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Gross Domestic Product vs. Gross National Product: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on November 16, 2023
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the value of all goods and services produced within a country's borders; Gross National Product (GNP) measures the value produced by a country's residents, regardless of location.

Key Differences

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a key economic indicator that quantifies the total value of goods and services produced within a country's geographical boundaries during a specific period. On the other hand, Gross National Product (GNP) calculates the total value of goods and services produced by the residents of a country, irrespective of whether they are situated within the country or abroad.
While GDP focuses solely on the location of production, GNP emphasizes the ownership of production. For instance, if a U.S. company operates in another country, its earnings would not count towards the U.S. GDP but would be added to the U.S. GNP.
GDP is often seen as a more direct reflection of a country's internal economic health and its ability to produce. GNP, however, can provide insights into the global economic activities of a country's residents and businesses.
Many countries, including the U.S., use GDP as their primary economic performance metric. This is because GDP is typically more relevant for understanding the state of the domestic economy. GNP might be used when considering the economic activities of nationals both domestically and internationally.
While both metrics offer a snapshot of a country's economic health, GNP can help to understand the international economic engagements and investments made by the residents of a country, whereas GDP concentrates on the domestic scenario.

Comparison Chart


Value of goods/services produced within a country.
Value of goods/services produced by a country's residents.


Location of production.
Ownership of production.

Geographical Consideration

Within the country's borders.
Domestic and overseas production by country's residents.


U.S. factory products in Texas.
Products by a U.S. company operating in France.

Primary Usage

Measure of domestic economic health.
Indicator of economic contributions of nationals worldwide.

Gross Domestic Product and Gross National Product Definitions

Gross Domestic Product

The sum total of the domestic production of a country.
Analysts often use Gross Domestic Product as a barometer for a country's economic prosperity.

Gross National Product

The value of all goods and services produced by residents of a country, regardless of where they are located.
Gross National Product accounts for international earnings of its residents.

Gross Domestic Product

The monetary value of all finished goods and services produced within a country's borders.
The Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. reflects its domestic economic activity.

Gross National Product

An economic metric considering domestic and international production by a country's residents.
Gross National Product can help gauge a country's global economic footprint.

Gross Domestic Product

A measure of a nation's overall economic activity and health.
A rising Gross Domestic Product indicates a growing economy.

Gross National Product

A measure of a nation's total economic output including income from abroad.
The Gross National Product can provide insights into overseas investments of nationals.

Gross Domestic Product

A key economic metric indicating the output of a country's economy.
Policy decisions can be influenced by the trends in the Gross Domestic Product.

Gross National Product

The total market value of all final goods and services produced by nationals in a given period.
For countries with many overseas businesses, Gross National Product is a significant metric.

Gross Domestic Product

The aggregate value of all goods and services produced domestically.
Countries aim to increase their Gross Domestic Product for better living standards.

Gross National Product

The GDP plus net income earned from investments abroad.
If many residents work overseas, the Gross National Product could exceed its GDP.


Why might a country's GDP be significantly different from its GNP?

Differences arise from the international economic activities of a country's residents.

What's the primary difference between Gross Domestic Product and Gross National Product?

GDP measures production within a country's borders, while GNP considers production by its residents, anywhere.

How does overseas production by a country's residents impact GNP?

It's included in the Gross National Product but not in the Gross Domestic Product.

Does GNP include foreign production within the country?

No, GNP focuses on the production by a country's residents, irrespective of location.

How do GDP and GNP account for multinational corporations?

GDP considers their production based on location; GNP looks at ownership and origin of residents.

Are GDP and GNP calculated annually?

Typically, yes, but they can also be calculated quarterly.

Is GDP always a good measure of economic well-being?

While useful, GDP doesn't account for income distribution or non-market activities.

Why was GNP replaced by GDP as the standard measure in the U.S.?

GDP provides a more direct reflection of the domestic economy, making it a more relevant metric.

Is Gross National Product the same as Gross National Income?

They're closely related, but GNI also includes indirect taxes minus subsidies.

Why is GDP more commonly used than GNP?

GDP is a more direct reflection of domestic economic health, making it a preferred measure for many countries.

Why might a country focus on increasing its GDP?

A rising GDP can indicate economic growth and improved living standards.

Does GNP consider goods produced by foreign companies within a country?

No, GNP focuses on goods and services produced by the country's residents.

How do exchange rates impact GNP calculations?

When converting overseas earnings to a home currency, exchange rates play a crucial role.

Are GDP and GNP affected by inflation?

Yes, both figures can be presented in nominal (current prices) or real (inflation-adjusted) terms.

Which metric, GDP or GNP, is better for understanding global economic engagement?

GNP gives a clearer picture of a country's global economic engagements.

How do investments abroad impact GNP?

Income from these investments would raise the Gross National Product.

Can a country's GNP be lower than its GDP?

Yes, if the income earned by foreigners in the country exceeds that of nationals abroad.

Are there any limitations to using GDP and GNP as economic indicators?

Yes, neither accounts for the underground economy, environmental factors, or income inequality.

How are GDP and GNP related to a country's standard of living?

Both can indicate economic health, but other factors, like income distribution, also influence living standards.

Do GDP and GNP always move in the same direction?

Not necessarily; they can diverge based on international activities of residents.
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
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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