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GDP or GDP per capita - what's more accurate number in Poland?

Sebastian 6 | 108
18 Feb 2010 #1
hey guys. I'm no economist. But I was reading that Poland has the 15th largest GDP in the world, or something like that. But their GDP per capita is low, only like 16,000. What is more accurate, GDP or GDP per capita? Just wondering.
skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
18 Feb 2010 #2
Both measures are important but look at different aspects. Let's say you have a family of 4 with both parents working and the 2 kids in school. The parents make a total of $100k a year. That's the total "GDP" for the family. However since there are 4 "citizens" in that family their GDP per capita is only $25k per year.

GDP per capita shows more of each individual's wealth wheras the total GDP shows a country's combined wealth. I'm generalizing but it'll make it easier to understand.

You might also look into Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) as a comparison.

"PPP basis is arguably more useful when comparing differences in living standards on the whole between nations because PPP takes into account the relative cost of living and the inflation rates of different countries, rather than just a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) comparison."

(source wikipidia).

List of countries by GDP (PPP)

Poland is about 20 here.

GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
- Total $668.551 billion[3] (21st)
- Per capita $17,536[3] (50th)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
- Total $527.866 billion[3] (18th)
- Per capita $13,846[3] (50th)


GDP and GDP per capita comparisons might be skewed as $17k a year is not much in the US and the UK but a whole lot of money in Zimbabwe. PPP is supposed to correct it somewhat but it's far from perfect.
convex 20 | 3,978
18 Feb 2010 #3
What are you looking for? If you want to compare the financial situation of average people in different countries, you're best bet is to take a look at median incomes, the cost of a local basket of goods, including real estate, and the unemployment rate.

GDP is a sham :)

If it's quality of life you're looking for, HDI is a good indicator.

OECD has stats ondiscretionary income too
pawian 170 | 11,589
22 Aug 2019 #4
2019 data

· Total $1.281 trillion (22nd)
· Per capita $33,747 (43rd)

GDP nominal
· Total $593.295 billion (20th)
· Per capita $15,629 (54th)
Vlad1234 16 | 653
22 Aug 2019 #5
I think manufacturing/industrial production per capita is more accurate way to estimate the real wealth of nations than GDP per capita. GDP per capita includes a "service sector" which is often difficult to estimate in the sense of real wealth.
cms neuf - | 1,608
23 Aug 2019 #6
Yet the countries where Russians hide the money stolen from their citizens have no industry and manufacture nothing but are all expensive and rich - Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg etc
Vlad1234 16 | 653
23 Aug 2019 #7
Luxemburg does have extensive manufacturing. Some rich countries do not, but they are few and small.
Wincig 2 | 197
23 Aug 2019 #8
Come on..In most developed countries, the service sector represents 70% of GDP, with manufacturing and agriculture put together 30%. if you don't take into account services, you miss out on 70% of wealth creation!!
Vlad1234 16 | 653
23 Aug 2019 #9
This is a serious problem. Let assume that US and Brazil have the same size of population and service sector represents 70% of each economy. In this case total size Brazil economy may comprise 70% of US economy even if the size of manufacturing production may differ many times. Most of the service sector doesn't require huge capital investments or assets and calculation may get confusing. I mean that relatively poor country with poorly developed manufacturing may have well developed service sector (such as tourism, trade, health care, recreation, casinos, hotels, etc). But it doesn't mean that an average citizens can afford to buy lot of manufacturing goods.

The claims that service sector comprises 70% of economy in developed countries are arguable and speculative. They could be based on statistical tricks.

Let assume there are two countries with the same size of population: A and B. Country A produces 5 times more manufacturing production (vehicles, computers, electronics, furniture, cloth, etc.) than country B. But both countries have exactly the same well developed service sector (govt. services, banks, restaurants, hotels, taxis, hotels, health care, recreation, trade and anything else). I think ability to afford manufacturing goods defines real life standards much more than services.
Wincig 2 | 197
28 Aug 2019 #10
I think ability to afford manufacturing goods defines real life standards much more than services.

That's highly debatable.. I think that in reality it is the other way around, it is a higher rate of consumption of services as opposed to primary (agri) or secondary (manufactured goods) which characterizes a highly developed economy

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