per capita

adverb or adjective per cap·i·ta \ (ˌ)pər-ˈka-pə-tə \
Updated on: 20 Nov 2017

Definition of per capita

1 : equally to each individual
2 : per unit of population : by or for each person
  • the highest income per capita of any state in the union

Recent Examples of per capita from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'per capita.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of per capita

Medieval Latin, by heads


Financial Definition of PER CAPITA

per capita

What It Is

Per capita  is a measure of a quantity per person.

How It Works

For example, per capita GDP is a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) per person. The formula for per capita GDP is:

Per Capita GDP = Gross Domestic Product/Population

So, let's assume that Country XYZ has $100 trillion in gross domestic product and 250 million people. According to the formula, Country XYZ's net debt per capita is:

Per Capita GDP = $100,000,000,000,000/250,000,000 = $400,000

Why It Matters

Per capita measures help analysts and investors get a better feel for whether a company, country, or other entity is productive, efficient, or profitable. For instance, the per capita measure of GDP indicates whether the country’s workforce is generally becoming more or less productive – that is, whether the country’s workforce is efficiently producing goods and services that consumers want.


PER CAPITA Defined for English Language Learners

per capita

adverb

Definition of per capita for English Language Learners

  • : by or for each person


PER CAPITA Defined for Kids

per capita

adverb or adjective per cap·i·ta \ pər-ˈka-pə-tə \

Definition of per capita for Students

: by or for each person
  • What is the per capita income?

Law Dictionary

per capita

adverb or adjective per cap·i·ta \ pər-ˈka-pə-tə \

legal Definition of per capita

1 : equally to each individual
  • all property to pass to the descendants per capita
used of a method of distributing an especially intestate estate — compare per stirpes
Note: Per capita distribution of an estate provides each descendant with an equal share of the estate's assets regardless of the degree of his or her kinship. Children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc., all receive equal shares.
2 : per unit of population : by or for each individual
  • a high per capita tax burden

Origin and Etymology of per capita

Medieval Latin, by heads



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