Political Paychecks

Oppdatert 04.02.2021 Verden

How much do the people who run our countries get paid around the world?

We know it pays to be the CEO of a successful enterprise, but what about running a country or state?

We have looked at how much leaders around the world earn, to see just who is pocketing the most and how much more they are earning than the average person’s yearly salary.

Analysing Presidents, Prime Ministers and even Royalty’s income, we can reveal the biggest earners as well as those who are taking the smallest pay-packet across the globe.

Highest Earning Head of States

1. Saudi Arabia

Ranking top is Saudi Arabia, the King, who is paid a handsome £9.6 million a year as head of state, is actually the highest earner in the world out of all of the heads of states.

With the average salary in comparison coming in at $22,840, the King of Saudi Arabia earns a massive $9,599,977,160 more than the average person in the country!

2. Brunei

Coming in 2nd is Brunei, a small island located in Southeast Asia, the Sultan who is head of state and government earns $1,986,768,000, whilst the average person’s salary is a $24,020, meaning that the Sultan earns $1,986,743,980 more than the average national salary!

3. Kuwait

The Emir of Kuwait is the monarch, head of state and head of government, who earns $165,000,000 a year, whilst the average person in Kuwait earns $31,629 which is $164,968,371 less than the Emir!

4. UK

One of the most famous monarchies in the world is that of the UK monarchy.

Queen Elizabeth II earns a handsome $122,442,508 a year as head of state. With the average annual salary in the UK being $42,220, the Queen actually earns $122,400,288 more than her subjects.

5. Thailand

Thailand’s King earns $84,000,000 a year from the royal privy! With the average yearly income for Thailand’s residents coming in at £5,372, setting the King to earn $83,992,740 more than his residents!

Lowest Earning Heads of State

Iran, Vatican City and Lichstein came top as the lowest head of state earners, however, we have chosen to disclude these. Iran does not have a head of state, the pope does not receive a salary through the Vatican and the Prince of Liechtenstein does not receive a salary but an annual allowance of 250,000 Swiss Francs.

1. Cuba

The lowest earner as head of state is the President of Cuba, earning just $360 a year! With the average salary in the country being $826 a year, Cubans can on average earn $466 more than their President a year!

2. Laos

Unlike that of neighbouring Thailand who has the 5th highest earning head of state. The head of state, the President of Laos earns $1,630 a year, whilst Laos residents can earn $490 a year, therefore the Laos President can only earn up to $1,140 more than the average wage!

3. São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and Príncipe is an African island nation close to the equator. The President earns $2,930 a year, with the average resident earning $1,385 a year, therefore the head of state only earns $1,545 more than the average wage.

4. Haiti

The President of Haiti earns $3,782 a year, however earning $2,979 more than the average residents yearly wage which comes in at only $805 a year.

5. Eritrea

Earning $6,000 a year, the President of Eritrea in East Africa earns $5,545 more than the average resident, who only earns $455 on average a year!,

Highest Earning Heads of Government

1. Brunei

While he may have come in second place when it came to heads of state, the wealthy Sultan of Brunei takes the spot when it comes to heads of government, with his annual salary of over $1.9 billion meaning he earns more than a billion dollars more than the next highest-earning premier!

2. Singapore

Ranking in second for heads of government is Singapore’s Prime Minister, receiving a healthy paycheck of $1,610,000 a year! On average, the Prime Minister is earning $1,550,410 more a year than the average person’s salary at $59,590 a year!

3. Hong Kong

The chief executive of Hong Kong rules as both the head of state and government and earns a wage of $568,400 a year, which is partly because the pay for the office was initially based on the handsome amounts which were once received by the city’s colonial governors.

4. Switzerland

With the average person in Switzerland earning $63,270 a year, in comparison to the federal council of Switzerland who earns $495,000 a year, making that a $409,500 difference!

5. United States

While the recently departed president of the United States was already a billionaire when he took office, he still enjoyed an annual wage of $400,000. On top of that basic salary, the POTUS also receives a $50,000 expense allowance, $100,000 nontaxable travel account and $19,000 ‘entertainment’ account.

Lowest Earning Heads of Government

1. São Tomé and Príncipe

The head of government in São Tomé and Príncipe earns the least in the world, earning $2,100 which is only $715 above the average annual salary of $1,025!

2. Kazakhstan

With the average earner taking home $8,820 a year in Kazakhstan, the ministers of Kazakhstan take home $2,630, which is actually $6,190 less than the average yearly salary!

3. Micronesia

Micronesia is a country spread across the Western Pacific Ocean, where the average person earns $3,369 a year, with the head of government earning $30,000 which is $26,631 a year more than the average salary and is the largest pay difference out of all the lowest-earning heads of government!

4. Ethiopia

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia earns $3,600 a year in comparison to the average yearly salary of $850, earning $2,750 more a year than the average salary.

5. Ukraine

With the average yearly salary in Ukraine at $2,494, the Prime Minister earns only $470 more than the average salary at $3,840 a year!


Salary figures sourced from Wikipedia’s list of salaries of heads of state and government across the world and compared with the average income per person in each country, sourced from WorldData.info.

We then worked out the difference between the two figures, in both US dollars and as a % difference.