Unexpectedly Intriguing!
December 13, 2005

Today, Political Calculations is ranking the nations of the Western Hemisphere, looking at their GDP-PPP (Gross Domestic Product adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity), population and GDP-PPP per capita of the independent nations of North America, South America, Central America and the Carribbean. The information is presented in a dynamic table format, which means that you may rank the data either from least to greatest or greatest to least in the table by clicking the individual column heads:

GDP of the Americas: 2004 Edition
Country GDP-PPP (billions $USD) Population (2004 est.) GDP-PPP per Capita
Antigua and Barbuda 0.8 68320 10978
Argentina 483.5 39144753 12352
Bahamas, The 5.3 299697 17668
Barbados 4.6 278289 16418
Belize 1.8 272945 6514
Bolivia 22.3 8724156 2560
Brazil 1492.0 184101109 8104
Canada 1023.0 32507874 31469
Chile 169.1 15823957 10686
Colombia 281.1 42310775 6644
Costa Rica 38.0 3956507 9597
Cuba 33.9 11308764 2999
Dominica 0.4 69278 5543
Dominican Republic 55.7 8833634 6303
Ecuador 49.5 13212742 3747
El Salvador 32.4 6587541 4911
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) 0.1 2967 25278
French Guiana 1.6 191309 8107
Greenland 1.1 56384 19509
Grenada 0.4 89357 4924
Guatemala 59.5 14280596 4164
Guyana 2.9 705803 4107
Haiti 12.1 7656166 1574
Honduras 18.8 6823568 2754
Jamaica 11.1 2713130 4102
Mexico 1006.0 104959594 9585
Netherlands Antilles 2.5 218126 11232
Nicaragua 12.3 5359759 2302
Panama 20.6 3000463 6856
Paraguay 29.9 6191368 4834
Peru 155.3 27544305 5638
Saint Kitts and Nevis 0.3 38836 8729
Saint Lucia 0.9 164213 5274
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 0.3 117193 2918
Suriname 1.9 436935 4314
Trinidad and Tobago 11.5 1096585 10469
United States 11750.0 293027571 40099
Uruguay 49.3 3399237 14494
Venezuela 145.2 25017387 5804
The Americas (All) 16986.8 870598188 19512

Analyzing the Data

The Richest and Poorest Nations of the Americas

For 2004, the United States maintains a dominating spread over second-place Canada to again earn the title of being the richest nation in the Americas. When we break the field into subcategories that do not include the U.S.: South America, the Caribbean, and Central America. We find that for South America, the economic powerhouse of that continent, as measured by GDP-PPP per Capita, is Uruguay, followed closely by Argentina. Looking at the Carribbean region, The Bahamas leads Barbados. Finally, the richest nation in Central America is Costa Rica, which is closely followed by Mexico in the measure of GDP-PPP per Capita.

Haiti continues to be the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, falling far behind next lowest economic performer Nicaragua.

Biggest Changes Since 2002

Hands down, the biggest percentage change from 2002 to 2004 belongs to Uruguay, which increased from a GDP-PPP per Capita figure of $7,764 USD in 2002 to $14,494 USD in 2004 - an average annualized rate of change of 36.6%! The U.S. Department of State describes how Uruguay achieved this phenomenal rate of growth:

Uruguay's spectacular recovery over the past couple of years has been based on increased exports, especially to North America. The U.S. became Uruguay’s largest export market in 2004, thanks in large part to meat exports. Uruguay enjoys a positive investment climate, with a strong legal system and open financial markets. It grants equal treatment to national and foreign investors and, aside from very few sectors, there is neither de jure nor de facto discrimination toward investment by source or origin.

This growth came after a period in which Uruguay went through one of the "steepest economic and financial crisis in recent history," which followed a convergence of crises occurring with the country's major trading partners in South America, and which contributed to low GDP output in 2002.

Data Sources:

GDP-PPP Data: 2004 GDP-PPP Data for Individual Nations
Population Data: July 2004 Population Estimates
GSP and GDP per Capita: This data was calculated by simply dividing the published GDP-PPP data by each nation's population estimate for July 2004.

Previously on Political Calculations

2004 Economic and Population Data

2002 Economic and Population Data

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