Global Economy

Wealth and Population Size: The Global Outliers

This scatterplot shows countries by their population size and their GDP per capita (US$). Each circle’s size represents the scale of a country’s population. Its colour corresponds to the magnitude of GDP per capita (current US$). Data is for 2021 from the World Bank.

It highlights some of the “outliers”: China and India are by far the largest countries in the world, and together make up about 36% of the global population (approximately 2.8 billion people). In India GDP per capita in 2021 was 2238 US$ while in China it was 12618 US$.

Conversely, the three countries with the highest GDP per capita, Monaco, Lichtenstein, and Luxembourg, together make up less than 0.01% of the world’s population (approximately 716 000 people).

The United States can also be considered as an “outlier” in this chart, with both a large population size (above 330 million) and a high GDP per capita (approximately 70,200 US$ in 2021).

There are many more ways to describe the population/wealth aspect; for example that approximately 84% of the world’s population live in the bracket below 20 000 US$ in GDP per capita. Approx. 98% live in countries with below 80 000 US$ in GDP per capita; in other words just 2% of the world’s population live in the countries to the right of the 80 000 on the x-axis on the chart.

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