Lifestyle & Belief

Where do you fall on the global pay scale? The International Labor Organization can tell you


Occupy DC protesters carry a globe through the streets of Washington on their way to protest in front of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 30, 2012.


Paul J. Richards

The world's average salary is $1,480 a month, which is just less than $18,000, a year, according to data released by the International Labor Organization.

The United Nations' International Labor Organization (ILO) used 2009 data from 72 countries, BBC News reported. The study results, which have been released for the first time this year, also only take into account wage earners are counted, and not the self-employed or people on benefits, according to BBC. 

The average global pay is about half of the average salary of the UK and the United States, according to BBC. Professionals in the US and UK earn just over $3,000 a month, or around $37,000 a year, BBC reported. That worldwide average is twice the average salary of Bulgaria, and the same as the average salary in Poland. 

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"To put things in a proper perspective, let us remember that many of those people who belong to the 99 percent in America are also very rich by global standards," wrote policy analyst with the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity Marian L. Tupy

The BBC’s website has crafted a feature that allows you to compare your income with workers in the rest of the world. For example, if your average income is $42,078 per year or $3,507 per month before taxes, your income is 237 percent of the global average, Tupy wrote.

However, the US dollar values in the ILO study are not "normal" American currency; they are Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) dollars, which take into account the spending power of a country's money. 

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"If someone in China takes their salary of 1,500 yuan per month and they go to the bank, they will actually get $200," ILO economist Patrick Belser explained to the BBC. "But this is not what we use to compute this global average, because what is important here is what people are able to buy with these 1,500 yuan, and this is where we compare to the purchasing power of the US dollars and find that it is actually equivalent to around $400."

So what is the world's highest earning country? Luxembourg, where the average salary is around $48,000 a year, BBC reported. Tajikistan, where the average wage is about $2,700 a year, is the world's lowest earner. 

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