For a long time, the United States has consistently been the richest country in the world. This is hardly surprising given the superpower status of the country. However, the title of the richest country in the world currently belongs to the Asian powerhouse, China. Countries on the Asian continent have been making steady economic progress over the last few decades with China being the biggest gainer.
Economies of European countries on the other hand have not grown as much as those of their Asian counterparts. European powerhouses, Germany, France and the U.K have dropped down on the list. Italy is no longer one of the top 10 richest countries in the world.
The top 10 richest countries in the world were ranked using the gross domestic product (GDP) based on purchasing power polarity (PPP). This is different from the nominal GDP used to determine how large a country’s economy is. The following are the top 10 richest countries in the world currently.
GDP (PPP): $29.47 Trillion
China holds the title of the world’s richest country with a GDP (PPP) of $29.47 trillion. The country has experienced exponential economic growth over the past few decades. In 1980, the economy of China was only the 7th largest in the world with a GDP of $305.35 billion. In 2020, China’s GDP stands at $29.47 trillion.
How did China get here you may be tempted to ask. The country initiated market reforms in 1978, a move which has seen the country’s economy average growth of 10% annually. The growth rate of the Chinese economy has dropped in recent years but it remains high when compared to similar nations.
The manufacturing sector contributed greatly to the growth of the Chinese economy over the years. Several big global countries have their factories in China. The contributions of manufacturing to China’s GDP is reducing now with the contributions of the service sector on the rise. United States
- United States
GDP (PPP): $22.321 Trillion
The US has a GDP (PPP) of $22.321 trillion which is second only to that of China. In terms of nominal GDP however, the US leads the way. The U.S economy constitutes almost a quarter of the global economy which makes the US an economic superpower. This underscores the weight of the US economy on a global scale and its impact on the economies of other countries.
The US economy is backed by advanced technology, infrastructure, and an abundance of natural resources. Many countries look to the US for technology. By 2021, it is projected that the US economy will grow to $24.88 trillion.
GDP (PPP): $12.36 Trillion
The fastest-growing trillion-dollar economy in the world is that of India. In 2019, the growth rate of India’s economy was put at 7.5%. In terms of GDP based on PPP, the economy of India ranks 3rd while for nominal GDP, India’s economy ranks 5th.
The service sector of India is the largest in the world and accounts for more than 60% of the country’s economy. 28% of the country’s workforce is employed in the service sector. Manufacturing and Agriculture are two other sectors contributing significantly to the strength of India’s economy.
GDP (PPP): $5.89 Trillion
Japan has the third-largest economy in the world but comes 4th in terms of GDP based on purchasing power polarity. The country is another powerhouse on the Asian continent. The 2008 financial crises rocked the economy of Japan. Since then, the country’s economy has been struggling to recover.
At some point, the country’s economy began to show signs of recovery but it wasn’t to be. A massive earthquake hit the country further compounding the country’s economic problems. While there has been some progress made since the earthquake, economic growth is yet to fully pick up in Japan.
The 2020 Olympics was expected to help inject some stimulus into the Japanese economy and help it on its way to full recovery. The outbreak of Coronavirus ultimately led to the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games. The 2020 Olympics games is now rescheduled for 2021 and will commence in July of that year.
GDP (PPP): $4.59 Trillion
On the European continent, the German economy is both the largest and the strongest. On a global scale, the economy of Germany is the 4th largest in terms of nominal GDP. In terms of PPP based GDP, the country’s economy is 5th.
The economy of Germany relies mainly on capital export goods which suffered a setback following the 2008 global financial crises. This has led to a slower growth rate for the German economy. In 2018 and 2019, Germany’s economy grew by 1.5% and 0.5% respectively. The country recently launched a strategic initiative to increase its manufacturing strength. This will hopefully help to strengthen the country’s economy.
GDP (PPP): $4.52 Trillion
Russia tops the bottom half of this list of top 10 richest countries in the world. The country’s GDP based on PPP currently stands at $4.52 trillion. In terms of nominal GDP, Russia has the 11th largest economy valued at $1.63 trillion.
The 1990s were tough and challenging for Russia but the country emerged stronger from that decade. The country’s economy, however, took a hit during the 2008 global financial crises and also in 2014. The country’s dependence on oil was exposed as a result of these crises. In 2016, Russia’s economy contracted by 0.2 but this was followed by a 1.5% growth in 2017. The country’s economy also grew by 1.7% in 2018 and 1.5% in 2019.
GDP (PPP): $4.01 Trillion
The country’s economy was badly hit as a result of the 1997 Asian financial crises. Since then, Indonesia’s economy has been on a steady rise. The last two decades have been particularly good for the Indonesian economy as it experienced tremendous growth. Currently, the country’s nominal GDP stands at $1.02 trillion while its GDP based on PPP is $4.01 trillion.
Industry and services contribute about 43% each to the country’s GDP while Agriculture accounts for about 14 %. The country has made steady progress in its fight against poverty. Indonesia’s poverty rate has dropped by half since 1999 to 10.9% in 2016.
GDP (PPP): $3.60 Trillion
This Latin American nation, Brazil has the 9th largest economy in the world based on its nominal GDP of $1.85 trillion. It’s GDP based on PPP which stands at $3.37 trillion lands it in 8th position on this list. The country’s economy is the largest in the whole of Latin America.
Brazil’s economy is plagued by several challenges that are stifling its growth. Corruption and political uncertainty have reduced investor’s confidence in the country. As of 2014, the country’s economy was barely growing as its growth rate was 0.1%. In 2016, things became worse as Brazil’s economy contracted by 3.5%.
The following year, the economy rebounded, experiencing a 1% growth. This was followed by further growths in 2018 and 2019. The 2019 growth rate of Brazil’s economy was 2.5%.
The current Coronavirus pandemic is rampaging the country. Over 4.5 million people have been infected with the virus in Brazil. This development will inevitably slow down the country’s economic growth for 2020.
- United Kingdom
GDP (PPP): $3.24 Trillion
The United Kingdom boasts of an economy with a nominal GDP of $2.83 trillion. This is the 6th largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), the country’s economy ranks 9th. The country enjoyed years of economic growth until the 2008 financial crises. The country’s economy contracted by 6% between the first quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2009.
It took 5 years for the country’s economy to return to the pre-2008 level. The service sector is the mainstay of the U.K economy. It accounts for about 75% of the U.K’s GDP. The manufacturing industry and the agriculture industry also contribute significantly to the U.K’s economy.
GDP (PPP): $3.16 Trillion
Rounding up this list of top 10 richest countries in the world is France. The European country has a GDP based on PPP of $3.16 trillion. Its nominal GDP is $2.71 trillion, the 6th largest in the world. Tourism is a major contributor to France’s economy. The country is the most visited in the world.
Apart from Tourism, Agriculture is another mainstay of the French economy. France is the 6th largest agricultural producer and the 2nd largest agricultural exporter in the world. The manufacturing industry is also important to the French economy.
The growth rate of the French economy has declined over the last few years. In 2017, the growth rate was 2.3% while it dropped to 1.8% in 2018. In 2019, the economy of France only grew by 1.7%.
Conclusion (Top 10 Richest Countries In The World)
This list was compiled using GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP). The countries featured here have the highest GDP based on PPP. As expected, China and the United States feature at the top of the list. Japan, Germany and Russia also feature.