Taiwan's Per-Capita Income Overtakes Korea's

  • By Kim Sung-mo

    March 08, 2023 09:32

    Korea's per-capita gross national income has fallen behind Taiwan's for the first time.
    According to the Bank of Korea on Tuesday, the country's per-capita GNI in 2022 declined 7.7 percent from a year ago to US$32,661 due to the depreciation of the won against the dollar, while Taiwan's stood at $33,565.
    Per-capita GNI is a more accurate gauge of a country's standard of living than per-capita GDP.
    In won terms Korea's per-capita GNI increased 4.3 percent to W42.2 million last year, but the won plunged 12.9 percent against the dollar, leading to a decline in incomes, the BOK said. The Taiwan dollar also weakened, but only by 6.8 percent.
    Korea's per capita GNI surpassed $30,000 for the first time in 2017 and rose to $33,564 in 2018, but then it fell to $32,204 in 2019 and to $32,004 in 2020. It rebounded to $35,373 in 2021 despite the coronavirus pandemic.
    Pedestrians cross a street in Seoul on Tuesday. /Yonhap
    Another useful point of comparison is Italy. According to UN data, Italy's per-capita GNI stood at $32,277 in 2020, compared to Korea's $32,004. But in 2021, it reached $36,216, which was more than $800 higher than Korea's, and last year, Italy's economic growth of 3.9 percent outpaced Korea's 2.6 percent, suggesting that the gap widened further.
    Worldwide, Korea ranks 36th in terms of per-capita GNI and seventh among countries with a population of more than 50 million.
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