Geographies in Depth

India and the US: 5 ways the countries compare

U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, February 25, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi - RC2H7F95CJQ7

President Trump met with Prime Minister Modi. Image: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi - RC2H7F95CJQ7

Joe Myers
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United States

  • President Trump and Prime Minister Modi met during the US President's first official visit to India.
  • India and the US are the world's two largest democracies.
  • From gender equality to GDP, this is how they line up.

US President Donald Trump has conducted his first official visit to India. He visited the Taj Mahal and met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

But, how do the two countries - the world's largest democracies - compare on a number of key indicators?

Have you read?

Social mobility

The World Economic Forum's Social Mobility Report 2020 provides an assessment of the policies, practices and institutions that determine the extent to which everyone in society has a fair chance.

Neither economy is a stand-out performer. The US sits in 27th place, below many developed economies, including Japan, the UK and Denmark.

India takes 76th place, just behind Guatemala, but ahead of South Africa, Bangladesh and Cameroon.

The report argues that closing this gap could bring not only social benefits, but economic ones, too.

social mobility economics opportunity
The economic opportunity of improved social mobility. Image: World Economic Forum


The US is still the world's largest economy, according to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Its gross domestic product (GDP), in current prices, is forecast at $21.4 trillion for 2019.

The same data saw India leapfrog the UK and France to become the world's fifth largest economy last year, valued at $2.94 trillion.

gdp India US
US and India GDP, in current prices. Image: IMF

But, if you consider things in terms of GDP per capita (again in current prices), the gap widens. For the US this is forecast at $65,100 for last year. But for India, this figure is just $2,100.

gdp per capita India US
US and Indian GDP per capita. Image: IMF


So the economies are large - but how competitive are they?

The World Economic Forum's Global Competitive Report measures just that.

The US was the world's second most competitive economy last year - dropping from first the year before. It's a high scorer on indicators including business dynamism and its financial system.


What is competitiveness?

India was in 68th place in 2019, with strengths including its market size and innovation capability. But, it's held back in the human capital pillar - coming 109 out of 141 economies.

competitiveness Switzerland US economy
The US took second place last year. Image: World Economic Forum

CO2 emissions

The US and India are among the world's highest emitters of CO2 - second and third, respectively, in 2018, according to Global Carbon Atlas.

But, if you consider this on a per capita basis, both drop down the rankings. The US falls to 12th and India to 130th - where it has Uruguay, Bolivia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for company.


How is the World Economic Forum facilitating the transition to clean energy?

Gender equality

In the latest World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap report, the US came in 53rd out of 153 economies. Political empowerment and labour force participation are two notable areas needing improvment.


What's the World Economic Forum doing about the gender gap?

India took 112th place, scoring highly on the political empowerment pillar, but close to the bottom on the economic participation and opportunity and health and survival pillars.

gender gap average wage developing developed countries
The gender gap in wages. Image: World Economic Forum
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