U.S. versus China (GDP)

Right now (as of 2017) the U.S. GDP is $19.391 Trillion according to the World Bank. The Chinese economy is $12.238 Trillion. This is 63% of the U.S. economy. No economy has been that close to the U.S. economy since Japan leading up to 1995.

It is a rather amazing growth on the part of China. Back in the bad old days, after we had fought a war with them over Korea, they were threatening to invade Taiwan, they were supporting North Vietnam against our ally South Vietnam, and allied with the Soviet Union as part of the Communist Bloc, the difference was much greater. The U.S. GDP in 1960 was 543.3 Billion, while China’s was 59.716, meaning the U.S. economy was 9 times greater. Now it is only 1.6 times greater.

Of course, the two economies are intertwined, with the United States being China’s largest trading partner. This sort of leads to the odd situation where some in the U.S. and China consider the other to be a rival. But, I can’t think of too many cases where major trading partners were opposing hostile players on the world stage. Still, it is a very uncomfortable arrangement with the U.S. nominally the leader of the free world, while China had been known to run over its people with tanks. They are still very much a dictatorship. So the two nations seem to exist as trading partners who are not really friends and not really enemies. They may be rivals in the long run, or may not. There is, of course, an on-going trade dispute between the two nations.

Now….if were extend those lines on the graph out…..it does look like they will cross at some point around 2050 or so. This of course, leads me back to this post:

Demographics of China

It is projected that by 2050 the Chinese population will decline to 1.36 billion by 2050 (it is currently 1.41 billion) while the U.S. will grow to 402 million by 2050 (it is currently 328 million). For a number of reasons, I don’t think we will see the Chinese economy exceed the U.S. economy by 2050.

This entry was posted in China, Demographics, Economics by Christopher A. Lawrence. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience. ... Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation. ... His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024). ... Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

3 thoughts on “U.S. versus China (GDP)

  1. Here it is wiser to use GDP based on PPP, it might be an old measure, but the Dollar is basically just a speculative bubble which may inflate the values when observing market rates.
    China 23,300,782,000,000 Int$
    United States 19,390,604,000,000 Int$
    or e.g. steel output, 831,000,000 metric tons (2017), 82,000,000 tons, but in a digitalized era it is not such a reliable measure anymore, nonetheless relevant for warmaking potential.
    The Chinese economy technically already exceeds US economy.

  2. 1.51 billion is the largest estimate for China’s current population I’ve ever seen, where’d you get that from? The estimates floating about seem to range from 1.390 billion to 1.417 billion, you have about another 100 million on top of these.

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