GDP per capita

Gross domestic product per person (GDP per capita) varies considerably across the Asia/Pacific region (Figure 2.1). Differences in GDP per capita within the Asia/Pacific region are large: Singapore’s GDP per capita is more than 25 times higher than GDP per capita in Tajikistan and Timor-Leste. GDP per capita is well above the OECD average (USD 44 800) in the richest economies in the region: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Hong Kong, China (China) and Singapore. By contrast, more than two-thirds of the Asia/Pacific have a GDP per capita that is below the regional average (USD 19 900).

Real GDP growth for the Asia/Pacific region fell markedly at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 (Figure 2.2). Growth in GDP bounced back in 2021, and is forecast to remain strong in 2022, even though growth rates will abate somewhat. The growth rate in China in 2022 is forecast to be slightly lower than in 2018-19, just before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, while in Japan the growth in GPD per capita is forecast to be somewhat higher in 2022 than in 2018-19.

Across the Asia/Pacific region, the annual average growth rate of GDP per capita over the 2015-20 period (1.4%) was slightly higher than previously (0.9% between 2012 and 2017). This rise is largely related to substantially increased growth rates some countries during the 2015-20 period, in particular Bangladesh, Tajikistan and Viet Nam (Figure 2.3).

Evidence on “catch-up” and GDP convergence is weak among countries in the Asia/Pacific region (Figure 2.3). There is hardly any negative correlation between the pace of growth in GDP per capita over the period 2015-20 and the initial level in 2015. OECD countries in the region have relatively high GDP per capita and recorded slow annual growth over this five-year period. However, many poorer countries in the Asia/Pacific region recorded a similar pace in growth since 2015. GDP per capita in China and Turkmenistan increased more rapidly than one might have expected given its level in 2015.


[1] World Bank (2021), World Development Indicators,

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