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Animation: Stock Market vs. GDP Share, by Country (1900-2022)



Stock Market vs. GDP Share, by Country (1900-2022)

While the distribution of global GDP has diversified over time, the global stock market remains dominated by a few developed financial markets.

In 2022, the U.S. accounted for 59% of global stock market capitalization, with a 21% share of global GDP. To put that into context, China makes up just 4% of the global stock market despite accounting for 16% of global GDP.

To explore the roots of this disconnect, this animated bar chart from James Eagle compares countries’ share of the global stock market and global GDP over 122 years from 1900 to 2022.

Understanding the Divergence: Stock Markets vs GDP

Before diving into the gap between GDP and stock market capitalization, it’s important to understand the fundamental difference between the two measures:

  • GDP (Gross Domestic Product): Represents the total value of all the goods and services produced in an economy in a given year, including government spending.
  • Stock Market Capitalization: Reflects the dollar value of all outstanding shares in the stock market, which are priced based on several factors including current and projected financial performance as well as economic conditions.

Essentially, changes in GDP echo the health and growth of the economy. Meanwhile, stock market valuations are more forward-looking and track how specific companies and industries are expected to deliver value to shareholders.

Besides these fundamental differences, here are two other factors that could influence the divergence between stock markets and GDP:

  1. Financial Market Maturity: Not all economies have equally developed or accessible financial markets. Mature financial markets like the U.S. offer a more conducive environment for businesses to access public capital.
  2. Economic Composition: The structure of an economy may not always mirror its stock market. For example, a country’s agricultural sector might generate a large portion of GDP, but may not be lucrative enough to be well-represented in the stock market.

Additionally, factors like a country’s political stability and regulatory environment can also influence investors’ willingness to invest in its stock markets.

With that context in mind, let’s look at how the composition of the global stock market and GDP has changed over time.

1900s: A Diverse Global Economy

In the year 1900, both the global stock market and economy were fairly diverse. The UK had the largest stock market, while the U.S. held the largest share of GDP.

CountryShare of Global Stock MarketShare of Global GDP
🇬🇧 UK24.2%9.2%
🇺🇸 U.S.14.4%18.0%
🇩🇪 Germany12.6%7.6%
🇫🇷 France11.1%5.5%
🇦🇹 Austria5.0%0.8%
🇨🇳 China0.4%11.0%
🌏 Other32.3%47.9%

Meanwhile, China was the second-largest economy with 11% of the global GDP but made up just 0.4% of the worldwide stock market. At the time, China was under the rule of the Qing Dynasty, the country’s final imperial dynasty.

In 1901, the U.S. overtook the UK as the world’s largest stock market. By 1945, it was extending its dominance, accounting for nearly half of the worldwide stock market and 28% of the global GDP.

As other economies grew, America’s share of global GDP began declining, but its stock market share continued increasing and peaked at 71.6% in 1966. However, the peak was short-lived, with Japan’s economy experiencing a remarkable recovery.

1970–1990: Japan’s Economic Miracle

Following World War II, the Japanese economy shifted gears from devastation to rapid economic growth.

Driven by governmental guidance, export-focused policies, and technological innovations, Japan’s share of global GDP jumped from 3% in 1950 to over 8% in the 1980s. Simultaneously, Japan’s share of the global stock market grew from less than 1% in 1950 to 40% by 1988, briefly making it the country with the largest stock market.

However, this bubble burst in the early 1990s, leading to Japan’s “lost decade”. Since then, both the U.S. economy and stock market have been the largest in the world.

2000s: U.S. Dominance and China’s Growth

The beginning of the 21st century cemented America’s position in the global stock market, supported by the rise of tech giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon.

Simultaneously, the global economic landscape shifted with the ascent of emerging markets like China averaging annual growth rates of around 10%. By 2010, China accounted for 14% of global GDP.

However, China’s stock markets did not grow as fast, and U.S. exchanges dominated the equity markets throughout the 2000s. As of 2022, the U.S. accounted for more than half of the world’s stock market capitalization, followed from afar by Japan:

CountryShare of Global Stock MarketShare of Global GDP
🇺🇸 U.S.59.6%20.7%
🇯🇵 Japan6.3%4.4%
🇬🇧 UK3.9%3.1%
🇨🇳 China3.6%15.8%
🇫🇷 France2.8%2.9%
🌏 Other23.8%53.1%

The U.S. stock market is prevalent partly because exchanges are subject to strict regulations and offer a relatively stable business and political environment for companies. Furthermore, the U.S. is home to 31 of the 50 most valuable companies in the world, from a range of different industries.

Meanwhile, China’s stock market accounts for 3.6% of the global total, up from 0% in 2000. Despite being a relatively smaller player in the global stock market, China’s economy is massive and accounts for nearly 16% of the global GDP.

Looking Ahead

Given the fundamental differences between stock market capitalization and GDP, it’s likely that the divergence in these two measures will persist in the future.

For example, many emerging economies in Africa and Asia are projected to grow rapidly over the next few decades, likely increasing their share of the global GDP. However, their stock markets may not follow the same trajectory.

Although the U.S. faces competition from emerging financial markets, it could continue to dominate the global stock market for the foreseeable future.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?

Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point since Trump won the 2016 presidential election.



How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?

Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point in six years.

Gallup began its survey on media trust in 1972, repeating it in 1974 and 1976. After a long period, the public opinion firm restarted the polls in 1997 and has asked Americans about their confidence level in the mass media—newspapers, TV, and radio—almost every year since then.

The above graphic illustrates Gallup’s latest poll results, conducted in September 2023.

Americans’ Trust in Mass Media, 1972-2023

Americans’ confidence in the mass media has sharply declined over the last few decades.

Trust in the mass media% Great deal/Fair amount% Not very much% None at all

In 2016, the number of respondents trusting media outlets fell below the tally of those who didn’t trust the media at all. This is the first time that has happened in the poll’s history.

That year was marked by sharp criticism of the media from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In 2017, the use of the term ‘fake news’ rose by 365% on social media, and the term was named the word of the year by dictionary publisher Collins.

The Lack of Faith in Institutions and Social Media

Although there’s no single reason to explain the decline of trust in the traditional media, some studies point to potential drivers.

According to Michael Schudson, a sociologist and historian of the news media and a professor at the Columbia Journalism School, in the 1970s, faith in institutions like the White House or Congress began to decline, consequently impacting confidence in the media.

“That may have been a necessary corrective to a sense of complacency that had been creeping in—among the public and the news media—that allowed perhaps too much trust: we accepted President Eisenhower’s lies about the U-2 spy plane, President Kennedy’s lies about the ‘missile gap,’ President Johnson’s lies about the war in Vietnam, President Nixon’s lies about Watergate,”
Michael Schudson – Columbia Journalism School

More recently, the internet and social media have significantly changed how people consume media. The rise of platforms such as X/Twitter and Facebook have also disrupted the traditional media status quo.

Partisans’ Trust in Mass Media

Historically, Democrats have expressed more confidence in the media than Republicans.

Democrats’ trust, however, has fallen 12 points over the past year to 58%, compared with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents.


According to Gallup, Republicans’ low confidence in the media has little room to worsen, but Democrat confidence could still deteriorate and bring the overall national reading down further.

The poll also shows that young Democrats have less confidence in the media than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group.

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