What Was the U.K. GDP Then?
Annual Observations in Table and Graphical Format
1830 to the Present (update October 2014)
The data published here for the years after 1948 are published by the UK Office of National Statistics. Each year this office publishes the latest update of these data in the United Kingdom National Accounts, The Blue Book. It is surprising that each year they have a new value for years past and this is not just because they are using a different “base year.” They have continuously revised the nominal observations as well. For a complete discussion of this, see How the Post War United Kingdom's Annual Estimates of GDP Have Changed.
The revisions in the series published in 2012 were very large and not explained well and so we decided to not use them. Since then there have been two more revisions, the latest in October 2014. With the latest version there also was an announcement that "A production error has been identified in the processing of estimates of pre-1997 GDP and some components." The correction reduced the variance in the ONS series between what we use and the revisons, but it is still large.
To download the ONS published real and nominal GDP series from 2005, 2011, 2012 and two versions from 2014 go to Data Sets. Until this is resolved, we will use the same data for 1948 to the present that was published in 2011 and extrapolate only the 2011 to 2013 observations base on the October 2014 observations.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the market value of all final goods and services produced and purchased within a country during a given time period. There are two ways to measure GDP:
- Nominal GDP is the value of production at current market prices, here measured in millions of British pounds.
- Real GDP is the value of production using a given base year prices, here presented at constant (2008) market prices measured in millions of British pounds.
The GDP Deflator is the price index used to measure changes in the overall level of prices for the goods and services that make up GDP. It is simply the ratio of nominal to real GDP times 100. It is also 100 times the ratio of nominal GDP per capita (per-capita GDP at current market prices) to real GDP per capita (per-capita GDP at constant (2008) market prices).
GDP per capita is calculated by dividing either nominal or real GDP for a given year by the population in that year. These numbers can be thought of as the average share of output per person.
These six measures can be determined for any year, or range of years, between 1830 and the present.
For additional information about the GDP, please read"What Was the UK GDP Then? A Question-and-Answer Guide". For more in-depth information on the development of the series, please read "What Was the UK GDP Then? A Data Study" (360K PDF).
Lawrence H. Officer and Samuel H. Williamson, "What Was the U.K. GDP Then?"
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