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Expand chart
Data: Maddison Project Database via Our World In Data; Note: GDP per capita expressed in international U.S. dollars, adjusted for inflation and price differences between countries; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

The average person on Earth is now 4.4 times richer than their ancestors were in 1950, according to an analysis by Max Roser, founder and editor of Our World in Data.

Why it matters: That's equivalent to the prosperity of a U.S. citizen in 1950 — when the U.S. was the world's richest country. In response, the world has seen a jump-start in education, an increase in life expectancy and lower child mortality rates.

The biggest winners have been smaller nations that have benefitted from the explosion of the global economy, usually via successes in technology or finance — places like South Korea (a 32.2x jump in per capita GDP since 1950), Taiwan (30.4x) and Singapore (27.5x).

  • The biggest losers have been countries that were near the bottom in 1950 and have stagnated or even declined since then. The successes of the rest of the world have left these countries — the Central African Republic (0.5x), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (0.5x) and Sierra Leone (0.6x) — on the far side of a widening inequality gap.

The bottom line: Roser, an Oxford economist, writes that he finds GDP per capita important, especially over time, because it acts as "a measure of means only and thereby respects the freedom of everyone to choose for themselves."

Go deeper: How 74 economies have performed this century

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.

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