Asia 'to eclipse' US and Europe by 2030 - US report


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Asia will wield more global power than the US and Europe combined by 2030, a forecast from the US intelligence community has found.

Within two decades China will overtake the US as the world's largest economy, the report adds.

It also warns of slower growth and falling living standards in advanced nations with ageing populations.

Global Trends 2030, issued to coincide with Mr Obama's second term, says it aims to promote strategic thinking.

Published every four years, the report from the National Intelligence Council (NIC) aims to draw together a wide sweep of "megatrends" driving transformation in the world.

'Slow relative decline'

The NIC suggests that by 2030, Asia will have more "overall power" than the US and Europe combined - taking into account population size, gross domestic product (GDP), military spending and investment in technology.

People raise Chinese flag in Beijing, China November 2012 The National Intelligence Council says it does not believe China will become a superpower like the US

"China alone will probably have the largest economy, surpassing that of the United States a few years before 2030," the report says.

"Meanwhile, the economies of Europe, Japan, and Russia are likely to continue their slow relative declines."

But the report says it does not anticipate that China will emerge as a superpower in the mould of the US, forging coalitions to take on international issues.

Speaking at a news briefing, Mathew Burrows, counsellor to the National Intelligence Council said: "Being the largest economic power is important... [but] it isn't necessarily the largest economic power that always is going to be the superpower."

The "megatrends" identified by the report include individual empowerment and transfer of power from the West to the global East and South.

It highlights ageing societies and a growing middle class, as well as diminishing natural resources, as key global themes.

Within the next two decades the US will achieve energy independence, and the size of urban populations around the world will rise sharply, the report says.

But, the report adds, questions about the global economy, governance, evolving methods of conflict, regional spillover, new technologies and the future role of the US could dramatically impact the global picture over the next 20 years.

The study is the fifth in a series. The last edition was published in 2008.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    I can only think that it serves them right. So busy indulging themselves, while at the same time using another part of their population to witch hunt, and put down that nobody is going to worry to much what happens to them. Of course it might be that they start a blxxdy great war between now and then, but then perhaps China is more diligent and is gearing itself for such an event.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Yet again, so-called experts simply extrapolate current trends and pass that off as intelligent analysis. History does not develop in straight lines and it is certain that something completely unforeseen will occur before 2030 to derail current trends. I don't know what that event will be but then I'm not paid to make predictions. If you just want extrapolation, I could do that myself - for free!

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Asia will grow for sure. But, technology and science cannot be par with US or EUROPE.They are the true innovators and inventors for centuries.India will suffer from lack of resources form population, like water, land and electricity. China will have their own political problems, pollution, poverty and human rights. Probably mineral wealth in India and Chin will vanish by then. West will dominate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    I'm a Chinese and I hate CCP!!!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Not going to happen ... at some point, Asia (especially China) is going to have to address it's domestic social problems: Lack of internal consumer demand, higher wages, affordable healthcare, internal migration rules,, corruption, and a myriad of other issues. They'll figure it all out, but at the expense of being top-dog.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Agent orange - are we allowed to say that? After all the cleverest thing the devil did was make people believe he doe not exist. Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Iraq, Afghanistan, Contra Scandal (Reagan sold arms to Iran,mmm), CIA experiments, Vietnam Invasion stands alone though as one of the most brutal, scheming, evil wars ever inflicted on a nation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Not surprising when they can pay their employees a pittance.

  • Comment number 48.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    American war crimes (agent orange in Vietnam and the fire-bombing and nuking of Japan) have kept Asia in check so far. The US have now placed bases in the middle east to control oil. Modern armies are totally reliant on oil for tanks and fighters. And even if the US ever felt its back was against the wall, with its nuclear power, I think we would see worse crimes than the Nazis ever managed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Something to keep in mind is that this assessment does not really factor in the population with respect to growing issues of clean water and food access. In the name of progress, China is paving over arable land which they cant afford to lose. In the not too distant future they will need to import the majority of the worlds food exports. India isn't the same. They are the turtle in this race.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    Of course Asia is set to overtake the West. They have access to all the same technologies and markets but hardly any of the restrictions and burdens that hold the West back. They are set to grow while the expensive life style of the West will become increasingly unaffordable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    No surprise. The new Asian economies have built themselves up by acting as low cost manufacturies for the West and are now at the point where they can expand their own internal markets.
    The question for the West bcomes-"How can we make a living when the centre of economic activity has moved away from us?

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Population has proved an asset.More number of heads,more number of brains.America has bigger land but depended only on technology.There is no match for human hands and human brains.America will have to allow immigrants brains to survive.Hands of immigrants have bog contribution in economy providing required labour for agriculure and industries.For growth ony brains are not enough.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    On the one hand, good for them - makes sense and not really a surprise. On the other hand, hope they clean up their human right record before becoming our overlords.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    population of over 4bn has economy bigger than US+EU which has less than 1bn people. Not a surprise but still find unlikely. Current GDP per head between US & China more than 15:1 - this implies it will become about 4:1 and with middle-men + tariff it will be cheaper to make in US.

    China & India manipulate to keep people poor - likely to see revolution and sub-division than constant growth

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    So the countries with the biggest chunk of the world population will finally catch up! Wow. Shocking!
    The question is if the west is in decline where will they sell all their cheap t-shirts too?
    And more seriously, will the workers of Asia not demand better working conditions over the next 20 years which may level the playing field more? This is happeneing already in some areas.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.


    How will history judge globalisation?


    However our Chinese overlords tell it to.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    I heard similar theory over twenty years ago that countries of the Pacific rim will be taking over. Do not forget that we are still facing remnants of communism. I don't think that China and Russia will give in peacefully and revoke communism. I don't have to mention the other hubs of disagreements on this planet. Will we finally manage the peaceful solution to all of them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    This is very interesting in two ways - historically the East has always been more dominant than the West - it is only in the last two or three hundred years since the industrial revolution that we have overtaken them. This is not 'something new' this is going back to normality. Secondly it will be interesting to see how the US - a nuclear power - takes being knocked off the top spot.


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