Generally speaking, a global recession is one in which many, if not most, parts of the world are in decline. While developed nations might be considered to be in recession with two-quarters showing declines in gross domestic product (GDP), a global recession cannot be measured in the same fashion, because emerging markets are typically producing higher growth rates as their domestic economies develop.
Because global economies are at different stages of development and have different levels of economic freedom, a true global recession is unlikely to encapsulate all countries at the same time.
The last global recession, which had a material impact on Western economies, took place during 2008 and 2009. This global recession was widely regarded as being due to the subprime financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, where the global financial system was at risk of total collapse.
With increased international trade and integrated economies, global recessions are more likely to include more participating countries as global expansions occur.