Many Believe China Will Soon Overtake the U.S. as World's Leading Superpower
Many people around the world believe the U.S. will soon cede its role as the world's dominant superpower to China, according to a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Pew Research Center. The report is based on responses from nearly 38,000 individuals in 39 countries and was conducted earlier this year.
In 18 countries, at least 50 percent of survey respondents say that China either has replaced or will soon replace the U.S. as the world's leading superpower, the report finds. In only six countries, a majority or plurality of survey respondents say that China will never overtake the U.S. as the top superpower.
In some countries, the percentage of survey respondents who believe that China has already surpassed or will surpass the U.S. is significantly greater than 50 percent, including Spain (71 percent), France (70 percent), Canada and Australia (67 percent), and the U.K. and Germany (66 percent). Two-thirds of Chinese survey respondents consider their home country as being on top.
Despite the perception that China is on its way up, the U.S. economy is viewed as having an edge. In 22 of the 39 countries surveyed, a majority or plurality of respondents say that the U.S. is currently the dominant global economy.
The U.S. also has the strongest global image, even as China’s economic strength is perceived as rising, the report says. More than six in 10 survey respondents perceive the U.S. favorably, while about half say they perceive China favorably.
It seems that citizens in the two competing superpowers are feeling the heat, and competition may be chipping away at amity between the two countries. While 51 percent of U.S. survey respondents had a positive view of China two years ago, only 37 percent of Americans say the same today. What's more, while 58 percent of Chinese respondents had a positive view of the U.S. in 2010, now only 40 percent do. Younger people in both nations are more likely to express favorable sentiment toward the other, the report finds.
Source: Pew Research Center
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.