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ICP 2021: Size of economies

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In 2021, global output in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms was $152.4 trillion.1 Global output refers to the sum of gross domestic product (GDP) for all 176 economies that participated in the International Comparison Program (ICP) 2021 cycle at the GDP level. Figure 1 shows the distribution of PPP-based global output by geographic region and World Bank’s Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) income group against shares of the global population.

In 2021 lower-middle-income economies – home to around 42% of the world’s population – contributed around 18% to global GDP, while upper-middle-income economies, accounting for a third of the global population, contributed 35%. At the same time, high-income economies – where 16% of the total population live – contributed 46%. Low-income economies contributed 1% to the global economy – despite accounting for 8% of the world’s population.

East Asia and Pacific accounted for the largest regional share — just under one-third of global GDP. This economic share was roughly in line with the region’s population share of 30%. A similar consistency was also seen in Latin America and the Caribbean — the region’s share of GDP in PPP terms and population were all around 7 to 8% of the global total, and in Middle East and North Africa, where the region’s share of GDP in PPP terms and population were around 5%. At the same time, both North America and Europe and Central Asia had economic shares that far exceeded their population shares, while the converse was true in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Figure 1 also shows how these metrics compare with an analysis of global GDP as measured using market exchange rates to provide GDP in a common currency.  PPP-based GDP comparisons reflect only the differences in the volume of output of economies, while the variation between the levels of market exchange rate-based GDP in two or more economies reflect both differences in the volumes of goods and services produced by the economies and differences in the price levels of the economies. This is because market exchange rates do not take into account the relative purchasing power of currencies. The effect of this latter approach is seen most vividly in North America and in the high-income group of economies, where high prices inflate the share of market exchange rate-based global GDP by nearly ten and sixteen percentage points, respectively. Conversely, in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and in low- and lower-middle-income economies, for example, the PPP-based comparison reflects their comparative output better as these are not diminished by the low prices typical in these regions and groups.

Figure 2 shows, for a given economy, its share of global GDP, represented by the size of the economy’s respective box. Economies are grouped by geographic region, and each color-coded area represents that region’s share of global GDP.

China’s GDP stood at $29 trillion in PPP terms in 2021, representing 18.9% of global GDP, while the United States’ GDP was $24 trillion, accounting for 15.5% of global GDP. India, at $11 trillion or 7.2%, was the third-largest economy, followed by the Russian Federation, Japan, Germany, Brazil, and France. Together, these eight economies accounted for more than half of global output. Overall, 19 economies contributed three-quarters of global GDP; three of these economies (India, Indonesia, and the Arab Republic of Egypt) were classified as lower-middle-income economies, and five (China, the Russian Federation, Brazil, Mexico, and Türkiye) were classified as upper-middle-income economies, with the remainder classified as high-income economies. Together, they represented 62% of the global population.

1/ PPPs are statistical estimates and should be treated as approximations of true values, subject to sampling, measurement, and classification errors. They should not be used as indicators of currency under- or overvaluation. ICP Results are based on data supplied by participating economies to the global and regional implementing agencies, and produced in accordance with ICP methodology. Results are not deemed to be national official statistics.