Picture This: If Indian States Were Countries – GDP per capita

Vibhav Khandelwal

Published on the CEDA website on 17 September 2021


India is the seventh largest country in the world in terms of area and has the second largest population in the world at 1.36 billion. In 2015, The Economist called it “a continent masquerading as a country.” Taking this thought forward, CEDA is starting a series where we will look at how Indian states compare with other countries in the world.

In the picture above, we have tried to find countries comparable to Indian states based on GDP per capita (International Dollars, purchasing power parity). According to the World Bank, “an international dollar would buy in the cited country a comparable amount of goods and services a U.S. dollar would buy in the United States.” Purchasing power parity refers to the rate of conversion that equalizes the purchasing power of different currencies by eliminating the differences in price levels between countries.

When we hover over a state in the heat map above, we can see the state’s GDP per capita in the year 2019 and the country closest to it in terms of GDP per capita in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.

For example, when we hover over Goa, we see that the GDP per capita (International Dollars, PPP) is $21,922. An equivalent country for Goa is the Caribbean country, Antigua and Barbuda with GDP per capita of $22,460. Goa is also the state with the highest GDP per capita in India.

Sikkim ranks second in the country with a per capita GDP of $20,098 which is like Belarus which has a GDP per capita of $20,099. The NCT of Delhi follows Sikkim at third place with a GDP per capita of $17,808 and finds itself at par with North Macedonia ($17,583).

Among south Indian states, Telangana at $10,857 finds itself at par with Iraq in GDP per capita terms while Karnataka ($10,644) and Kerala (10,572) have similar GDP per capita as Jordan ($10,497). Andhra Pradesh ($7,835) is at par with Morocco ($7,856).

Uttar Pradesh has a GDP per capita of $3,310 which is like the west African nation, Benin ($3,426). Bihar has the lowest GDP per capita in India at $2,076 and it is at the same level as another west African nation, Guinea-Bissau ($2,021).

States domestic product for the year 2019 has been taken from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. GDP per capita for Indian states has been calculated using official population projections for 2019 based on Census 2011 and figures in Indian Rupee have been converted to International Dollars on PPP basis using OECD’s conversion factor. Other countries GDP per capita for 2019 has been taken from the World Bank.

If we compare Indian states to India’s neighbourhood, we find that only Goa, Sikkim, and NCT of Delhi have a GDP per capita higher than China’s GDP per capita of $16,772.


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