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Chart of the Week

Chart: Measuring Global Competitiveness

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competitiveness over time

Chart: Measuring Global Competitiveness

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

What makes an economy competitive at the global level, and why?

It’s a question that economists, investors, and politicians have been asking themselves for decades. And to help answer it, the World Economic Forum has created the Global Competitiveness Index, or GCI.

How can we measure competitiveness?

To figure out how countries compare on the world stage, the GCI is calculated based on 114 economic metrics ranging from the quality of infrastructure to the amount of government debt.

This wide variety of metrics is organized into a set of 12 pillars, as follows:

12 pillars of Measuring Global Competitiveness

Global Competitiveness by Country

Based on the latest edition of the report, Switzerland (5.81) is the most competitive country in the world, having held the leading position since 2010 after it outpaced the United States (5.70) in the wake of the financial crisis.

RankCountryCurrent Score (2016)Previous Score (2015)Change
1Switzerland5.815.760.05
2Singapore5.725.680.04
3United States5.705.610.09
4Netherlands5.575.500.07
5Germany5.575.530.04
6Sweden5.535.430.10
7United Kingdom5.495.430.06
8Japan5.485.470.01
9Hong Kong5.485.460.02
10Finland5.445.45-0.01
11Norway5.445.410.03
12Denmark5.355.330.02
13New Zealand5.315.250.06
14Taiwan5.285.280.00
15Canada5.275.31-0.04

Picturing Competitiveness

Global competitiveness is a multi-faceted metric, but our understanding of it becomes clearer when compared with more standard measures such as GDP per capita (PPP).

The interactive graphic below from Knoema plots GDP per capita against GCI between 2006-2015, showing how the relationship between competitiveness and wealth has changed over time for numerous countries.

It is clear that competitiveness and GDP are positively correlated. In other words, the ability to be structurally and organizationally competitive creates conditions that are ideal for economic growth.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Competitiveness and growth in economic output may be related, but the infrastructure needed to stay globally competitive may confer other benefits to competitive ability and quality of life that go beyond GDP.

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) measures the sustainable well-being of citizens in any given country, and is plotted here against GCI.

The correlation between these factors is still positive, but weaker.

Rwanda, for example, is by statistical measure one of the world’s unhappiest nations (3.52 HPI); it is roughly equally competitive with the comparatively jubilant Costa Rican population (7.09 HPI), which also has a much higher GDP per capita.

On the other hand, a country can still be happy without being particularly competitive on a global basis. For example, Argentina (6.65 HPI) ranks in the bottom 50% of countries for global competitiveness (3.79 GCI).

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Chart of the Week

The Economies Adding the Most to Global Growth in 2019

Global economics is effectively a numbers game – here are the countries and regions projected to contribute the most to global growth in 2019.

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The Economies Adding the Most to Global Growth in 2019

Global economics is effectively a numbers game.

As long as the data adds up to economic expansion on a worldwide level, it’s easy to keep the status quo rolling. Companies can shift resources to the growing segments, and investors can put capital where it can go to work.

At the end of the day, growth cures everything – it’s only when it dries up that things get hairy.

Breaking Down Global Growth in 2019

Today’s chart uses data from Standard Chartered and the IMF to break down where economic growth is happening in 2019 using purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Further, it also compares the share of the global GDP pie taken by key countries and regions over time.

Let’s start by looking at where global growth is forecasted to occur in 2019:

Country or RegionShare of Global GDP Growth (PPP) in 2019F
China33%
Other Asia (Excl. China/Japan)29%
United States11%
Middle East & North Africa4%
Euro Area4%
Latin America & Caribbean3%
Other Europe3%
Sub-Saharan Africa2%
Japan1%
United Kingdom1%
Canada1%
Rest of World8%

The data here mimics some of the previous estimates we’ve seen from Standard Chartered, such as this chart which projects the largest economies in 2030.

Asia as a whole will account for 63% of all global GDP growth (PPP) this year, with the lion’s share going to China. Countries like India and Indonesia will contribute to the “Other Asia” share, and Japan will only contribute 1% to the global growth total.

In terms of developed economies, the U.S. will lead the pack (11%) in contributing to global growth. Europe will add 8% between its various sub-regions, and Canada will add 1%.

Share of Global Economy Over Time

Based on the above projections, we were interested in taking a look at how each region or country’s share of global GDP (PPP) has changed over recent decades.

