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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

Rank Country GDP per capita (in US$) Data as of
1 Qatar 90,950 2009
2 Luxembourg 89,626 2010
- Macau, China * 59,870 2009
3 United Arab Emirates 57,473 2009
4 Norway 56,921 2010
5 Singapore 56,794 2010
6 Brunei 48,522 2009
7 Kuwait 48,403 2007
8 United States 47,084 2010
9 Switzerland 46,424 2010
- Hong Kong * 46,331 2010
10 Netherlands 42,448 2010

* Special administrative regions of China

Top 10 Highest GDP per Capita (Southeast Asia)

Overall Rank Country GDP per capita (in US$) Data as of
5 Singapore 56,794 2010
6 Brunei 48,522 2009
57 Malaysia 14,845 2010
86 Thailand 8,612 2010
119 Indonesia 4,429 2010
121 Philippines 3,925 2010
127 Vietnam 3,130 2010
136 Laos 2,449 2010
143 Cambodia 2,150 2010

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

Overall Rank Country GDP per capita (in US$) Data as of
8 United States 47,084 2010
16 Canada 38,841 2010
35 Trinidad and Tobago 25,496 2010
38 Bahamas 24,987 2010
43 Barbados 20,522 2009
50 Antigua and Barbuda 16,462 2010
54 Mexico 15,224 2010
63 Panama 13,910 2010
67 Saint Kitts and Nevis 13,650 2010
74 Costa Rica 11,398 2010

Top 10 Highest GDP per Capita (Latin America)

Overall Rank Country GDP per capita (in US$) Data as of
53 Argentina 15,794 2010
55 Chile 15,026 2010
60 Uruguay 14,277 2009
71 Venezuela 11,956 2010
75 Brazil 11,127 2010
79 Colombia 9,391 2010
80 Peru 9,335 2010
82 Dominica 9,015 2010
83 Dominican Republic 9,010 2010
89 Ecuador 8,511 2010

Top 20 Highest GDP per Capita (Europe)

Overall Rank Country GDP per capita (in US$) Data as of
2 Luxembourg 89,626 2010
4 Norway 56,921 2010
9 Switzerland 46,424 2010
10 Netherlands 42,448 2010
11 Ireland 39,996 2010
12 Austria 39,712 2010
14 Denmark 39,409 2010
15 Sweden 38,885 2010
17 Germany 37,622 2010
18 Belgium 37,491 2010
19 Finland 36,667 2010
20 United Kingdom 35,844 2010
22 Iceland 34,834 2010
25 France 33,820 2010
26 Spain 31,976 2010
27 Italy 31,508 2010
28 Cyprus 30,710 2009
32 Greece 28,129 2010
33 Slovenia 27,392 2010
34 Portugal 25,575 2010

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

Overall Rank Country GDP per capita (in US$) Data as of
- Macau, China 59,870 2010
- Hong Kong, China 46,331 2010
13 Australia 39,545 2009
24 Japan 34,013 2010
29 New Zealand 29,895 2010
35 Korea, South 29,004 2010
66 Palau 13,705 2010
95 China 7,536 2010
114 Vanuatu 4,574 2010
115 Tonga 4,574 2010
117 Fiji 4,527 2010
118 Samoa 4,468 2010

Top 8 Highest GDP per Capita (South Asia)

Overall Rank Country GDP per capita (in US$) Data as of
102 Maldives 5,719 2010
104 Bhutan 5,420 2010
107 Sri Lanka 5,141 2010
124 India 3,586 2010
133 Pakistan 2,677 2010
154 Bangladesh 1,486 2010
160 Nepal 1,194 2010
165 Afghanistan 1,070 2008

Top 10 Highest GDP per Capita (Middle East)

Overall Rank Country GDP per capita (in US$) Data as of
1 Qatar 90,950 2009
3 United Arab Emirates 57,473 2009
7 Kuwait 48,403 2007
21 Bahrain 35,006 2008
31 Israel 28,726 2010
36 Oman 25,341 2008
39 Malta 24,703 2009
41 Saudi Arabia 23,369 2009
64 Lebanon 13,859 2010
72 Iran 11,504 2009

Top 10 Highest GDP per Capita (Africa)

Overall Rank Country GDP per capita (in US$) Data as of
23 Equatorial Guinea 34,824 2010
42 Seychelles 22,428 2010
51 Libya 16,425 2009
56 Gabon 14,968 2010
61 Botswana 13,991 2010
68 Mauritius 13,568 2010
77 South Africa 10,492 2010
88 Tunisia 8,536 2010
90 Algeria 8,333 2010
98 Namibia 6,633 2010

Source: World Bank

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