Prototype Measures of
Economic Well-Being and Growth

While the United States produces some of the most accurate, timely, and relevant sets of national economic accounts, in recent years there has been a renewed interest in economic statistics that build on GDP to better understand well-being. This includes better tracking and highlighting economic activity that is included in GDP—a key driver of economic well-being—and capturing nonmarket goods and services that are not included in GDP but are also important determinants of economic well-being.

BEA embarked on the GDP and Beyond initiative to identify ways to use its data resources and statistical knowledge to inform the discussion of well-being. As part of that initiative, BEA has re-packaged statistics from its core accounts with data from statistical agency partners in ways that provide new perspectives on economic well-being and the distribution and long-term growth of the economy. These measures include:

  • Economic well-being measures like GDP per capita and inflation and employment trends.
  • Distribution statistics such as real GDP growth by industry, real personal income per capita by state, and the distribution of personal income across households.
  • Long-term growth indicators including trade balances, U.S. budget deficits over time, and trends in U.S. business cycles.

Spotlighting data that are already included in BEA's datasets or that can easily be derived from existing statistics provides an expanded look at trends in economic well-being and the drivers of economic growth.

For more information on these prototype measures of economic well-being and growth and BEA's broader GDP and Beyond initiative, or to provide input into this project, see Background Materials and Feedback. Find open-source code and related documentation for these charts and tables in BEA’s GitHub repository.

2. Real GDP and
Real GDP Per Capita