What Is the Gross Domestic Product?
Question
GDP is the means by which officials measure the total economic output in terms of final goods and services.
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What Is the Gross Domestic Product?

Hi, I'm Zach Toombs from About.com and today I'll be explaining the Gross Domestic Product.Developed economies such as the United States must be measured. Measurements can range from the size of the economy, the percentage growth or decline or actual dollar amounts of total production. This is the purpose of the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. Simply put, GDP is the means by which officials measure the total economic output in terms of final goods and services.It shows the relative size of the economy. This is important because analysts can use the number to compare the size of one economy to others. It is a good measure for the standard of living. Economists use the "GDP per capita"to calculate the total GDP per person of an economy. The higher the number, typically the higher the standard of living. For example, the GDP per capita in Cambodia in 2011 was \$2,372. In the U.S., it was \$48,442 during the same time period. The standard of living in the U.S. is significantly higher than in Cambodia.
It shows economic trends. The GDP shows how much the economy grows or shrinks from year to year which is crucial for economic forecasting. This allows the Federal Reserve to make decisions to either help stimulate the economy or potentially curb inflation.So how is the GDP calculated? There is some disagreement on the best practice to effectively calculate GDP. Some economists use an income approach, some use a total production approach and others use an expenditure approach. Regardless of approach, the number is typically similar.So, how much was the total GDP in the United States in 2011? Just over a whopping \$15 trillion dollars. That's more than twice as big as the number two economy China.
That's a quick look at the Gross Domestic Product. For more information be sure to check out About.com. Thanks for watching.