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Tracking GDP in PPP terms shows rapid rise of China and India

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The ICP blog series explores ideas and issues under the International Comparison Program umbrella – including innovations in price and data collection, discussions on purpose and methodology, as well the use of purchasing power parities in the growing world of development data. Authors from across the globe, whether ICP practitioners or researchers making use of ICP data, are encouraged to submit relevant blogs for consideration to

According to the latest available purchasing power parity (PPP) data, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) in PPP terms overtook the USA’s in 2013, and now accounts for nearly 19% of the global economy. Five years earlier, in 2008, India’s GDP in PPP terms surpassed that of Japan to become the third largest economy in the world. This chart shows the size of the largest 15 economies in the world for every year between 1990 and 2018. Over that time, China’s economy grew by over a 1000%, whilst India’s economy grew by nearly 500%. 

This comparison of economies across the globe is enabled by the use of PPPs, computed by the International Comparison Program (ICP), which collects price and expenditure data from nearly 200 countries. Next year we will be releasing new ICP results, including updated PPPs and measures of GDP and its aggregates. At that time, we will revisit these trends and rankings to explore when these growing economies have risen to become some of the largest players in the global economy over the last few years. We will also take a look at the standard of living within these countries and the material well-being of their citizens, through GDP per capita measured in PPP terms. Stay tuned to #icpppp…


Edie Purdie

Consultant, Development Data Group (DECDG), World Bank

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