China’s surging economy is set to overtake 56 countries in the world’s per-capita income rankings during the quarter-century through 2025, the International Monetary Fund projects. The Asian powerhouse is forecast to have per-capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power, equal to $25,307 in 2025. That will take it past Argentina, one of the richest countries in the world a century ago and now mired in debt and currency crises.
By that date, China will rank 70th in the world on the metric, putting it close to joining the richest one-third of nations, according to data analyzed by Bloomberg from last month’s IMF World Economic Outlook. Jim O’Neill, the former head of Global Economic Research at Goldman Sachs Inc. who famously created the BRICs acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2001, says that bloc “could become collectively bigger than the G-7 countries” in the 2030s, referring to the Group of Seven richest nations. “This is almost exclusively because of China, and to a smaller degree India,” he says.
Turkmenistan is projected to be the only country climbing further up the rankings than China, advancing 58 spots. There are also big gains for Armenia, Georgia, Vietnam and Bangladesh. Overall, developing Asian countries will see per-capita GDP rise sixfold in the period. By contrast, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and Central Asia aren’t expected to even double their incomes.
Among the G-7 economies, average per-capita GDP rose from $31,471 to an expected $64,582 in 2025. Italy is the only member forecast to fall sharply down the rankings, to 35th place from 21st. The U.S. has broadly held onto its standing in the world. It ranked 11th in 2000, with a per-capita GDP of $36,318, and is set to move up to 9th place. But its neighbors have fared less well. Canada is expected to drop six spots to 24th and Mexico is one of the period’s biggest losers, plunging 26 places to 77th by 2025.
In general, Latin American and Caribbean economies have been laggards over the quarter-century. They’re also among the hardest-hit by Covid-19 this year, with per-capita GDP forecast to decline in all the region’s economies bar Guyana. In Venezuela, things have gotten so bad that the IMF didn’t even attempt forecasts — but by 2019, the country’s residents had already seen per-capita GDP slump 36% from 2000.
In China, per-capita GDP roughly doubled from 2000 to 2006, did so again before 2013, and is expected to double once more by 2024 — an annualized growth rate of 9.1% over the 25-year span.The Asian city-states of Macau and Singapore are expected to move into the world’s top three for wealth, joining Luxembourg. Singapore’s per-capita GDP, which surpassed the U.S.’s in 2006, is projected by the IMF to reach $115,445 by 2025. In the coronavirus year of 2020, the IMF expects only four of the world’s 50 biggest economies to achieve an increase in per-capita GDP, with Vietnam, Taiwan and Egypt joining China.