Per Capita Expenditure - Statistics & Facts

Per Capita Expenditure - Statistics & Facts

Statistics and facts on Per Capita Expenditure

Per capita data is often used to make macroeconomic data comparable across countries of different sizes. Where absolute data is not comparable, per capita data can be used as it is independent of country size. The most commonly used per capita indicator is the GDP per capita. While the United States dominate absolute GDP rankings, GDP per capita rankings see smaller countries like Luxembourg and Norway on top. Another advantage of per capita data is that it makes numbers, that are otherwise hard to grasp, more understandable by putting them into context.


The GDP per capita in the United States was 46,860 U.S. dollars in 2010. Alarmingly, the national debt per capita was only slightly lower at 43,609 U.S. dollars. One large contributor to the excessive national debt of the United States is its large military expenditure. In 2010, U.S. defence/military expenditure per capita amounted to 1,947 U.S. dollars. The magnitude of this number becomes clearer when comparing it to the 6.39 U.S. dollars per capita the federal government spent on the funding of arts and culture in 2009.

Another factor contributing to the public debt problem is the United States' expenditure on health. In 2008, total health expenditure per capita in the United States amounted to 7,538 U.S. dollars, which represents the highest value in the world by a wide margin. A little less than 30 percent of that money was spent by the federal government, which puts federal health expenditure in the scope of U.S. military spending.
Photo: sxc.hu / foxumon

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