BERLIN - The United States will lose its position as the world's undisputed
leading power over the next decade and a half, with China emerging as a
formidable rival, according to a new survey from Germany's Bertelsmann
In the survey, based on interviews of 10,250 people worldwide, 57 percent of
respondents said they believed the United States would be a world power in the
year 2020 compared to 55 percent who saw China in that role.
That compared to 81 percent who currently see the United States as a world
power and 45 percent who believe China has already attained that status.
The survey, entitled "World Powers in the 21st Century" was conducted by the
Gallup and TNS Emnid polling institutes in nine countries -- Brazil, China,
France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States
-- between October and December 2005. Between 1,000 and 1,500 interviews were
conducted in each of the countries.
The survey showed the Chinese themselves are confident they will gain
influence on the global stage. A full 71 percent of Chinese respondents said
their country would be a world power by 2020, compared to 44 percent who see
China in that role today.
By comparison, 54 percent of Americans see China as a global power in 2020,
up slightly from the 51 percent who already view China that way.
The survey showed that India would also rise as a world power, with 24
percent of respondents assigning it that status in 2020 against only 12 percent
Besides the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan were
expected to decline in status, shedding 11, 6, 5 and 5 percentage points,
respectively in the next 15 years.
Of the respondents within those five declining countries, only those in
France went against the international trend and said their country would gain in
status from now until 2020 -- with 33 percent of French seeing their country as
a world power today and 35 percent in 2020.