The main difference between nominal and real values is that real values are adjusted for inflation, while nominal values are not. As a result, nominal GDP will often appear higher than real GDP.
Nominal values of GDP (or other income measures) from different time periods can differ due to changes in quantities of goods and services and/or changes in general price levels. As a result, taking price levels (or inflation) into account is necessary when determining if we are really better or worse off when making comparisons between different time periods. Values for real GDP are adjusted for differences in prices levels, while figures for nominal GDP are not.