• 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?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

What is economic competitiveness? The World Economic Forum, which has been measuring countries' competitiveness since 1979, defines it as: “the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country." Other definitions exist, but all generally include the word “productivity".

The Global Competitiveness Report is a tool to help governments, the private sector, and civil society work together to boost productivity and generate prosperity. Comparative analysis between countries allows leaders to gauge areas that need strengthening and build a coordinated response. It also helps identify best practices around the world.

The Global Competitive Index forms the basis of the report. It measures performance according to 114 indicators that influence a nation’s productivity. The latest edition covered 141 economies, accounting for over 98% of the world’s GDP.

Countries’ scores are based primarily on quantitative findings from internationally recognized agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and World Health Organization, with the addition of qualitative assessments from economic and social specialists and senior corporate executives.

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.

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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.

What's the World Economic Forum doing about the transition to clean energy?

Moving to clean energy is key to combating climate change, yet in the past five years, the energy transition has stagnated.

Energy consumption and production contribute to two-thirds of global emissions, and 81% of the global energy system is still based on fossil fuels, the same percentage as 30 years ago. Plus, improvements in the energy intensity of the global economy (the amount of energy used per unit of economic activity) are slowing. In 2018 energy intensity improved by 1.2%, the slowest rate since 2010.

Effective policies, private-sector action and public-private cooperation are needed to create a more inclusive, sustainable, affordable and secure global energy system.

Benchmarking progress is essential to a successful transition. The World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index, which ranks 115 economies on how well they balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability, shows that the biggest challenge facing energy transition is the lack of readiness among the world’s largest emitters, including US, China, India and Russia. The 10 countries that score the highest in terms of readiness account for only 2.6% of global annual emissions.

To future-proof the global energy system, the Forum’s Shaping the Future of Energy and Materials Platform is working on initiatives including, Systemic Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Energy and the Global Battery Alliance to encourage and enable innovative energy investments, technologies and solutions.

Additionally, the Mission Possible Platform (MPP) is working to assemble public and private partners to further the industry transition to set heavy industry and mobility sectors on the pathway towards net-zero emissions. MPP is an initiative created by the World Economic Forum and the Energy Transitions Commission.

Is your organisation interested in working with the World Economic Forum? Find out more here.

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?

The World Economic Forum has been measuring gender gaps since 2006 in the annual Global Gender Gap Report.

The Global Gender Gap Report tracks progress towards closing gender gaps on a national level. To turn these insights into concrete action and national progress, we have developed the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators model for public private collaboration.

These accelerators have been convened in ten countries across three regions. Accelerators are established in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Panama in partnership with the InterAmerican Development Bank in Latin America and the Caribbean, Egypt and Jordan in the Middle East and North Africa, and Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

All Country Accelerators, along with Knowledge Partner countries demonstrating global leadership in closing gender gaps, are part of a wider ecosystem, the Global Learning Network, that facilitates exchange of insights and experiences through the Forum’s platform.

In 2019 Egypt became the first country in the Middle East and Africa to launch a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator. While more women than men are now enrolled in university, women represent only a little over a third of professional and technical workers in Egypt. Women who are in the workforce are also less likely to be paid the same as their male colleagues for equivalent work or to reach senior management roles.

In these countries CEOs and ministers are working together in a three-year time frame on policies that help to further close the economic gender gaps in their countries. This includes extended parental leave, subsidized childcare and removing unconscious bias in recruitment, retention and promotion practices.

If you are a business in one of the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator countries you can join the local membership base.

If you are a business or government in a country where we currently do not have a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator you can reach out to us to explore opportunities for setting one up.

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.

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The gender gap in wages.
Image: World Economic Forum