People in Switzerland have the highest average income - $36,230 in 1992 - of any country in the world, and their life expectancy of 78 years is also close to the top, the World Bank reports.

Babies born in Japan can expect to live to 79, but Japanese incomes are in third place, the equivalent in yen of an average $28,220.Americans lag. Their average income of $23,120 was in eighth place, behind Luxembourg, Japan and four Nordic countries - Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. U.S. life expectancy is a respectable 76 years, but people in 18 other countries live longer.

The figures appear in the "World Bank Atlas 1994," published Thursday.

The bank calculates income averages by dividing a country's population into the value of its total production. That gives production per citizen, including babies and pensioners, which the bank considers roughly equal to income per citizen.

The United Nations criticizes this method as ignoring what the income can actually buy in the country where it is earned. By the U.N. system of "purchasing power parities," the United States comes in first with an average income of $21,449 and Switzerland second, with the equivalent of $20,874. The U.N. figures are for 1990.

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The atlas also contains a variety of hard-to-find information.

In case you care to know how much of Senegal is covered by forest, it's 31 percent, nearly one acre out of every three.

Which country had the most inflation over the years 1985-1992? Nicaragua. Prices there rose an average of more than 25 times each year.

In all 15 republics of the former Soviet Union, production and incomes dropped in 1992, the atlas says. But it warns that the figures are preliminary.

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