What Was the U.K. GDP Then?
Annual Observations in Table and Graphical Format
1820 to the Present (2014 Vintage)
The data for UK GDP presented on this web site have been series constructed by economic historians that are linked at 1948 to the official series published by the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS). The data downloaded here is linked to the 2014 version of their series.
There have been large changes in the recent data (see below.) Since many researchers who have been using our series may prefer the earlier data, we present a link to the 2011 version of the data here.
We also provide a link to ALL the versions of the official GDP post 1947 series. Here you will find 55 versions of the annual data from 1959 on and and over 200 versions of the quarterly data as published from 1961 to the present.
An article discussing the changes in the official series during the post war period can be found here Vintage Does Matter, The Impact and Interpretation of Post War Revisions in the Official Estimates of GDP for the United Kingdom.
WHY THE BIG RECENT CHANGES?
While the annual series are revised every year, the 2012 to 2014 revisions from the ONS went through several large changes and for some time they were not clearly explained. The new series have nominal values for the last 25 years as much as 7% larger, with a value of real GDP for 1948 that is 15% lower.
While backcasting a CPI and a mistake may explain part of the changes, it is clear that changing from the 1995 to the 2010 European System of Accounts (ESA 2010) may be the most important factor. See their discussion of this. The new series presented here will reflect those changes. We have also changed the source for the pre 1948 data in this new series, but the impact of that is relatively small.
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 1820 and the present.
See here how we handle the data for Ireland.
The source of these data are the Bank of England article "Three Centuries of Macro Data." See explanation.
Samuel H. Williamson, "What Was the U.K. GDP Then?"
Please let us know if and how this discussion has assisted you in using our calculators.