per capita

adverb or adjective
per cap·​i·​ta | \ (ˌ)pər-ˈka-pə-tə How to pronounce per capita (audio) \

Definition of per capita

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

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Synonyms for per capita


all, apiece, each, per

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Examples of per capita in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

With a gross national income per capita that’s more than 12 times higher than Madagascar’s, oil-rich Equatorial Guinea has vastly larger resources. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "The gap in internet speeds is widening between low and high income countries," 11 July 2019 But with gross domestic product per capita less than half that of neighboring Qatar, shoving economic pressures onto citizens carries political risks. Lauren Silva Laughlin, WSJ, "Saudi Arabia Can’t Earn Its Way Out of Trouble," 18 June 2019 Alaska has by far the highest rate of botulism in the United States—there are 800 times more cases per capita there—and some have been linked to eating stranded, decaying, or fermented whale and seal. Craig Welch, National Geographic, "More people are eating marine animals—with deadly results," 22 May 2019 In Uganda, where per capita income was less than $700 in 2016, bitcoin enthusiasts are mostly unfazed by the volatility. Rodney Muhumuza, The Christian Science Monitor, "Despite volatility, bitcoin finds growing support in African economies," 23 Mar. 2018 Taking the top spot is Orlando, Florida, with its large number of event spaces per capita, while Moreno Valley, California came in dead last based on its high wedding costs and low number of venues and hotels. Bridget Mallon, ELLE Decor, "The 10 Best (And Worst) Cities To Get Married In," 3 Feb. 2016 Emboldened by this success, his party promised in 2012 that Turkey’s per capita income would climb to $25,000 by 2023. Ian Bremmer, Time, "Istanbul’s Rebuke of Erdogan Shows That Democracy Lives," 27 June 2019 That honor goes to the Czech Republic, whose citizens –– in 2017, the last year for which figures are available – downed some 137.38 liters (just over 36 gallons) of beer per capita, according to Statista. Colman Andrews, azcentral, "What are the biggest beer brands in America? Here's the top 31," 19 June 2019 Denver’s high number of overdose deaths is largely due to its significant population but per capita overdose deaths are similar in Pueblo and San Luis, where the total numbers are smaller but the impact is just as painful, Valuck said. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "Colorado overdose deaths fall for first time since 2012," 10 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of per capita

1682, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for per capita

Medieval Latin, by heads

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Statistics for per capita

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for per capita

The first known use of per capita was in 1682

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More Definitions for per capita

per capita

adverb or adjective

Financial Definition of 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.

Source: Investing Answers

per capita


English Language Learners Definition of per capita

: by or for each person

per capita

adverb or adjective
per cap·​i·​ta | \ pər-ˈka-pə-tə How to pronounce per capita (audio) \

Kids Definition of per capita

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

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per capita

adverb or adjective
per cap·​i·​ta | \ pər-ˈka-pə-tə How to pronounce per capita (audio) \

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

History and Etymology for per capita

Medieval Latin, by heads

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Comments on per capita

What made you want to look up per capita? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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