Data

Gross domestic product (GDP)

What you should know about this indicator

GDP at purchaser's prices is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without making deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources. Data are in constant 2015 prices, expressed in U.S. dollars. Dollar figures for GDP are converted from domestic currencies using 2015 official exchange rates. For a few countries where the official exchange rate does not reflect the rate effectively applied to actual foreign exchange transactions, an alternative conversion factor is used.

Limitations and exceptions: Each industry's contribution to growth in the economy's output is measured by growth in the industry's value added. In principle, value added in constant prices can be estimated by measuring the quantity of goods and services produced in a period, valuing them at an agreed set of base year prices, and subtracting the cost of intermediate inputs, also in constant prices. This double-deflation method requires detailed information on the structure of prices of inputs and outputs.

In many industries, however, value added is extrapolated from the base year using single volume indexes of outputs or, less commonly, inputs. Particularly in the services industries, including most of government, value added in constant prices is often imputed from labor inputs, such as real wages or number of employees. In the absence of well defined measures of output, measuring the growth of services remains difficult.

Moreover, technical progress can lead to improvements in production processes and in the quality of goods and services that, if not properly accounted for, can distort measures of value added and thus of growth. When inputs are used to estimate output, as for nonmarket services, unmeasured technical progress leads to underestimates of the volume of output. Similarly, unmeasured improvements in quality lead to underestimates of the value of output and value added. The result can be underestimates of growth and productivity improvement and overestimates of inflation.

Informal economic activities pose a particular measurement problem, especially in developing countries, where much economic activity is unrecorded. A complete picture of the economy requires estimating household outputs produced for home use, sales in informal markets, barter exchanges, and illicit or deliberately unreported activities. The consistency and completeness of such estimates depend on the skill and methods of the compiling statisticians.

Rebasing of national accounts can alter the measured growth rate of an economy and lead to breaks in series that affect the consistency of data over time. When countries rebase their national accounts, they update the weights assigned to various components to better reflect current patterns of production or uses of output. The new base year should represent normal operation of the economy - it should be a year without major shocks or distortions. Some developing countries have not rebased their national accounts for many years. Using an old base year can be misleading because implicit price and volume weights become progressively less relevant and useful.

To obtain comparable series of constant price data for computing aggregates, the World Bank rescales GDP and value added by industrial origin to a common reference year. Because rescaling changes the implicit weights used in forming regional and income group aggregates, aggregate growth rates are not comparable with those from earlier editions with different base years. Rescaling may result in a discrepancy between the rescaled GDP and the sum of the rescaled components. To avoid distortions in the growth rates, the discrepancy is left unallocated. As a result, the weighted average of the growth rates of the components generally does not equal the GDP growth rate.

Statistical concept and methodology: Gross domestic product (GDP) represents the sum of value added by all its producers. Value added is the value of the gross output of producers less the value of intermediate goods and services consumed in production, before accounting for consumption of fixed capital in production. The United Nations System of National Accounts calls for value added to be valued at either basic prices (excluding net taxes on products) or producer prices (including net taxes on products paid by producers but excluding sales or value added taxes). Both valuations exclude transport charges that are invoiced separately by producers. Total GDP is measured at purchaser prices. Value added by industry is normally measured at basic prices. When value added is measured at producer prices.

Growth rates of GDP and its components are calculated using the least squares method and constant price data in the local currency. Constant price U.S. dollar series are used to calculate regional and income group growth rates. Local currency series are converted to constant U.S. dollars using an exchange rate in the common reference year.

Source
Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
May 20, 2024
Next expected update
May 2025
Date range
1960–2022
Unit
constant 2015 US$

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The World Development Indicators (WDI) is the primary World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially-recognized international sources. It presents the most current and accurate global development data available, and includes national, regional and global estimates.

Retrieved on
May 20, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Bank's World Development Indicators (WDI).

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Citations

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“Data Page: Gross domestic product (GDP)”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from World Bank and OECD. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/national-gdp-constant-usd-wb [online resource]
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Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data

Full citation

Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data. “Gross domestic product (GDP)” [dataset]. World Bank and OECD, “World Development Indicators” [original data]. Retrieved June 20, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/national-gdp-constant-usd-wb