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The battle of economic power: Which country wins?

By David Yanofsky

After years of convincing the world that it is the singular dominant economic superpower China has lost that throne to the US, according a survey of 16 countries by the Pew Research Center.

That’s notable given that as recently as 2012 the data showed that most countries surveyed chose China over the United States, Japan, and the EU as “the world’s leading economic power.”

Of eight countries asked this question every year since 2008, only the French still see China as the world’s most powerful economy. Just four years ago, in 2013, respondents in six of those eight countries were more likely to pick China over the US. Even Americans picked China over their homeland in that year.

By contrast, in the most recent release of the survey, only three of 16 countries picked China over the US: France, Canada, and Australia.

In the results of another Pew survey announced today, the US is more concerned with China’s economic strength (52% of respondents) than its military strength (36%.) 89% of Americans think that the amount of US debt owned by China is “somewhat serious” or “very serious.” 81% were worried about the US’s trade deficit with China and 84% were concerned for the loss of US jobs to China.

The chart for Germany was updated to include responses for the EU. It is the only country where the EU has ever been the most popular selection.


David Yanofsky is a reporter who has been creating data driven and visual stories for Quartz since 2012.

This article was previously published on the World Economic Forum.

Featured Image Courtesy: RAND Corporation