NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Rand Projects Asian Economic Growth

March 20, 1997

By the year 2015, the economies of the U. S. and China will be running neck and neck -- with projected gross domestic product between $11 trillion and $12 trillion each, according to a recent RAND analysis. The U. S. produces about $7.5 trillion in GDP today, versus $5 trillion for China, whose recent rapid growth rate is expected to slow to between 4 percent and 5 percent annually.

The study also found:

  • Five Asian countries -- China, Japan, India, Korea and Indonesia -- will account for more than 45 percent of global output by 2015.
  • The U. S. will provide about 25 percent, as it does today -- and the European Union will account for some 15 percent.
  • By 2015, China's economy will be about twice the size of Japan's, and Korea's GDP will be about half that of Japan's.
  • India's GDP will be about 60 percent as large as that of the European Union.

But projections of GDP on a per-capita basis show a different picture:

  • Japan's per capita GDP will reach about $36,000, about the same as that of the U. S. and Germany and four times that of China.
  • A reunified Korea will reach about two-thirds of the per capita figure of the richer countries, while per capita GDP in India will be only 40 percent that of China, and just over half of that of Indonesia.

Capital devoted to the various countries' military structure will double for China and Japan and nearly quadruple for India. It is expected to decline by about 25 percent in the U. S. -- which would still leave actual military spending more than double that of China.

Source: Charles Wolf Jr. (RAND Corp.), "Asia in 2015," Wall Street Journal, March 20, 1997.


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