Can you visualize how the world economy has changed over the last 35 years?

Unless you're a macroeconomist, that's probably a pretty difficult task. But the 20-second video below will give you some quick insight. Howmuch.net, a website that helps people calculate the cost of doing home repairs, created this super-short and simple guide to understanding how the world has changed over the last 35 years.

The video below shows how the percentage of the global economy that each country is responsible for -- its slice of the global economic pie -- has changed, using data from the International Monetary Fund. So even when the space for a country shrinks, its economy may actually still be growing, because the entire pie is still growing.

If you play the video, you can see that the U.S. economy remains pretty dominant throughout, though its size as a proportion of the global economy rises and falls. It grew in relative terms through 1985, then shrunk through 1995, then grew again through 2002, then contracted until about 2009. Overall, the U.S. economy went from 25.7 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1980 to 22.5 percent in 2014.

Using data from the International Monetary Fund, howmuch.net has made a circular Voronoi diagram showing the GDPs of the world's largest countries from 1980 to 2015. (howmuch.net)

But overall the biggest change that the graphic shows is probably the rise of Asia. In 1980, Asia accounted for about 20 percent of global economic activity, and Europe accounted for 32 percent, the site says. By 2012, those positions were reversed.

Another obvious trend is the growth of Japan's economy through the 1980s, and then its sudden shrinking as a proportion of the world economy in the '90s after the burst of an asset bubble. In the last decade, you can clearly see the growth of India, Indonesia, South Korea, Russia and, especially, China, which grew from 2.8 percent of global GDP in 1980 to 13.4 percent in 2014.

The biggest takeaway from the graphic is probably that national economies and the global economy tend to move in waves. You can see how events like rising American interest rates from 1986 to 1989, the oil price shock in 1990, and the burst of the dot-com bubble in 2001 dragged on the U.S. economy, and by extension, the world. The Great Recession, from 2007-2009, especially weighed on the U.S. and Europe, pushing some emerging economies into a bigger role.

This kind of visualization is called a Voronoi diagram. Howmuch.net created a similar one showing the world economy in 2014, with each country's economy broken down into services, industry and agriculture. Services are the darkest portion, which agriculture is the lightest. It's a little hard to see, but the graphic shows that the U.S., Japan, Germany and other developed economies heavily depend on services, while emerging economies like China have much more of a mix.


The site also created another graphic just for the U.S., with the divisions showing how much of the U.S. economy each state accounts for. One interesting thing is that the U.S. economy seems to be spread more evenly across the states than the global economy is for the world.


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