The Highest (And Lowest) Paid World Leaders

Does it pay to be a world leader?

Zippia | No one can deny that being the head of government or head of state comes with a hefty list of responsibilities. However, in most of the world it also comes with a hefty salary.

President Joe Biden, who was elected as the 46th President of the United States on November 7, 2020, will earn a fixed salary of $400,000—just like every other President since 2001.

Yet, despite a salary that is over 4x that of the national median income, it doesn’t even place Biden in the top 10 of highest paid world leaders.

We scoured data from the International Monetary Fund and the CIA World Factbook to find where the highest paid head of states and world leaders reside. The results? It helps to have a crown.

Countries With The Highest Paid World Leaders

  1. Saudi Arabia
  2. United Arab Emirates
  3. Brunei
  4. Kuwait
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Thailand
  7. Eswatini
  8. Monaco
  9. Qatar
  10. Norway

All of these countries have a world leader or head of state earning far more than the President’s annual salary of $400,000. Keep reading to see how much these well-paid leaders are pulling in– and a little more about the individual making bank. Or you can skip to the bottom to see three countries being in charge means you’re earning absolutely nothing!

1. SAUDI ARABIA – KING SALMAN OF SAUDI ARABIA

Income: $9,600,000,000
Title: King

King Salman of Saudi Arabia earns a royal allowance with a staggering number of zeroes for serving as Saudi Arabia’s head of state. The average household income of $24,980 is dwarfed by the royal’s salary.

2. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – KHALIFA BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN

Income: $4,608,273,000
Title: President

The UAE borders Saudi Arabia and is a federation made up of oil-rich countries ruled by their own hereditary monarchs. Unsurprisingly the current president of the federation, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan us extremely well-compensated.

3. BRUNEI – HASSANAL BOLKIAH

Income: $1,986,768,000
Title: Sultan

Hassanal is one of the last absolute monarchs in the world (along with eSwatini, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Vatican City, and the United Arab Emirates.) Unsurprisingly, with all of that power he has the power to give himself a staggering paycheck.

4. KUWAIT – NAWAF AL-AHMAD AL-JABER AL-SABAH

Income: $165,000,000
Title: Emir

The current Emir of Kuwait has been in power since September 29th, 2020, meaning he hasn’t collected the full yearly royal allocation of $165,000,000.

5. UNITED KINGDOM – QUEEN ELIZABETH II

Income: $122,442,508
Title: Queen

Good old Queen Bess is a hard working monarch who still does daily engagements even at 94. However with a hefty royal grant of $122,442,508, no one can argue she isn’t paid well for it.

6. THAILAND – KING MAHA VAJIRALONGKORN

Income: $84,000,000
Title: King

Thailand is a beautiful, tropical country rich in history. It also has one of the richest paid monarchs in the world. Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn blends personal finances and public, making for a very lucrative living. When you consider the average Thai household only brings in $7,260 it is even more staggering.

7. ESWATINI – KING MSWATI III

Income: $56,051,336
Title: King

King Mswati II is another absolute monarch making an absolutely huge amount of money. King Mswati is notoriously private, with little known (or allowed to be known) about his personal life or the size of his family. However, with an income that high, I suspect it could support quite a large family.

8. MONACO – ALBERT II, PRINCE OF MONACO

Income: $52,063,000
Title: Prince

The tiny European country of Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, only the Vatican is smaller. While the country is roughly the size of New York’s Central Park, the paycheck is metaphorically a lot bigger. The current reigning Prince has an annual allotment of $52,063,000.

9. QATER – TAMIM BIN HAMAD AL THANI

Income: $36,000,000
Title: Emir

In 9th place for highest paid world leader is Qater Emir Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani. Qater is an extremely wealthy Gulf country and the Emir’s salary of $36,000,000 is in line with other, wealthy neighboring countries.

