GDP per capita, Politics

NZ – 77th out of 80 Anglo States

My last post showed where New Zealanders’ incomes would rank if we were a state of Australia. (9th out of 9.)

What if we extended that comparison to the whole of the Anglo world?

In such a union, we’d be one of 80: 50 states and 1 district of the USA; 6 states and 2 territories of Australia; 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada; 4 countries and 2 Channel Islands of the UK; plus Ireland and us.

Of the 6 countries, we’d be the smallest. But of the 80 states, we’d be 36th. 

50 of those 80 have populations between 1 and 10 million – 20 of those 50  between 3 and 6 million.

So at 4 million, we’re right in the middle of the pack. A bit smaller than British Columbia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Ireland and Queensland. And a bit bigger than Oregon, Alberta, Oklahoma, Connecticut and Iowa.

But when we rank the same states by standard of living, the pack shuffles. And poor old NZ just about falls off the table…

77th out of 80.

And if you said, “At least we’re richer than Northern Ireland and Wales,” don’t be too sure. Their figures were taken a year earlier than ours.

The only one of the 80 states we definitely pip is Prince Edward Island – a Canadian pimple with the population of Hamilton.

Now let’s decolour all states apart from New Zealand and our ten closest neighbours in the population rankings.

Again, you can see we’re by far the poorest. From $11,000 a year poorer than Queensland to $60,000 a year poorer than Alberta.

All of which begs three questions:

Are all 76 of New Zealand’s economic superiors awash with oil, gold or other natural assets that we lack?

Does our remoteness account for our failure to keep up with our population peers?

Or could it be that our poor performance is the legacy of a history of poor management?

I look forward to the government’s ambitious plan to catch up with Mississippi and Tasmania and keep our noses in front of those plucky Prince Edward Islanders.

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5 thoughts on “NZ – 77th out of 80 Anglo States

  1. Why would you include Quebec in a list of Anglo States?

    Fair point, Graeme. The Irish might resent being called Anglo too. What would be a better name for those countries?

  2. I find it strange that you say you’ve ranked the states by standard of living when in fact you’re ranking them by GDP. Those two things are not the same. Interestingly, if you look at US poverty statistics, The District of Columbia has the 6th highest rate of poverty, despite being top of your list.

    I think if the average income in DC is NZ$250,000 then the average standard of living would be pretty high. But point taken Luuk.

    I do think poverty is a problem – poverty of ideas, poverty of courage and ethical poverty. There’s no need for anyone to live in actual poverty in a welfare state.

    But in much of the world, it’s that ethical poverty – corrupt politicians and bureaucrats – that causes economic poverty.

    Zimbabwe is not poor because it lacks natural resources.

    Nor is New Zealand the poor man of the Anglo world because it lacks natural resources.

    (In fact, we have more natural resources for our size than any country bar Saudi Arabia.)

    What we lack is farsighted politicians who really are ambitious for New Zealand.

  3. Be careful with the definition of poverty, in much of the world it is defined by the world bank as living on less than $1.25 USD per day. In Canada there are various cut-offs which equate to about $50 USD per day.

    I’m not sure how New Zealand measures compare to U.S. measures but poverty is an arbitrary concept that varies hugely everywhere.

    Most of New Zealand’s poverty is in the mind, judging by all of the state houses in Porirua with satellite dishes.

  4. Look the fact we all speak English really means nothing. What matters is only the facts we’re miles from nowhere, have developed a boring and narrow minded attitude and outlook and subsequently wasted our chance during the Muldoon government.

    Just because these places all speak English doesn’t mean they’re in the same situation as NZ. Yeah we might get called the poor man of the Anglo world… if anyone actually thought about NZ in the first place. An d in any case you could just as easily include India or the Carribean in the English speaking world.

    If you’re really bothered about this and are looking for some sort of solution then might I suggest you start widening your search for the answers? the world does not revolve around the English language. You might have been ingrained with this stuff about Anglo-Saxon values but really if you see the wider world you’ll appreciate what ignorant and simplistic dross it always was.

    My point is simply that these are the places to which our best and brightest tend to escape.

  5. Funny I don’t remember you even mentioning the brain drain. Have you edited this article to remove all mention of it.

    Yes actually. My mistake.

    Speaking of brain drain, I noticed you were chastising Key accusing him with a nice comedy diagram of implementing policies that would drive NZ’s ‘gap’ wider.

    Could you please explain how making NZ a low wage economy and running down welfare and continuing no superannuation will somehow increase wages? because it seems contradictory.

    Funny, I don’t seem to have mentioned making NZ a low wage economy and running down welfare and continuing no superannuation (whatever that means) either.

    I believe the trick to increasing wages is to increase productivity by allowing employers to keep more of their own money in return for the extra effort – and also offering incentives to able-bodied beneficiaries to return to work.

    Before you dismiss that as cruel and unusual punishment, that’s exactly what the Democrat Clinton did to reform welfare in the US.

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