What is a Prosperity Gap?

A Story of Unfulfilled Potential

What is a Prosperity Gap?

The Prosperity Gap is the difference between a country’s current performance, and its true potential.

We believe that while geography, land and resources matter, an educated and empowered people is the true driver of sustained and balanced national prosperity. Citizens who are happy, confident, skilled and optimistic will work hard, create and share wealth, plan for the future, and support sound and stable governance.

At any point in time, we see the average GDP per capita of the world’s 30 wealthiest countries (excluding those whose wealth depends almost solely on natural resource sales) as the possible potential income a citizen of any country can earn, if only the right leadership, infrastructure, institutions and conditions are in place. The Prosperity Gap measures the difference between a given country’s current and potential GDP per capita. 

To illustrate this concept at the global level, in 2016, 86% of the world’s GDP – US$ 75 trillion – came from just 30 countries. Four countries, the USA, China, Japan and Germany, contributed over half of the world’s GDP.

We estimate that if every person in the nearly 200 countries around the world were given the same opportunities to create and contribute, global GDP would increase to US$ 395 trillion. This US$ 320 trillion difference between what is produced and what could be produced with a creatively empowered global population is what we call the Global Prosperity Gap.

The Prosperity Gap shows just how few of the ideas, skills, and services of our global family are being used. It also hints at the awesome forces that could be unleashed to generate wealth and prosperity, and better the lives of billions worldwide.

Freedom to Create works closely with government leaders on policy, leadership, and governance initiatives to turn the creative potential of their nations into a reality.