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Gross Domestic Product or GDP is the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country during a certain period. This is in contrast with Gross National Product or GNP which refers to the market value of all goods and services produced by the country’s citizens.

GDP vs. GNP

While the GDP is limited by geographic borders, the GNP is bounded by ownership. The income, for example, of a Filipino citizen working as an OFW in Saudi Arabia would NOT be counted in the Philippines’ GDP but will be included in the country’s GNP. Similarly, that OFW’s income would be counted as part of Saudi Arabia’s GDP but not part of GNP since the OFW is not a Saudi citizen.

An easy memory device to differentiate the two was taught to us by our high school Economics teacher. Consider GDP as Gawa Dito sa Pinas, meaning the economic output counted is limited to the Philippine boundaries regardless of ownership. GNP, on the other hand, can be remembered as Gawa Ng Pinoy, which refers to all output produced by Filipino citizens or Filipino enterprises wherever they may be.

GDP per capita

Gross Domestic Product alone does not show whether a country is wealthy or not. What is used, however, as an indicator of standard of living of a country is the GDP output divided by the country’s population — also known as GDP per capita. The GDP per capita is not really a measure of personal income but is used to provide a general idea of the individual’s contribution to the economic output of the country.

Thus, a country like China with a huge GDP of $10.09 trillion — the second largest in the world — only has a GDP per capita as of 2010 of around $7,600 (ranked 95th) due to its big population reaching almost 1.4 billion.

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Qatar, a country with only 1.7 million people, has the highest GDP per capita in the world. Its GDP per capita is $90,950 which means on average, each person in Qatar is contributing $90,950 to the country’s economic output.

The Philippines, meanwhile, is ranked 121st in a list of 180 countries, recording a GDP per capita of $3,925 as of the year 2010.

Region-wise, the European region has the mot concentration of countries with the highest GDP per capita. The region with the lowest GDP per capita on average is the South Asian region.

Top 10 Countries in the World with Highest GDP per Capita

RankCountryGDP per capita (in US$)Data as of
1Qatar90,9502009
2Luxembourg89,6262010
-Macau, China *59,8702009
3United Arab Emirates57,4732009
4Norway56,9212010
5Singapore56,7942010
6Brunei48,5222009
7Kuwait48,4032007
8United States47,0842010
9Switzerland46,4242010
-Hong Kong *46,3312010
10Netherlands42,4482010

* Special administrative regions of China

Top 10 Highest GDP per Capita (Southeast Asia)

Overall RankCountryGDP per capita (in US$)Data as of
5Singapore56,7942010
6Brunei48,5222009
57Malaysia14,8452010
86Thailand8,6122010
119Indonesia4,4292010
121Philippines3,9252010
127Vietnam3,1302010
136Laos2,4492010
143Cambodia2,1502010

Top 10 Highest GDP per Capita (North and Central America)

Overall RankCountryGDP per capita (in US$)Data as of
8United States47,0842010
16Canada38,8412010
35Trinidad and Tobago25,4962010
38Bahamas24,9872010
43Barbados20,5222009
50Antigua and Barbuda16,4622010
54Mexico15,2242010
63Panama13,9102010
67Saint Kitts and Nevis13,6502010
74Costa Rica11,3982010

Top 10 Highest GDP per Capita (Latin America)

Overall RankCountryGDP per capita (in US$)Data as of
53Argentina15,7942010
55Chile15,0262010
60Uruguay14,2772009
71Venezuela11,9562010
75Brazil11,1272010
79Colombia9,3912010
80Peru9,3352010
82Dominica9,0152010
83Dominican Republic9,0102010
89Ecuador8,5112010

Top 20 Highest GDP per Capita (Europe)

Overall RankCountryGDP per capita (in US$)Data as of
2Luxembourg89,6262010
4Norway56,9212010
9Switzerland46,4242010
10Netherlands42,4482010
11Ireland39,9962010
12Austria39,7122010
14Denmark39,4092010
15Sweden38,8852010
17Germany37,6222010
18Belgium37,4912010
19Finland36,6672010
20United Kingdom35,8442010
22Iceland34,8342010
25France33,8202010
26Spain31,9762010
27Italy31,5082010
28Cyprus30,7102009
32Greece28,1292010
33Slovenia27,3922010
34Portugal25,5752010

Top 10 Highest GDP per Capita (East Asia and Pacific)

Overall RankCountryGDP per capita (in US$)Data as of
-Macau, China59,8702010
-Hong Kong, China46,3312010
13Australia39,5452009
24Japan34,0132010
29New Zealand29,8952010
35Korea, South29,0042010
66Palau13,7052010
95China7,5362010
114Vanuatu4,5742010
115Tonga4,5742010
117Fiji4,5272010
118Samoa4,4682010

Top 8 Highest GDP per Capita (South Asia)

Overall RankCountryGDP per capita (in US$)Data as of
102Maldives5,7192010
104Bhutan5,4202010
107Sri Lanka5,1412010
124India3,5862010
133Pakistan2,6772010
154Bangladesh1,4862010
160Nepal1,1942010
165Afghanistan1,0702008

Top 10 Highest GDP per Capita (Middle East)

Overall RankCountryGDP per capita (in US$)Data as of
1Qatar90,9502009
3United Arab Emirates57,4732009
7Kuwait48,4032007
21Bahrain35,0062008
31Israel28,7262010
36Oman25,3412008
39Malta24,7032009
41Saudi Arabia23,3692009
64Lebanon13,8592010
72Iran11,5042009

Top 10 Highest GDP per Capita (Africa)

Overall RankCountryGDP per capita (in US$)Data as of
23Equatorial Guinea34,8242010
42Seychelles22,4282010
51Libya16,4252009
56Gabon14,9682010
61Botswana13,9912010
68Mauritius13,5682010
77South Africa10,4922010
88Tunisia8,5362010
90Algeria8,3332010
98Namibia6,6332010

Source: World Bank

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