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GDP vs. GNP: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 12, 2023
GDP measures the total value of goods/services produced within a country's borders; GNP includes the value of goods/services produced by its nationals abroad.

Key Differences

GDP, Gross Domestic Product, and GNP, Gross National Product, are pivotal indicators in economics, gauging the overall economic health of a country. While GDP quantifies the value of all finalized goods and services produced within a nation's borders during a specific time period, GNP takes into account the value of goods and services produced by its citizens, both domestically and internationally, during the same period.
Evaluating GDP is predominantly about focusing on the geographic location of production, regardless of who is producing the goods or services. On the other hand, GNP emphasizes nationality and considers the production output by the nation's citizens, disregarding where the actual production occurs.
From a business perspective, when firms analyze GDP, they assess the local economic environment's vitality and stability. Whereas, in the context of GNP, companies that have international operations may regard this metric as crucial, as it envelops the output of their foreign affiliates.
GDP becomes a particularly significant measure when contemplating policies pertaining to domestic production and employment. Contrastingly, GNP, while still pertinent, may be more relevant for nations with substantial investments abroad, helping policymakers understand the flow of income from foreign assets.
There's a palpable interconnectedness in GDP and GNP in the realm of global economics, yet each serves its distinctive utility. While GDP offers a snapshot of the domestic economic activity, GNP provides a broader lens through which the economic prowess of a nation’s citizens can be assessed, regardless of whether the activity occurs at home or overseas.

Comparison Chart


Total value of goods/services produced within a country.
Total value of goods/services produced by its nationals.


Geographic location of production.
Nationality of producers.


Only domestic production.
Domestic + overseas production by nationals.

Use Case

Evaluating domestic economic health.
Assessing a nation’s economic reach globally.

Practical Implication

Commonly used in economic studies and reports.
More used in international comparisons.

GDP and GNP Definitions


Real GDP considers inflation to present an accurate picture of an economy over time.
The United States witnessed a 6.4% annualized surge in real GDP in the first quarter of 2021.


GNP per capita is the GNP divided by the population, providing a per-person economic output.
Luxembourg's high GNP per capita is often attributed to its strong financial sector.


GDP encapsulates the monetary value of all finalized goods and services manufactured within a nation's borders in a specific timeframe.
The United States has one of the highest GDPs in the world, reflecting its robust economy.


Nominal GNP does not adjust for inflation or deflation, presenting values based on current market prices.
The nominal GNP of Japan has been subject to fluctuations due to economic variables.


GDP per capita is an average economic output per person, adjusted for population size.
Norway, with its high GDP per capita, is often cited as one of the world’s wealthiest nations.


GNP sums up the total economic output by a country’s residents, both within and outside the nation’s borders.
Despite having a smaller population, Switzerland's GNP is considerably high due to its overseas investments.


Nominal GDP is GDP evaluated at current market prices, inclusive of all changes in market prices.
Despite economic challenges, the United States’ nominal GDP remained substantial in global rankings.


GNP growth rate indicates the pace at which a nation's GNP has grown during a specific period.
Ireland exhibited a remarkable GNP growth rate during its Celtic Tiger period.


GDP can be computed using expenditures, production, or income approaches.
Economists calculate the GDP to analyze different aspects of the U.S. economy.


Real GNP accounts for price changes to provide a more accurate depiction of an economy’s size and how it's growing over periods.
Economists might analyze the real GNP to evaluate the long-term economic health of a country.


Measure of the United States economy adopted in 1991; the total market values of goods and services by produced by workers and capital within the United States borders during a given period (usually 1 year)


Former measure of the United States economy; the total market value of goods and services produced by all citizens and capital during a given period (usually 1 yr)


What does GDP per capita signify?

GDP per capita represents an average economic output per person in a country, adjusting for population size.

What is GDP?

GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, is the total value of all goods and services produced within a country’s borders during a specific time period.

When is GNP preferred over GDP?

GNP is often preferred when analyzing the economic impact of the production output of a country’s residents on a global scale.

Can a country have a high GDP and a low GNP?

Yes, if a substantial portion of domestic production is generated by foreign entities, a country may have a high GDP and a lower GNP.

How does real GDP differ from nominal GDP?

Real GDP accounts for inflation or deflation, presenting economic output in constant prices, whereas nominal GDP is evaluated at current market prices.

Is GDP always a reliable indicator of economic health?

While informative, GDP might not always account for all economic aspects like underground economy, environmental factors, or income inequality.

Can GNP be negative?

While theoretically possible, negative GNP is highly unlikely and typically GNP is reported as a positive figure or, in recessions, as a decline in percentage.

How does government spending influence GDP?

Government spending is a component of GDP; an increase in spending generally raises GDP and vice versa.

Does GNP consider the output of foreign companies within a country?

No, GNP focuses on the production by the country’s own residents, regardless of whether it occurs domestically or internationally.

How can GDP impact a country’s international ranking?

A higher GDP can enhance a country’s international standing and influence, reflecting a robust economy.

Why do some economists criticize GNP as a measure of welfare?

Critics argue that GNP doesn't account for factors like income inequality and environmental degradation, which can impact societal welfare.

How is GNP different from GDP?

While GDP focuses on where goods/services are produced, GNP focuses on who is producing them, considering both domestic and international production by a country’s residents.

Why is GDP important?

GDP is vital as it provides a snapshot of a country’s economic health and performance.

What is the primary emphasis of GNP?

GNP primarily focuses on the nationality of the producers and includes both domestic and international production by a country’s residents.

Which is typically higher in developed countries, GDP or GNP?

It can vary, but in some developed countries with significant foreign investments, GNP might be higher than GDP.

How is GDP calculated?

GDP can be calculated using various approaches: production (output or value added), income, or expenditure.

What is the significance of GNP per capita?

GNP per capita provides a per-person economic output, offering insight into the average economic performance per resident.

Why might a country have a high GNP but not a high GDP?

A country might have a high GNP and a lower GDP if its residents or businesses are highly productive or profitable overseas.

What is one potential drawback of using GDP as an economic indicator?

GDP does not account for the distribution of income among residents, potentially masking disparities in wealth and living standards.

How does inflation impact GNP?

Inflation can erode the purchasing power of a country’s economic output, impacting real GNP and generally causing it to appear lower than nominal GNP.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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