Comparing United States and China by Economy

Source World Bank : Nominal, PPP, Nominal per capita, PPP per capita
International Monetary Fund
Date15 May 2021

The United States and China are the two largest economies globally in both Nominal and PPP methods. US is at the top in nominal, whereas China is at the top in PPP since 2017 after overtaking the US. As of 2021, both countries together share 41.89% and 34.75% of the entire world's GDP in nominal and PPP terms, respectively. The GDP of both countries is higher than the 3rd ranked country Japan (nominal) and India (PPP) by a huge margin. Therefore, only these two compete to become first.

As per projections by IMF for 2021, United States is leading by $6,033 bn or 1.36 times on an exchange rate basis. The economy of China is Int. $3,982 billion or 1.18x of the US on purchasing power parity basis. According to estimates by World Bank, China's gdp was approx 11% of the US in 1960, but in 2019 it is 67%.

Due to the vast population of China, more than four times of US's population, the difference between these two countries is very high in terms of per capita income. The Per capita income of the United States is 5.78 and 3.61 times higher than that of China in nominal and PPP terms, respectively. The US is the 5th richest country in the world, whereas China comes at 63rd rank. On a PPP basis, The United States is in 8th position, and China is at 76th.

China attains a maximum gdp growth rate of 19.30% in 1970 and a minimum of -27.27% in 1961. During the period 1961 to 2019, China grew by more than 10% in 22 years. The United States reached an all-time high of 7.24% in 1984 and a record low of -2.54% in 2009. GDP growth rate was negative in eight years for the US. China showed negative growth in four years.

According to World Factbook, China is ahead of the US in Agriculture and Industry sector. Agriculture Output of United States is only 17.58% of China and 77.58% for the Industry sector. The services sector of the US is more than double of China.

  • GDP
  • GDP per capita
  • GDP growth

Projections by IMF

Year Nominal GDP (billions $) PPP GDP (billions Int. $) Nominal GDP capita ($) PPP GDP capita (Int. $) Growth (%)
USChinaUSChina USChinaUSChinaUSChina
202020,932.7514,722.8420,932.7524,142.8363,41610,48463,41617,192-3.5052.270
202122,675.2716,642.3222,675.2726,656.7768,30911,81968,30918,9316.3868.437
202224,003.7018,013.4024,003.7028,779.5371,89612,76371,89620,3923.5155.574
202324,892.6119,423.4824,892.6131,031.0074,13013,73674,13021,9451.4105.439
202425,790.1220,910.4725,790.1233,351.2776,36214,76576,36223,5491.4815.273
202526,719.6322,481.4326,719.6335,748.1278,66015,85578,66025,2121.6075.121
202627,659.1524,127.8327,659.1538,189.8880,95917,00380,95926,9131.6104.863

Estimates by World Bank

Year Nominal GDP (billions $) PPP GDP (billions Int. $) Nominal GDP capita ($) PPP GDP capita (Int. $) Growth (%)
USChinaUSChina USChinaUSChinaUSChina
1960543.3059.72--3,00790----
1961563.3050.06--3,06776--2.300-27.270
1962605.1047.21--3,24471--6.100-5.580
1963638.6050.71--3,37574--4.40010.300
1964685.8059.71--3,57485--5.80018.180
1965743.7070.44--3,82898--6.40016.950
1966815.0076.72--4,146104--6.50010.650
1967861.7072.88--4,33697--2.500-5.770
1968942.5070.85--4,69691--4.800-4.100
19691,019.9079.71--5,032100--3.10016.940
19701,073.3092.60--5,234113---0.32319.300
19711,164.8599.80--5,609119--3.2937.060
19721,279.11113.69--6,094132--5.2593.810
19731,425.38138.54--6,726157--5.6467.760
19741,545.24144.18--7,226160---0.5412.310
19751,684.90163.43--7,801178---0.2058.720
19761,873.41153.94--8,592165--5.388-1.570
19772,081.83174.94--9,453185--4.6247.570
19782,351.60149.54--10,565156--5.53511.326
19792,627.33178.28--11,674184--3.1667.591
19802,857.31191.15--12,575195---0.2577.834
19813,207.04195.87--13,976197--2.5385.113
19823,343.79205.09--14,434203---1.8039.017
19833,634.04230.69--15,544225--4.58410.770
19844,037.61259.95--17,121251--7.23715.192
19854,338.98309.49--18,237294--4.17013.431
19864,579.63300.76--19,071282--3.4638.950
19874,855.22272.97--20,039252--3.46011.657
19885,236.44312.35--21,417284--4.17711.223
19895,641.58347.77--22,857311--3.6734.206
19905,963.14360.865,963.141,115.3223,88931823,8899831.8863.920
19916,158.13383.376,158.131,259.8424,34233324,3421,095-0.1089.263
19926,520.33426.926,520.331,471.8425,41936625,4191,2633.52214.225
19936,858.56444.736,858.561,715.9026,38737726,3871,4562.75313.884
19947,287.24564.337,287.241,981.0227,69547327,6951,6624.02913.037
19957,639.75734.557,639.752,244.1128,69161028,6911,8632.68410.954
19968,073.12863.758,073.122,511.9529,96870929,9682,0633.7739.923
19978,577.55961.608,577.552,791.2931,45978231,4592,2694.4479.237
19989,062.821,029.049,062.823,044.1732,85482932,8542,4514.4817.846
19999,630.661,094.009,630.663,324.7334,51487334,5142,6544.7537.662
200010,252.301,211.3510,252.303,687.6336,33595936,3352,9214.1278.490
200110,581.801,339.4010,581.804,082.6537,1331,05337,1333,2100.9988.336
200210,936.401,470.5510,936.404,526.0238,0231,14938,0233,5351.7429.134
200311,458.201,660.2911,458.205,072.8339,4961,28939,4963,9372.86110.038
200412,213.701,955.3512,213.705,736.2641,7131,50941,7134,4263.79910.114
200513,036.602,285.9713,036.606,588.9344,1151,75344,1155,0543.51311.395
200613,814.602,752.1313,814.607,651.8646,2992,09946,2995,8372.85512.721
200714,451.903,550.3414,451.908,975.5947,9762,69447,9766,8111.87614.231
200814,712.804,594.3114,712.8010,033.2048,3833,46848,3837,574-0.1379.651
200914,448.905,101.7014,448.9011,059.9047,1003,83247,1008,308-2.5379.399
201014,992.106,087.1614,992.1012,378.8048,4684,55048,4689,2542.56410.636
201115,542.607,551.5015,542.6013,844.4049,8875,61849,88710,3001.5519.551
201216,197.008,532.2316,197.0015,124.5051,6116,31751,61111,1982.2507.864
201316,784.809,570.4116,784.8016,185.1053,1187,05153,11811,9241.8427.766
201417,527.2010,475.7017,527.2017,121.3055,0657,67955,06512,5502.5267.426
201518,224.7011,061.6018,224.7017,796.7056,8398,06756,83912,9792.9087.041
201618,715.0011,233.3018,715.0018,712.1057,9528,14857,95213,5731.6386.849
201719,519.4012,310.4019,519.4019,887.0060,0628,87960,06214,3442.3706.947
201820,580.2013,894.8020,580.2021,746.5062,9969,97762,99615,6142.9276.750
201921,433.2014,279.9021,433.2023,487.8065,29810,21765,29816,8042.1615.950