per capita

Use the Latin per capita when you want to say "per person" in an official-sounding way. For example, your town might have the most dogs per capita in your entire state.

English has more homegrown ways of saying "for each person," but this Latinate way of doing it (per capita literally means "by the head") now has a permanent place when you want to throw statistics around. It's been used in this way since the 17th century and shows no signs of slowing down.

Definitions of per capita
  1. adjective
    per person
    “among the states Connecticut has a high per capita income”
    being in due proportion
  2. adverb
    per person
    “we are spending $5,000 per capita annually for education in this district”
    synonyms: for each person, of each person
Word Family

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