Market income per person
The total value of goods and services available to New Zealanders, expressed in inflation-adjusted dollars, per head of population, also known as real gross national disposable income (RGNDI) per person.
Per person RGNDI measures the average income available to New Zealanders. A nation with a rising per person RGNDI will have a greater capacity to deliver a better quality of life and standard of living to its population.
Current level and trends
In the year ended December 2009, RGNDI per person was $29,836 in 1995/1996 dollars. This was 2.1 percent below RGNDI per person for the year ended December 2008 ($30,462). Between 1988 and 1990, RGNDI per person was around $23,000. It fell sharply to $21,457 in 1991, then reached a low of $21,253 in 1992. From 1992, RGNDI per person grew almost continuously, until it fell slightly in 2006 (by 1.3 percent) and more sharply in 2009. The average annual growth rate over the whole period from 1988 to 2009 was 1.2 percent.
Figure EC1.1 Real gross national disposable income per person, 1988–2009
Source: Statistics New Zealand
Note: Includes revised RGNDI data for 1988–2008.
While gross domestic product (GDP) per person is the measure most commonly used to compare income levels between countries, gross national income (GNI) per person more closely corresponds to the measure used in this indicator. To facilitate comparison, both measures are expressed in US dollars at current prices and current purchasing power parities (PPPs). New Zealand was ranked 22nd out of 30 OECD countries for GDP per person in 200863 and 22nd out of 29 countries for GNI per person in 2008. Using GDP per person, New Zealand was the 18th most prosperous out of 26 countries in 1986 and the ninth most prosperous in 1970. Using GNI per person, the rankings for New Zealand were 19th in 1986 and eighth in 1970.
Between 1986 and 2008, real GDP per person (using US dollars and PPPs for the year 2000) grew by 30 percent in New Zealand compared with an OECD average of 53 percent.
Economic value of unpaid work
RGNDI does not take into account the value of unpaid work such as looking after one’s own children, cooking meals at home, fixing the car, doing home maintenance, or doing voluntary work in the community. Using data from the 1998/1999 Time Use Survey, the value of unpaid work in 1999 was estimated to be $39,637 million (1998/1999 dollars), equivalent to 39 percent of GDP, or $10,333 per person.64
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