Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Real GDP per Capita Redux

In response to my post on real per capita GDP growth, I received two requests for data going back further. You want it, you got it.

Without trying to cause too much confusion, I took real GDP from the BEA (available data goes back to 1929) and population data from the Census going back to 1929 (but spliced it with population data from the BEA that only goes back 14 years) to get...

Real Per Capita GDP (2005 $$)

Log Scale (shows the consistency of growth over the long run)

Year over Year Change in Real Per Capita GDP


  1. Wow, that's fascinating Jake.

    Thanks again!

  2. Yeah, thanks for putting this together. Good stuff.

  3. Very cool. What's your take on the huge drop in Y-O-Y in the late '40s.

  4. tom- that large drop was 1946. considering WWII ended in 1945 i think you can guess where i'm going with this. after all it was the war that apparently got us out of the great depression, thus no war = less "stimulus". thoughts?

  5. Hi Jake. What is the slope of the curve GDP per Capita in log scale?

  6. Jake and Tom - there was a major decline right after the war as demoblization and a huge drop in wartime production resulted in a major recession. My neighbor commented that things didn't really normalize/stabilize (not how he put it) until '55 (which you can sorta see in the data). More interesting notice that in fact we were recovering from the GD in '35 and '36 until orthodoxy along with tight Fed policy pulled the plug.