With all things being equal: shouldn't the GDP roughly increase equivalent to population growth (as a minimum, setting aside GDP increases resulting from technology, education, and all other factors).

Obviously there are a lot of factors that affect GDP. However, in general, GDP in one way measures the 'productivity' of a certain population. If that population increases, shouldn't it naturally follow that the overall productivity will increase proportionally (assuming normal population growth, rather than an influx of invalids, etc). I assume there would be time-delay in the response of the GDP, dependent probably on the nature of the population growth.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you saying that if population grows by an average of 1% per year, then GDP should also grow by an average of 1% per year OR that GDP per capita should also grow by an average of 1% per year? $\endgroup$
    – user18
    Jul 12, 2019 at 0:14
  • $\begingroup$ Definitely -not- asking about GDP per capita. $\endgroup$
    – Jneedler
    Jul 12, 2019 at 1:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Population growth is a massive driver of GDP... The rest of the growth comes from the other factors you've mentioned. $\endgroup$
    – Jamzy
    Jul 12, 2019 at 7:40
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    $\begingroup$ Except that you are. "With all things being equal" including GDP per capita staying constant, then yes GDP growth would be equal to population growth. But GDP per capita does not stay constant, so more generally GDP growth is the combination of population growth and GDP per capita growth $\endgroup$
    – Henry
    Jul 12, 2019 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


Basically the answer is yes

Population growth is a key factor in GDP growth. Population creates both demands for goods and labour supply

Unlike GDP, GDP per Capita, cannot, obviously rely on population growth, and that is (or at least should be) the goal of governments. and unlike population, the "rest of the factors" affect GDP per Capita just the same

A couple of extra points besides the obvious: population growth, by births or by immigration, affect age distribution, which affects both supplies of labour amd demands for goods and services

Because of it, population stagnation may mean decrease in GDP per Capita and long term economic issues


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