I'm looking for recent data on discretionary incomes and their distributions in different countries and don't know where to find it. I've only found some older article by the New York Times, but am looking for a general and reputable source as opposed to journal articles.

Is there a general and respected source for such data?

  • Have you tried The Economist? And, by the way, technically this would be a "shopping list" question, which are officially discouraged. That said, this question could be such a good resource going forward for other discussions that I'm tempted to make an exception.. Mar 22, 2013 at 16:24
  • @AffableGeek - I think hat "gold standard" data sources on such data sources should be on-topic. This isn't something that can only be subjectively evaluate ala shopping list - there resources can be evaluated objectively, by cites, reviews and data completeness.
    – user4012
    Mar 22, 2013 at 16:28
  • Let's take this to meta... Mar 22, 2013 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


There are a number of data resources for economic data. It is unlikely that "disposable income" is a specific variable, as that means different things to different people, and in different contexts. You can use to estimate such things the best are:

If there is a variable called "disposable income" be certain that it measures what you want to measure. If there is not such a variable, then you can reasonably estimate it by subtracting the median income from the per capita income: median income being a rough estimation of how much per capita it costs to live a median life, and the remainder being disposable. Alternatively, if you are doing a cross nation comparison, per capita is probably a reasonable proxy, because the difference between per capita income and disposable income is likely very high.

Many of these statistics, and other sources, are compiled and available from NationMaster.com, too. That website also will create charts, graphs and some other tools for representation of the data. http://www.nationmaster.com/

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