The ten largest national economies in the world comprise nearly 70% of the entire world's economy. Of these ten countries, four are in Europe, three are in the Americas and three are in Asia. The GDP per capita is greater than $30,000 for seven of the top ten countries with Brazil, China and India having significantly lower GDP per capita. The United States has the largest economy -- about the same size as the second (China), third (Japan) and fourth (Germany) largest economies combined.
Many economists project that China will supplant the United States as the largest economy in the world within the next few decades. Because China's population is about 4 times larger than that of the United States, equal size economies would mean that China's GDP per capita would reach about one-fourth that of the United States. China's GDP per capita is currently about one-tenth that of the United States.
Note: GDP has a number of limitations as a measure of economic strength but is still the most commonly cited measure of economic size. This article uses nominal GDP as reported by the IMF (2010). Nominal GDP refers to the GDP evaluated at current market exchange rates. An alternative is the Purchase Price Parity (PPP) which is a theoretical construct that seeks to represent the exchange rate that would allow for a basket of goods to cost the same in different countries. PPP can vary based on the basket of goods sold and have sometimes undergone major adjustments such as in 2005 when China's PPP was adjusted by 40%.
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