In the previous article, we learned that the gross domestic product represents the monetary value of goods and services produced in a country, and saw the variables that make up this value. Now we will see which are the countries with the highest GDP and that, therefore, are the big players in the global economy.
As we can see the United States is the world’s largest economy with a GDP of nearly 18 billion dollars, followed by China with 11 billion dollars. Japan and the major European economies follow them from afar.
The United States comprises 24.4% of the nominal global GDP but only has about 4% of the world population. As a point of comparison, China has 14.7% of the world nominal GDP and about 18% of the world population.
However, many prefer to compare the economic influence of the United States against the European Union, as this is a common market that behaves similarly to a single country’s economy. (Those in computer can see it by pressing the tabs on the graph above).
The European Union has a nominal GDP of $16 trillion, giving them 22.1% of the world economy while having almost 7% of the world population. The main contributors to the economic power of the EU are Germany, the UK, France and Italy. Other major contributors are Spain, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
Although these data show us the disproportionate importance of certain nations in the world economy, this last couple of decades have been marked by the rapid growth of many developing countries to a much higher pace than that of developed countries, which has slowly been reducing the economic importance of these nations in the international arena.
As we can see in the last decade the Asian, African and Latin American economies have grown at a higher rate than those of the developed world. The participation of middle-income countries (defined as countries with a GNI per capita between $ 1.026 and $ 12.475) in the world economy has gone from 16,5% in 1998 to 34,8% in 2015. While China has increased its participation by an 11,5% in the same period, thanks to an average annual growth of 9,7%.
Now that we know that developing countries have been growing faster rate than developed countries, a new question arises: This rapid growth of the economy as a whole translate into improved quality of life in these countries? China and India having some of the largest GDPs in the world only tell us of their importance in the global economy, but say nothing about the people who live there, for that, we have to use other measures, the first of them being the GDP per capita.
Source: World Bank