The top 10 countries with the largest economies, denoted by real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), represent approximately 50% of the world’s total population and make up almost 65% of the world’s total GDP.
But what are we talking about when we talk about GDP?
There are different ways to measure the gross domestic product, or GDP, of a nation. The GDP is the total value of goods and services produced by a country in the course of a year.
Sometimes this value is expressed as something called the nominal GDP, and other times it’s expressed as something referred to as real GDP. So what’s the difference? The primary difference between the two is that real GDP adjusts for inflation. By comparison, nominal GDP doesn’t account for inflation, so it may appear higher than it is.
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1. United States
- Real GDP Value: $17 trillion (USD)
- Population: 323 million
- Currency: US Dollar (USD)
The IMF World Economic Outlook estimates that China’s economy grew by 6.7% in 2016, compared with the modest 1.6% growth in the U.S throughout the same year. Of the world’s largest 500 companies, 134 are headquartered in the United States. The U.S. also has the world’s largest and most influential financial markets in the world.
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- Real GDP Value: $9.5 trillion (USD)
- Population: 1.38 billion
- Currency: Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY)
China has been one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies for more than 30 years.
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- Real GDP Value: $6.0 trillion (USD)
- Population: 127 million
- Currency: Japanese Yen (¥ JPY)
Japan has the largest electronic goods industry in the world, especially in robotics.
- Real GDP Value: $3.8 trillion (USD)
- Population: 82.6 million
- Currency: Euro (€)
Germany is the third-largest exporting economy in the world and is a founding member of both the European Union and the eurozone. The country’s strong manufacturing base fuels a healthy export industry, especially to other European nations.
- Real GDP Value: $2.8 trillion (USD)
- Population: 66.8 million
- Currency: Euro (€)
France has the second largest economy in the eurozone, and it’s the fifth-largest economy in the world. France is the most visited country in the world, and tourism is a critical driver of the French economy. Manufacturing is also important, and France is considered a world leader in the automotive, aerospace and railway sectors, as well as having a highly educated labor force, effectively making the country the second largest economy in the Eurozone.
6. United Kingdom
- Real GDP Value: $2.73 trillion (USD)
- Population: 65.6 million
- Currency: British Pound (£ GBP)
At one point, during the 19th century, the United Kingdom was the world’s largest economy. Now it is the world’s sixth-largest. The primary drivers of the UK’s GDP are business and consumer services, financial services and investing. Much of the nation’s economic activity is increasingly concentrated in London.
The value of Britain’s currency, the pound sterling, fell to its lowest in three decades in late 2016, after the Brexit announcement. (Brexit is the nickname for the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union.) As a result, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its forecast for the UK’s 2017 economic growth to just 1.1%.
- Real GDP Value: $2.5 trillion (USD)
- Population: 1.32 billion
- Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
The World Bank forecasts India’s GDP will grow at a rate of more than 7% in 2017, making it the fastest growing major economy in the world. India’s economy depends on manufacturing and service industries, but technology-driven growth could play a role for the country’s economic fortunes in coming years.
- Real GDP Value: $2.25 trillion (USD)
- Population: 208 million
- Currency: Brazilian Real (BRL)
Brazil’s economy is the largest in Latin America, and the second largest in the Americas. The country entered a recession in 2014, but has since begun to recover. The country’s GDP fell by 3.6% during 2016, but it grew 1% in the first quarter of 2017. The majority of Brazilian exports are sent to the United States or China, its primary economic partners.
- Real GDP Value: $2.1 trillion (USD)
- Population: 60.6 million
- Currency: Euro (€)
Italy is the third largest producer of renewable energy in the European Union, also making it one of the largest producers of in the world. The Italian services sector accounts for nearly three quarters of the country’s GDP, employing approximately 65% of all workers. The manufacturing sector is also strong in Italy, employing around 30% of the country’s total workforce.
- Real GDP Value: $1.82 trillion (USD)
- Population: 36.3 million
- Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Consumer demand drives the majority of Canada’s economy with the services industry accounting for around 70% of total economic activity. The service sector is dominated by real estate services, healthcare, public administration, finance, insurance, and social assistance. However, Canada’s other key economic sectors are oil and logging. In fact, oil products constitute the country’s largest single export commodity, with almost 75% of all Canadian exports going to the United States.
Source: World Bank.