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Ranked: The Largest Stock Markets Over Time, by Country (1970-Today)

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This shows global stock markets between 1970 and 2022.

The Largest Stock Markets Over Time, by Country (1970-Today)

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For decades, the U.S. has firmly remained the world’s financial power.

But how long will this continue, and what factors could underscore a new shift? To look at the role of the U.S. in the broader financial system, this graphic shows 50 years of global stock markets, with data from Credit Suisse.

Global Stock Markets Today

Today, the U.S. covers 58.4% of global equity markets as of year-end 2022.

Top Stock MarketsShare of Global Stock Market 2022
🇺🇸 U.S.58.4%
🇯🇵 Japan6.3%
🇬🇧 U.K.4.1%
🇨🇳 China3.7%
🇫🇷 France2.8%
🇨🇦 Canada2.7%
🇨🇭 Switzerland2.5%
🇦🇺 Australia2.2%
🇩🇪 Germany2.1%
🌎 Others15.2%

The next largest stock market is Japan, at 6.3% of the global market share.

For a brief period in 1989, it overtook the U.S. when the Nikkei hit an all-time high following supercharged economic growth. However, after its subsequent crash and “lost decades”, it would take 33 years for Japan’s stock market to recover to those same highs.

Lastly, despite China being the world’s second-largest economy, it only accounts for just 3.7% of the world’s equity market share, a similar level as the UK.

Rise and Fall

Stock markets have been around for centuries.

While the New York Stock Exchange originated in 1792, Amsterdam’s stock market, arguably the world’s oldest, dates back to 1602.

During the mid-1700s, London began to overtake Amsterdam as a leading financial market amid growing financial activity and trade. An increasing number of firms set up offices in the city, bringing with them key business relationships.

After roughly 200 years, London’s role as a global financial center was surpassed by New York after WWII, driven by the economic crisis caused by the war.

America’s rise in prominence was supported by the growing credibility of the Federal Reserve, while the global status of the Bank of England diminished as the value of the pound weakened.

Given the destabilizing effects of the war, the U.S. filled the vacuum, emerging as a leading stock market supported by a robust economy and central bank—a position it continues to hold.

What Comes Next?

Why is America’s influence over global stock markets unrivaled?

The dollar’s status as a reserve currency plays a central role, along with the depth of its financial markets. Its economic, political, and military strength are other important factors.

America’s stock market returns have also outperformed nearly all other countries since 1900, attracting investors both domestically and abroad.

While American “declinism” has become a cliche, countries have risen and fallen over history. In the early 19th century, Britain’s publicly held debt soared from 109% of GDP in 1918 to roughly 200% by 1934. By around this time, its economic output had been exceeded by America, Germany, and the Soviet Union.

While there are key differences between the U.S. and Britain at that time, history suggests that balances in military power, debt, and economic dominance were key variables in the rise and decline of financial powers.

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Markets

Mapped: The World’s Least Affordable Housing Markets in 2024

See which housing markets are considered ‘impossibly unaffordable’ according to their median price-to-income ratio.

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The World’s Least Affordable Housing Markets in 2024

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Many cities around the world have become very expensive to buy a home in, but which ones are the absolute most unattainable?

In this graphic, we highlight a number of housing markets that are deemed to be “impossibly unaffordable” in 2024, ranked by their median price-to-income ratio.

This data comes from the Demographia International Housing Affordability Report, which is produced by the Chapman University Center for Demographics and Policy.

Data and Key Takeaway

The median price-to-income ratio compares median house price to median household income within each market. A higher ratio (higher prices relative to incomes) means a city is less affordable.

See the following table for all of the data we used to create this graphic. Note that this analysis covers 94 markets across eight countries: Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

RankMetropolitan MarketCountryMedian price-to-income
ratio
1Hong Kong (SAR)🇨🇳 China16.7
2Sydney🇦🇺 Australia13.8
3Vancouver🇨🇦 Canada12.3
4San Jose🇺🇸 U.S.11.9
5Los Angeles🇺🇸 U.S.10.9
6Honolulu🇺🇸 U.S.10.5
7Melbourne🇦🇺 Australia9.8
8San Francisco🇺🇸 U.S.9.7
9Adelaide🇦🇺 Australia9.7
10San Diego🇺🇸 U.S.9.5
11Toronto🇨🇦 Canada9.3
12Auckland🇳🇿 New Zealand8.2

According to the Demographia report, cities with a median price-to-income ratio of over 9.0 are considered “impossibly unaffordable”.

We can see that the top city in this ranking, Hong Kong, has a ratio of 16.7. This means that the median price of a home is 16.7 times greater than the median income.

Which Cities are More Affordable?

On the flipside, here are the top 12 most affordable cities that were analyzed in the Demographia report.

RankMetropolitan MarketCountryMedian price-to-income
ratio
1Pittsburgh🇺🇸 U.S.3.1
2Rochester🇺🇸 U.S.3.4
2St. Louis🇺🇸 U.S.3.4
4Cleveland🇺🇸 U.S.3.5
5Edmonton🇨🇦 Canada3.6
5Buffalo🇺🇸 U.S.3.6
5Detroit🇺🇸 U.S.3.6
5Oklahoma City🇺🇸 U.S.3.6
9Cincinnati🇺🇸 U.S.3.7
9Louisville🇺🇸 U.S.3.7
11Singapore🇸🇬 Singapore3.8
12Blackpool & Lancashire🇬🇧 U.K.3.9

Cities with a median price-to-income ratio of less than 3.0 are considered “affordable”, while those between 3.1 and 4.0 are considered “moderately unaffordable”.

See More Real Estate Content From Visual Capitalist

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out Ranked: The Most Valuable Housing Markets in America.

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