Thought for the day

GDP and Life Expectancy

China vs. United States

Last updated: 3 July 2024
By and large increasing wealth brings increased longevity in its train, for individuals and for countries. Consequently, the long established rapid growth of Chinese GDP has for many years been paralleled by rapid growth in life expectancy in China.

On the other hand, World Economics data shows US GDP growth has underperformed Chinese GDP growth for many years, and United Nations data shows that China’s Life Expectancy has continued to grow steadily against America’s more turbulent trend which contrasts to the steadily increasing life spans being recorded in most developed countries (and despite the fact that Americans spend over 50% more on health care per capita than most other countries).

China is estimated to have overtaken the USA in GDP terms around a decade ago and is quickly levelling up in life expectancy terms.

GDP and Life Expectancy: China vs. United States
Data from World Economics and United Nations
GDP and Life Expectancy
* GDP in Purchasing Power Parity terms with added estimates for the size of the informal economy and adjustments for out-of-date GDP base year data.

Data notes:
World Economics produces official GDP data in Purchasing Power Parity terms (the dollar buys more in developing countries than it does in downtown Manhattan) and makes revisions to Emerging Market data to account correctly for the out of date base years when used, and for often large unaccounted informal economies.

United Nations Life Expectancy at birth data is produced annually and available from the World Population Prospects database.  See more data...

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