Wealth of OECD Nations

OECD Observer

Click to enlarge.

OECD economies have grown enormously in the past three decades, with gross domestic product (GDP) per head growing up to tenfold since 1970 in the largest economies.

Our selection shows the top ranked countries in 2000 and compares this with their historical performance.

At US$5,149, Switzerland, for example, was the largest OECD economy in terms of GDP output per head in 1970, and this includes adjustments for purchasing power parities (PPP) which eliminate the differences in price levels between countries. Switzerland saw its income per head increase sixfold to more than US$30,000 in 2000. But by this time, it was displaced by Luxembourg and the United States, with per capita GDP at more than US$46,000 and US$35,000 respectively; both had incomes around the US$4-5000 range in 1970.

Only Luxembourg, Switzerland and the US were in the top five OECD economies for GDP per capita throughout the last 40 years. But the fastest growth was in Korea: up twentyfold from little more than US$700 in 1970 to US$15,000 in 2000. And even among the top five economies, the pecking order has changed over the years. Norway ranked third in 2000 with per capita GDP of some US$30,000, but in 1970 it was in 18th position with just under US$3,000. And Denmark, in fifth place in 2000 at US$29,500, was in eighth position 30 years earlier with US$3,700.

©OECD Observer No 235, December 2002




Economic data

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • How do the largest community of British expats living in Spain feel about Brexit? Britons living in Orihuela Costa, Alicante give their views.
  • Brexit is taking up Europe's energy and focus, according to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. Watch video.
  • OECD Chief Economist Catherine Mann and former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King discuss the economic merits of a US border adjustment tax and the outlook for US economic growth.
  • Africa's cities at the forefront of progress: Africa is urbanising at a historically rapid pace coupled with an unprecedented demographic boom. By 2050, about 56% of Africans are expected to live in cities. This poses major policy challenges, but make no mistake: Africa’s cities and towns are engines of progress that, if harnessed correctly, can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.
  • OECD Observer i-Sheet Series: OECD Observer i-Sheets are smart contents pages on major issues and events. Use them to find current or recent articles, video, books and working papers. To browse on paper and read on line, or simply download.
  • How sustainable is the ocean as a source of economic development? The Ocean Economy in 2030 examines the risks and uncertainties surrounding the future development of ocean industries, the innovations required in science and technology to support their progress, their potential contribution to green growth and some of the implications for ocean management.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • They are green and local --It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa. blogs.worldbank.org
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at www.oecd.org/careers .

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2017