Gross Domestic Product (i.e. GDP) is one of the most common measures of economic output and strength. Virtually all countries around the world measure and report their GDP on a regular basis. This allows us to directly compare their economic power. Fortunately, the World Bank provides a comprehensive database of economic indicators, including current and historic data on GDP for most countries. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the world’s top 10 economies by GDP.
1. United States
The world’s most powerful economy is the United States with a GDP of USD 18,624,475.00 million (i.e. USD 18.6 trillion). The US also has the most technologically powerful economy in the world with highly diversified industries like petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, chemicals, electronics, food processing, and consumer goods. The most important sector in the US is the services sector, which accounts for 80.2% of total GDP, followed by the industry sector (18.9%) and agriculture (0.9%). Despite increasing pressure from low-wage producers such as China, the US has managed to consistently increase economic output over the last few years.
The second largest economy in the world is China, with an official GDP of USD 11,199,145.16 million (i.e. USD 11.2 trillion) in 2016. China is also the world’s largest country by population, with more than 1.3 billion people. It is the world leader in industrial output and has strong industries like mining, iron, steel, aluminum, machine building, textiles and apparel, chemicals, as well as consumer products. This results in a strong industry sector, which accounts for 39.5% of the total GDP. Meanwhile, services account for 52.2% and agriculture for 8.2% of the country’s GDP. It is important to note that 40 years ago, China was a closed, centrally planned economy. Since then it has developed into one of the world’s leading economic powers.
The next country on the list is Japan. With a GDP of USD 4,949,273.34 million (i.e. USD 4.95 trillion), it is the world’s third most powerful economy. It ranks among the world’s largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, machine tools, electronics, ships, chemicals, and processed foods. The most dominant sector in Japan is the services sector, which is responsible for 70.9% of the country’s total GDP. In the meantime, the industry sector makes up 29.7% and the agriculture sector accounts for the remaining 1%. Japan’s position as one of the world’s strongest industries is impressive, especially because the country is scarce in critical natural resources.
The world’s 4th largest economy by GDP is Germany, with an official GDP of USD 3,477,796.27 million (i.e. USD 3.48 trillion). Germany is also the most powerful economy in the euro zone. It is among the world’s largest producers of iron, steel, coal, chemicals, machinery, automobiles, and machine tools. Nevertheless, the country’s strongest sector is the services sector, which accounts for 69.3% of the total GDP. The industry sector accounts for 30.1%, while the agriculture sector only adds the remaining 0.6%.
5. United Kingdom
Number 5 on the list is the United Kingdom (UK) with a GDP of USD 2,650,850.18 million (i.e. USD 2.65 trillion). In addition to that, the UK is the 2nd largest economy in Europe. The most important economies in the UK include machine tools, electric power equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, chemicals, food processing, clothing, and other consumer goods. The economy has a strong services sector, which makes up 80.4% of the country’s GDP. Meanwhile, the industry sector accounts for 19% and agriculture for 0.6%. The UK was hit particularly hard during the 2008 financial crisis. Although it has recovered quite well since then, it has seen another economic downturn in 2015 and 2016.
The world’s 6th largest economy is France, with a GDP of USD 2,465,453.98 (i.e. USD 2.47 trillion) in 2016. It is also the 3rd largest economy in the euro zone. The country’s strongest industries include machinery, chemicals, automobiles, aircraft, electronics, and tourism. The services sector accounts for 78.9% of total GDP, followed by the industry sector (19.4%) and the agriculture sector (1.6%). France has committed to a form of capitalism that maintains social equity by means of the law. Therefore, the government still maintains a relatively strong presence in the economy.
Next up is India, with an official GDP of USD 2,263,792.50 million (i.e. USD 2.26 trillion). The country has a diverse economy, with strong industries like textiles, chemicals, steel, mining, machinery, pharmaceuticals and software. Due to its large rural areas, the country’s agricultural sector makes up about 16.8% of the total GDP. Meanwhile, the industry sector accounts for 28.9% and services for the remaining 46.6%. Over the past years, India has developed into an open-market economy which has accelerated the country’s growth in recent years.
With an official GDP of USD 1,859,383.61 million (i.e. 1.86 trillion), Italy is the world’s 8th largest economy. In addition to that, it is the 4th largest economy in the euro zone. The countries major industries include tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, clothing, and food processing. As a result, the services sector (73.9%) and the industry sector (24%) together make up about 98% of the total GDP. Most of the remaining 2% originate from the country’s agricultural south.
The next country on the list is Brazil, with an official GDP of USD 1,796,186.59 million (i.e. USD 1.7 trillion). The country is known for its textile and shoe industry as well as strong cement, lumber, iron ore and tin industries. This results in a relatively strong agriculture sector, which makes up about 6% of total GDP. However, as in most modern industries, the services (72.8%) and industry (21%) sectors still account for most of the country’s GDP. Brazil is still recovering from a strong recession in 2015 and 2016. Before the recession, the countries economic output was reported significantly higher at almost USD 2.5 trillion in 2013 and 2014.
Last but not least, the world’s 10th largest economy according to Gross Domestic Product is Canada, with an official GDP of USD 1,535,767.74 million (i.e. USD 1.5 trillion) in 2016. The country has strong industries in the areas of transportation equipment, chemicals, food products, wood and paper products as well as fishing. If we look at the composition of GDP by sector of origin, the services sector is responsible for about 70.2% of the countries GDP, followed by industry (28.1%) and agriculture (1.7%). Like most other countries, Canada has seen a huge increase in GDP over the last 50 years. In 1960, it was reported at only USD 41,093.45 million.
In a Nutshell
Gross Domestic Product (i.e. GDP) is one of the most common measures of economic output and strength. Virtually all countries around the world measure and report their GDP on a regular basis. This allows us to compare the economic strength of countries around the world. The world’s top 10 economies by GDP (1 to 10) are the United States, China, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, India, Italy, Brazil, and Canada.
Update: We have added another list that shows the world’s most competitive economies by GDP per capita. To see how that impacts the top 10, make sure to check out our article on the world’s top 10 economies by per capita GDP.