ISLAMABAD, May 5: The per capita income in Pakistan rose by 9.5 per cent to $1,207 in fiscal 2010-11, the highest growth in recent past reflecting an improved well-being despite a slowdown in the economy.

As calculated by the federal bureau of statistics here on Thursday this could mean a jump of $105 per capita for 175.31 million population in 2010-11.

The per capita income is the average of the income between the very rich and the very poor and those in the middle. The economists define per capita income as Gross National Product at current market price in dollar terms divided by the country’s population.

Analysts said if the per capita income increased in a true sense during the year then masses should rejoice it. They will get a larger part of the benefit, if not its full part. Will the life of over 40 per cent people living below the poverty line of one dollar per day change radically? A question, which is not clear from these statistics and policies pursued by the government economic managers.

A UN report released here also noted with concern that even today at least one in every three persons in South Asia is classified as poor. However, the report did not specifically mention Pakistan while reviewing its economy facing some major policy challenges in terms of poverty. In rupee terms, the per capita income grew by 19.8 per cent to Rs102,000 in the fiscal 2010-11 as against Rs85,000 in 2009-10. By taking exchange rate at an average of Rs84.5 against a dollar the per capita income climbed to $1,207 per person this year.

This growth was mainly driven by the highest ever increase in remittances from the overseas Pakistanis and a decline in population growth.

As per statistics, it was claimed that the growth in population fell to 2.08 per cent in 2010-11 from 2.11 per cent in the year 2009-10. This decline in population is also claimed to have led to rise in per capita income.

The per capita income was $586 in 2002-03, which rose to $926 in 2006-07 and $1,085 in 2007-08 but now jumped to $1,207.

The size of the economy also peaked to Rs18.8 trillion for the financial year 2010-11, up by 22 per cent from Rs15.4 trillion in the corresponding period last year. But economic growth is projected to fall to 2.4 per cent by end June 2011 from a revised target of three per cent.

As a result of stagnation in economic growth in the past three years, the per capita income also did not witness any substantial growth in dollar term. But the real purchasing power of the people also eroded rapidly as inflation entered into double-digit making essential goods dearer for the poor people.

The per capita income in Pakistan has increased due to large inflow of home remittances from the overseas Pakistanis. This year the remittances were expected to cross the $10 billion mark, which would be the highest ever in the country’s history.