This time, we used IMF projections from its data mapper tool to loosely approximate the regions above, though there are some minor differences in how the data is organized.

Country or RegionShare of GDP (PPP, 1980)Share of GDP (PPP, 2019F)Change
Developing Asia8.9%34.1%+25.2 pp
European Union29.9%16.0%-13.9 pp
United States21.6%15.0%-6.6 pp
Latin America & Caribbean12.2%7.4%-4.8 pp
Middle East & North Africa8.6%6.5%-2.1 pp
Sub-Saharan Africa2.4%3.0%+0.6 pp

In the past 40 years or so, Developing Asia has increased its share of the global economy (in PPP terms) from 8.9% to an estimated 34.1% today. This dominant region includes China, India, and other fast-growing economies.

The European Union and the United States combined for 51.5% of global productivity in 1980, but they now account for 31% of the total economic mix. Similarly, the Latin America and MENA regions are seeing similar decreases in their share of the economic pie.

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Map: Cities With the Most Ultra-Rich Residents

What cities are the world’s ultra-rich flocking to? This map looks at ultra high net worth individual (UHNWI) growth rates in cities around the world.

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Mapped: The Cities With the Most Ultra-Rich Residents

As of 2018, there is a grand total of 198,342 ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) globally with assets over US$30 million, according to the most recent edition of Knight Frank’s Wealth Report.

Although these millionaires and billionaires can be found all over the globe, the reality is that most of the world’s ultra-rich population tends to congregate in world-class cities.

Generally speaking, UHNWIs are looking to live in places that are conducive to safeguarding and growing their wealth, but that also give them access to top-end amenities that allow them to live comfortably and luxuriously.

Top 10 Cities for the Ultra-Rich

To start, we’ll look at a list of global cities, organized by expected number of UHNWIs in 2023:

RankCityUHNWIs (2018)UHNWIs (2023e)Change (%)
#1🇬🇧 London4,9446,01521.7%
#2🇸🇬 Singapore3,5984,39322.1%
#3🇯🇵 Tokyo3,7324,12510.5%
#4🇺🇸 New York City3,3783,89115.2%
#5🇨🇳 Beijing1,6732,24734.3%
#6🇫🇷 Paris1,6672,03121.8%
#7🇰🇷 Seoul1,5942,02026.7%
#8🇹🇼 Taipei1,5191,86422.7%
#9🇨🇭 Zurich1,5071,79619.2%
#10🇨🇳 Shanghai1,2631,69033.8%

London continues to top the list, with a roster of 4,944 ultra-rich residents today and the projected growth over the coming years to eclipse the 6,000 mark by 2023.

Tokyo has the second highest amount of UHNWIs today, but the city is adding them at a slower rate than other rival cities. As a result, Singapore will move into the #2 spot overall by 2023, with an expected total of 4,393 high net worth residents.

Finally, it’s worth noting that only two cities on the top 10 list are expected to see growth above a 30% clip over this five-year period. Shanghai and Beijing could be cities to watch for decades to come, as they add millionaires and billionaires at a faster rate than any of the other heavyweights.

Fastest Growing Cities

Where are the billionaire meccas of the future?

Here are the 10 cities that are expected to add UHNWIs the fastest between 2018-2023:

RankCityUHNWIs (2018)UHNWIs (2023e)Change (%)
#1🇮🇳 Mumbai7971,10138.1%
#2🇮🇳 Delhi21129137.9%
#3🇵🇭 Manila 11515736.5%
#4🇨🇳 Shenzhen52770834.3%
#5🇨🇳 Beijing1,6732,24734.3%
#6🇨🇳 Guangzhou39452934.3%
#7🇨🇳 Shanghai1,2631,69033.8%
#8🇮🇩 Jakarta40152931.9%
#9🇲🇾 Kuala Lumpur37649631.9%
#10🇰🇷 Seoul1,5942,02026.7%

Not surprisingly, all 10 of these cities are located in Asia.

Two Indian cities (Delhi and Mumbai) top the list, and are likely to add nearly 40% to their ultra-rich populations over the next five years. China also has a strong showing here.

Interestingly, just missing the above top 10 were a few non-Asian cities: Auckland (#11), Madrid (#12), Munich (#13), and Nairobi (#14) are all expected to grow their UHNWI populations by roughly 25% by 2023.

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