When I try to google for countries in a recession, all that I find is fear mongering about a specific country or a list of countries that the author deems to be "on the verge of recession". However, that's not what I'm interested in at all.

I'm looking for countries whose economy is down at least half to where it was roughly 2 or 3 years ago.

It seems to me that either a country is big enough so that everyone knows about its recession from the media or it's so small that there is no ETF for its economy so that I could find it by checking country ETFs.

The only one I was able to find is Argentina. But I read about that in a random blog and then confirmed that it is in a recession by checking its MSCI index. So that was by accident.

How do I strategically find such countries?

Edit: It was brought to my attention that I misunderstood the term "recession". I have therefore updated the title. As I explained above, I'm looking for countries that recently have had at least half of their economy's value wiped out. I'd update the tag but there is no depression tag.

  • 4
    "I'm looking for countries whose economy is down at least half to where it was roughly 2 or 3 years ago." -- I don't believe you'll find many countries where the economy is shrunk by half.
    – juhist
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 12:37
  • @juhist I don't want to find many. I just want to find one or two more. Preferably without having to check every single country on the planet.
    – UTF-8
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 16:37
  • @juhist: Venezuela?
    – jamesqf
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 17:38
  • 2
    Syria? I suspect @juhist's “not many” was really just an euphemism, even countries that are in deep economic trouble do not see their GDP shrink by half (and it typically recovers, at least partly, the real issue is how fast and how strong this recovery is). An economy “down at least half” is an earth-shattering, war-like situation. For all its difficulties, Argentina certainly isn't in that situation.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 23:01
  • Here is one web link: tradingeconomics.com/country-list/gdp-growth-rate
    – S Spring
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 4:47

2 Answers 2


It might depend a bit on whether you're interested in the overall size of the economy, GDP per capita or purchasing power but I don't think there is any country in the world in that situation right now.

Venezuela has seen its GDP shrink a lot but still not by half and not over 2-3 years (but over 4 or 5). Syria is a good candidate and the only country I could find that has probably lost that much output in a relatively short period of time but the war and destruction still unfolded over a period longer than three years and there are no authoritative figures for recent years. Argentina is nowhere near that level of economic decline.

  • I thought that about Argentina because of the PDF I linked to in my question. Did you check it? Is there something wrong with taking that as your metric? I by now started googling for the MSCI index of all countries in alphabetical order and checked the graph if there was any document I could find. I'm only through a quarter of all counties by now but I've already found another one: Greece (Btw the 2 to 3 years thing was merely a rough guide. It's okay if it's a bit different.)
    – UTF-8
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 0:12
  • @UTF-8 Yes I opened it and frankly did not spend much time trying to understand precisely what it was because it's clearly not a measure of the economy's overall performance. There are much more authoritative figures for that (e.g. IMF GDP figures) and I did double-check Argentina's numbers earlier. I also checked Greece as it suffered one of the worse downturns in recent memory and I was wondering exactly how much ground it lost but again, not nearly 50% decline (and the worse of it happened in 2009-2012, it's not growing as much as it should now but not shrinking either).
    – Relaxed
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 1:05
  • (Greece lost 26% over 6 years between 2007 and 2013, which is huge, and still hasn't recovered).
    – Relaxed
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 1:08
  • Okay, thank you. I think I worded my question really poorly because I didn't bother looking up what financial terms actually mean. I was interested in stocks declining in value, not GDP. But I guess your answer is technically correct which is said to be the best kind of correct, so I'll accept it.
    – UTF-8
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 14:46

A recession is simply a situation where a country or state has had two consecutive quarter of negative GDP growth. If you want to know which countries are in a recession, simply take their GDP over the last two quarters and verify that it has shrunk on both quarters consecutively.

This type of data is usually produced and published by central banks or statistics offices, they should be your trusted source unless you have the luxury of having a reliable data provider.

  • Thank you for informing me what the term "recession" means. I have updated the title and added a clarifying paragraph to the question. However, I'm still "looking for countries whose economy is down at least half to where it was roughly 2 or 3 years ago".
    – UTF-8
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 16:36

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