Figure 1. Flags of the BRIC economies.[1]

BRICs or BRIC countries refers to four countries - Brazil, Russia, India, and China - that are all seen to be at a similar stage of rapidly advancing economic development.[2] The term BRICs was first actively used in a report from Goldman Sachs in 2003, and this report predicted that by 2050 the BRIC economies would be stronger and the countries wealthier than most current economic powers in the West, Europe, and Asia.[3] In addition to being economically significant countries the BRIC countries make up roughly 3 billion people, or 40 percent of the world's population, and cover more than a quarter of the world's land area over three continents.[4] These countries began to emerge most notably in the 2000s as legitimate competitors to the current powerhouse economies. Along with the increased economic activity of these countries, smaller economies have also begun to grow in Africa and Central and Eastern Europe. These countries are known as the N11 countries.

Although the report pegged these four countries as being locations of extreme economic growth, it does indicate that the countries will experience growth in different parts of their economies. The thesis predicts that China and India will become large suppliers of manufactured goods and services whereas Brazil and Russia will grow as suppliers of raw materials.[5]

There is one major assumption in the predictions for the future economies in these countries. The predicted growth of these countries is paired with the assumption that the BRIC countries will maintain their current economic policies and develop new institutions that support economic growth. For these countries to grow as predicted, actions will have to be taken within the countries to promote more economic growth.[5]

Below is a map showing the locations of the four BRIC countries, coloured in red. Notice that these countries take up a significant amount of area.


These countries are growing in terms of their economy as well as standing on a global scale. The economies of the BRIC countries are increasing through a rapidly growing GDP, along with having an increasing share of world production. As well, these countries are seen to participate more actively in world trade.[2] Due to lower costs of labour and production in these countries, many believe that these BRIC countries will also provide places for companies to use as a foreign expansion opportunity.[3] In addition to this, with the economic growth the quality of life for citizens of these countries will increase to a degree as more jobs are made and more money is put into the economy. However, these countries will still be poorer on average than leading economies today.[2]


Although these countries are predicted to grow similarly in terms of their economy, it is important to note that it is not predicted that these countries will form any sort of political alliance like the European Union. Thus the political aspects of these countries can remain drastically different as BRIC is used as a more generic term to refer to these emerging economies.[5]

As well, growth for these economies is generally predicted to slow towards the end of the 50 year period, with only India continuing to see large growth rates. Most of the BRIC countries are also predicted to be poorer (in terms of income per capita) than current economic powerhouses, with Russia being the exception.[5]

Primary Energy Growth

Explore the interactive data visualization below to see how Brazil, Russia, India and China's primary energy use (or click on the subject line to see some other indicator like GDP) is growing. Notice that Russia's economy is growing much faster than it's primary energy use.


  1. Wikimedia Commons. (May 12, 2015). BRICs [Online]. Available:
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Uwe Becker. (May 12, 2015). BRICs and Emerging Economies in Comparative Perspective : Political Economy, Liberalisation and Institutional Change, 1st Ed. Taylor and Francis, 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Investopedia. (May 12, 2015). Brazil, Russia, India, and China - BRIC [Online]. Available:
  4. Global Sherpa. (May 20, 2015). BRIC Countries [Online]. Available:
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 R. Purushothaman, D.Wilson. (May 12, 2015). Dreaming With BRICs: The Path to 2050 [Online]. Available:

Authors and Editors

Jordan Hanania, Kailyn Stenhouse, Jason Donev
Last updated: June 25, 2018
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