the population of the country. Based on the purchasing power parity (PPP) data from 2016, Qatar has the world’s highest GNI per capita with a figure of $128,050. Macau (China) was second with a value of $105,790 while Singapore came in the third position with $90,570. Brunei and Kuwait closed the top five with values of $83,760 and $83,310 respectively. Among the profiled nations, the Central African Republic and Burundi were the poorest nations with each having a GNI per capita of a mere $730.
Qatar is easily the richest nation in the world because of the massive wealth in the form of petroleum and natural gas. These two resources account for at least 70% of the revenue received by the government as well as significant chunks of the GDP and export revenue. The high revenue and the relatively small population of around 2.6 million people also contribute to the high value.
Macau is a small country (around 30.5 square kilometers) with a population of only 650,000 people. These two things, combined with the strong leisure and entertainment industry in the country easily place it in the second position. Compared to Las Vegas, Macau’s gambling industry is at least seven times as big with massive casinos such as the Venetian Macao, which is the largest globally.
Burundi highlights some of the problems that face the globe’s poorest continent, that is, Africa. Located in the East African region, the country is plagued with issues like conflict, mismanagement of public resources, overpopulation, and drought. However, the biggest issue has been conflict and poor leadership that have plagued the nation for a long time.
Limitation of Measuring by GNI
Unfortunately, as an indicator of the economic situation of a country, the above method has its challenges. One of its biggest criticisms is that it does not provide any indication of the living standards in a nation. This means that a higher GNI per capita does not necessarily mean a better living standard for people. For this reason, it cannot be used on its own.