We have quantified recessions around the world from 1991 till 2015. On average, close to 20% of the world’s population are in recession in any year, but with large variation. Our interactive graph and video show show where and when.
The interactive graph below allows you to see recessions over time in aggregate or by country or subdivision. The red dotted line shows the average.
The video below shows recessions by year for all countries in the world, 1991-2015. Black is full recession, white is no recesssion, and shades of gray is proportional to the share of population living in recessionary areas (the analysis is done at the city, other urban and rural levels and then aggregated).
We define a recession as year-over-year decline in GDP/capita. This is close to the conventional definition* of two consecutive quarters of GDP decline (quarterly data is not available for many countries).
Finally, here are recessions within the US and EU:
- US recessions by state 1991-2015
- EU recessions by region 1991-2015
- Japanese recessions by prefecture 1991-2015
* The official definition definition of recession is usually not two consecutive quarters of decline, but it is a convenient shorthand. E.g., in the US, recessions are determined by a committee within the National Bureau of Economic Research. It takes into account a multitude of factors.