Perception or Reality? World Views China as Top Economic Power, Not U.S.

June 13, 2012 6:02 PM EDT
In 2008 the U.S. was considered the world's leading economic power. Today, most view China as the top economic power, according a Pew Research study released today.

Views about the economic balance of power have shifted dramatically over time among the 14 countries surveyed each year from 2008 to 2012. In 2008, before the onset of the global financial crisis, a median of 45 percent named the U.S. as the world’s leading economic power, while just 22 percent said China. Today, only 36 percent say the U.S., while 42 percent believe China is in the top position.

This trend has been especially strong in Europe, notes the report. Seven of the eight EU nations surveyed consider China the global economic leader. In just the last year, the percentage naming the U.S. has declined by 13 percentage points in France, 11 points in Spain, and nine in Germany.

The view is shared in Russia, Japan, and China. Turkey and Mexico are the only countries surveyed where more than half consider the U.S. the world's leading economic power, but in both nations there was a declined 14 points since last year.

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