10. NORWAY – KING HARALD V OF NORWAY

Income: $33,237,000
Title: King

King Harvald V of Norway is a long life of Norwegian rulers getting paid quite a bit to wear the crown. Today in the Norwegian government, the king is a largely ceremonial role. The Prime Minister and parliament do the real heavy lifting. But don’t feel too bad, the Prime Minister still earns 210,714 in US dollars annually, over double the Norwegian household income.

IT’S GOOD (MONEY) TO BE KING

Ruling a country, even as a figurehead or person whose face goes on stamps can’t be easy. However, it seems to come with a hefty salary to ease the burdens.

However, if you’re basing career choices solely on finances, most of the time government jobs pay less than those in the private sector. While making it to the top will grant you a substantial income well beyond your country’s median income, it takes a lot of work, quite a bit of luck, and sometimes the circumstances of your birth to get there.

Odds are better of getting in to med school.

Where are world leaders paid the least?

  1. Iran – Supreme
  2. Liechtenstein – Prince
  3. Vatican City – Pope
  4. Cuba – President
  5. Laos – President
  6. Sao Tome and Príncipe – President
  7. Haiti – President
  8. Eritrea – President
  9. Guinea-Bissau – President
  10. Sri Lanka – President

You can a chart of how much each’s country’s head of state is pulling in, and where they are paid the least. Including 3 countries where leaders aren’t pulling in cash:

Country/Leader

Head Of State’s Income

Saudi Arabia – King

$9,600,000,000

United Arab Emirates – President

$4,608,273,000

Brunei – Sultan

$1,986,768,000

Kuwait – Emir

$165,000,000

United Kingdom – Queen

$122,442,508

Thailand – King

$84,000,000

Eswatini – King

$56,051,336

Monaco – Prince

$52,063,000

Qatar – Emir

$36,000,000

Norway – King

$33,237,000

Bahrain – King

$22,400,000

Sweden – King

$15,752,000

Belgium – King

$14,454,440

Luxembourg – Grand

$12,333,102

Denmark – Queen

$11,350,744

Oman – Sultan

$7,238,000

Netherlands – King

$6,082,736

Japan – Emperor

$3,075,316

Tonga – King

$2,129,540

Singapore – President

$1,442,000

Jordan – King

$847,457

Iraq – President

$809,673

Spain – King

$769,050

Cameroon – President

$620,976

Syria –

$576,000

Hong Kong – Chief

$568,400

Switzerland – President

$507,000

Morocco – King

$488,604

Austria – President

$410,000

Ireland – President

$401,000

United States – President

$400,000

Australia – Governor-General

$346,777

Iceland – President

$317,000

Mauritania – President

$300,000

Canada – Governor-General

$290,000

Italy – President

$275,147

Germany – President

$268,448

Malaysia – Yang

$263,500

New Zealand – Governor-General

$260,245

Azerbaijan – President

$225,000

South Africa – President

$223,500

South Korea – President

$211,320

Turkey – President

$197,400

Chile – President

$196,000

France – President

$194,300

Kenya – President

$192,200

Uganda – President

$183,216

Taiwan – President

$180,000

Guatemala – President

$178,680

Israel – President

$173,000

Algeria – President

$168,000

Greece – President

$154,739

Equatorial Guinea – President

$152,680

Lebanon – President

$150,000

Czech Republic – President

$149,517

Zimbabwe – President

$146,590

Finland – President

$141,367

Uruguay – President

$139,608

Russia – President

$136,000

Colombia – President

$134,676

Suriname – President

$133,560

Slovakia – President

$129,284

Dominican Republic – President

$120,000

Palestine – President

$120,000

Somalia – President

$120,000

Comoros – President

$117,060

Costa Rica – President

$113,520

Barbados – Governor

$110,499

Republic of Congo – President

$108,400

Libya – President

$105,000

Paraguay – President

$103,044

Brazil – President,

$102,524

Ivory Coast – President

$100,000

Namibia – President

$99,241

Portugal – President

$96,469

Philippines – President

$95,554

Mauritius – President

$93,783

Guyana – President

$91,700

Georgia – President

$90,890

Cyprus – President

$90,025

Liberia – President

$90,000

Palau – President

$90,000

Lithuania – President

$86,136

Rwanda – President

$85,000

India – President

$84,500

Panama – President

$84,000

San Marino – Both

$83,682

Samoa – Head

$82,000

Slovenia – President

$80,142

Bulgaria – President

$79,000

Maldives – President

$77,768

Ghana – President

$76,000

Ecuador – President

$75,132

Estonia – President

$74,595

Angola – President

$74,480

Nauru – President

$74,411

Malawi – President

$74,300

Hungary – President

$70,964

Malta – President

$70,955

Latvia – President

$70,718

Egypt – President

$70,400

Jamaica – Governor-General

$70,400

Poland – President

$70,026

Nigeria – President

$69,000

Mali – President

$68,900

Mexico – President

$67,903

Pakistan – President

$65,794

Botswana – President

$65,760

Argentina – President

$65,320

Gabon – President

$65,000

Gambia – President

$65,000

Zambia – President

$63,100

Fiji – President

$62,784

El Salvador – President

$62,172

Romania – President

$61,296

Marshall Islands – President

$60,000

South Sudan – President

$60,000

Peru – President

$56,530

Papua New Guinea – Governor

$56,249

Grenada – Governor

$55,014

Trinidad and Tobago – President

$54,600

Lesotho – King

$52,778

Indonesia – President

$51,600

Democratic Republic of the Congo – President

$51,500

Saint Kitts and Nevis – Governor

$51,000

Honduras – President

$49,908

Venezuela – President

$48,816

Burundi – President

$47,300

Tanzania – President

$47,300

Mozambique – President

$46,800

Ethiopia – President

$45,270

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Governor

$45,042

Croatia – President

$44,375

Bosnia and Herzegovina – Presidency

$42,650

Central African Republic – President

$42,524

Myanmar – President

$40,980

Antigua and Barbuda – Governor-General

$40,225

Bolivia – President

$39,924

Nicaragua – President

$38,316

Bahamas – Governor-General

$37,000

Saint Lucia – Governor

$36,111

Burkina Faso – President

$33,810

Dominica – President

$33,671

Belarus – President

$33,600

Montenegro – President

$33,440

Armenia – President

$32,400

Vanuatu – President

$32,295

Micronesia – President

$32,000

East Timor – President

$30,000

Benin – President

$29,810

Sudan – President

$29,320

Belize – Governor-General

$26,241

Seychelles – President

$23,700

Guinea – President

$22,390

China – Party

$22,000

Kazakhstan – President

$20,400

Cape Verde – President

$20,380

Albania – President

$19,665

Kyrgyzstan – President

$18,800

Tuvalu – Governor-General

$17,660

Nepal – President

$17,584

North Macedonia – President

$17,250

Bangladesh – President

$17,100

Tunisia – President

$16,700

Chad – President

$16,640

Solomon Islands – Governor-General

$16,640

Uzbekistan – President

$15,600

Yemen – President

$15,300

Senegal – President

$15,210

Serbia – President

$14,950

Afghanistan – President

$13,400

Tajikistan – President

$13,200

Sierra Leone – President

$12,220

Mongolia – President

$11,620

Ukraine – President

$11,600

Kiribati – President

$11,158

Turkmenistan – President

$10,800

Djibouti – President

$10,000

Moldova – President

$9,264

Vietnam – President

$8,320

Sri Lanka – President

$7,380

Guinea-Bissau – President

$6,360

Eritrea – President

$6,000

Haiti – President

$3,782

Sao Tome and Príncipe – President

$2,930

Laos – President

$1,630

Cuba – President

$360

Iran – Supreme

$0

Liechtenstein – Prince

$0

Vatican City – Pope

$0

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