Jun 27, 2023 - World

More see U.S. as top global economy over China in post-COVID reversal

Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios
Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

In countries around the world, people are now more likely to name the U.S. as the world's leading economic power, rather than China, according to a new Pew Research Center report published Tuesday.

Why it matters: The findings underscore the U.S.' economic dominance as nations emerge from the upheaval of the pandemic and highlights the divide between the two superpowers even as U.S.-China relations remain strained.

The big picture: A median of 41% of people across 23 countries believe the U.S. to be the world’s top economic power, compared to 33% who named China.

  • The share of people who rate the U.S. as the world's leading economy has increased markedly among U.S. allies like Germany, Japan and France since 2020.
  • Increases favoring the U.S. were also observed in countries like Hungary, Poland and Indonesia since 2019, the last time the question was asked in those countries.
  • The portion of people who believe the U.S. to be the dominant economy has dropped in India and Greece since 2019.

Zoom in: In Germany, 17% of survey respondents in 2020 said they saw the U.S. as the world's leading economic power, compared to 34% who said so in 2023, according to Pew data.

  • Germany saw a corresponding drop in the portion of people who felt China was the dominant economy, from 55% in 2020 to 43% in 2023.
  • In Japan, the portion of people who felt the U.S. was the dominant economy increased from 53% in 2020 to 64% in 2023, while the portion who felt China was dominant fell from 31% to 22% over the same years.
  • In Indonesia, 21% of respondents in 2019 believed the U.S. to be the top economy while 24% believed it to be China. By 2023 the gap had reversed and widened, with 35% believing the U.S. to be dominant while only 16% said China.
  • In India, 58% believed the U.S. to be the world's leading economy in 2019 compared to 53% in 2023. The portion who believed China to be dominant rose from 10% to 14% during the same time span.

State of play: U.S.-China relations soured last year after then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, prompting China to suspend several communication channels with the U.S.

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