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China vs. United States

Introduction

ChinaUnited States
Background

China's historical civilization dates from at least 1200 B.C.; from the 3rd century B.C. and for the next two millennia, China alternated between periods of unity and disunity under a succession of imperial dynasties. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Chinese Communist Party under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring China's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, MAO's successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically but political controls remain tight. Since the early 1990s, China has increased its global outreach and participation in international organizations.

Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65), in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its jobs. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation state. Since the end of World War II, the economy has achieved relatively steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.

Geography

ChinaUnited States
Location
Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam
North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico
Geographic coordinates
35 00 N, 105 00 E
38 00 N, 97 00 W
Map references
Asia
North America
Area
total: 9,596,960 sq km
land: 9,326,410 sq km
water: 270,550 sq km
total: 9,833,517 sq km
land: 9,147,593 sq km
water: 685,924 sq km

note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia, no overseas territories

Area - comparative
slightly smaller than the US
about half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa; about half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil); slightly larger than China; more than twice the size of the European Union
Land boundaries
total: 22,457 km
border countries (15): Afghanistan 91 km, Bhutan 477 km, Burma 2129 km, India 2659 km, Kazakhstan 1765 km, North Korea 1352 km, Kyrgyzstan 1063 km, Laos 475 km, Mongolia 4630 km, Nepal 1389 km, Pakistan 438 km, Russia (northeast) 4133 km, Russia (northwest) 46 km, Tajikistan 477 km, Vietnam 1297 km
total: 12,048 km
border countries (2): Canada 8893 km (including 2477 km with Alaska), Mexico 3155 km

note: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is leased by the US and is part of Cuba; the base boundary is 28.5 km

Coastline
14,500 km
19,924 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climate
extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north
mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River, and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains
Terrain
mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east
vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east; rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska; rugged, volcanic topography in Hawaii
Elevation extremes
mean elevation: 1,840 m
lowest point: Turpan Pendi -154 m
highest point: Mount Everest (highest peak in Asia and highest point on earth above sea level) 8,848 m
mean elevation: 760 m
lowest point: Death Valley (lowest point in North America) -86 m
highest point: Denali 6,190 m (Mount McKinley) (highest point in North America)
note: the peak of Mauna Kea (4,207 m above sea level) on the island of Hawaii rises about 10,200 m above the Pacific Ocean floor; by this measurement, it is the world's tallest mountain - higher than Mount Everest (8,850 m), which is recognized as the tallest mountain above sea level
Natural resources
coal, iron ore, helium, petroleum, natural gas, arsenic, bismuth, cobalt, cadmium, ferrosilicon, gallium, germanium, hafnium, indium, lithium, mercury, tantalum, tellurium, tin, titanium, tungsten, antimony, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, rare earth elements, uranium, hydropower potential (world's largest), arable land
coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, rare earth elements, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber, arable land, note, the US has the world's largest coal reserves with 491 billion short tons accounting for 27% of the world's total
Land use
agricultural land: 54.7% (2011 est.)
arable land: 11.3% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 1.6% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 41.8% (2011 est.)
forest: 22.3% (2011 est.)
other: 23% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 44.5% (2011 est.)
arable land: 16.8% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.3% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 27.4% (2011 est.)
forest: 33.3% (2011 est.)
other: 22.2% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land
690,070 sq km (2012)
264,000 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards

frequent typhoons (about five per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence

volcanism: China contains some historically active volcanoes including Changbaishan (also known as Baitoushan, Baegdu, or P'aektu-san), Hainan Dao, and Kunlun although most have been relatively inactive in recent centuries

tsunamis; volcanoes; earthquake activity around Pacific Basin; hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts; tornadoes in the Midwest and Southeast; mud slides in California; forest fires in the west; flooding; permafrost in northern Alaska, a major impediment to development

volcanism: volcanic activity in the Hawaiian Islands, Western Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and in the Northern Mariana Islands; both Mauna Loa (4,170 m) in Hawaii and Mount Rainier (4,392 m) in Washington have been deemed Decade Volcanoes by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Pavlof (2,519 m) is the most active volcano in Alaska's Aleutian Arc and poses a significant threat to air travel since the area constitutes a major flight path between North America and East Asia; St. Helens (2,549 m), famous for the devastating 1980 eruption, remains active today; numerous other historically active volcanoes exist, mostly concentrated in the Aleutian arc and Hawaii; they include: in Alaska: Aniakchak, Augustine, Chiginagak, Fourpeaked, Iliamna, Katmai, Kupreanof, Martin, Novarupta, Redoubt, Spurr, Wrangell, Trident, Ugashik-Peulik, Ukinrek Maars, Veniaminof; in Hawaii: Haleakala, Kilauea, Loihi; in the Northern Mariana Islands: Anatahan; and in the Pacific Northwest: Mount Baker, Mount Hood; see note 2 under "Geography - note"

Environment - current issues
air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; China is the world's largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water shortages, particularly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; coastal destruction due to land reclamation, industrial development, and aquaculture; deforestation and habitat destruction; poor land management leads to soil erosion, landslides, floods, droughts, dust storms, and desertification; trade in endangered species
air pollution; large emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural freshwater resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; deforestation; mining; desertification; species conservation; invasive species (the Hawaiian Islands are particularly vulnerable)
Environment - international agreements
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Hazardous Wastes
Geography - note
note 1: world's fourth largest country (after Russia, Canada, and US) and largest country situated entirely in Asia; Mount Everest on the border with Nepal is the world's tallest peak above sea level

note 2: the largest cave chamber in the world is the Miao Room, in the Gebihe cave system at China's Ziyun Getu He Chuandong National Park, which encloses some 10.78 million cu m (380.7 million cu ft) of volume

note 3: China appears to have been the center of domestication for two of the world's leading cereal crops: millet in the north along the Yellow River and rice in the south along the lower or middle Yangtze River

note 1: world's third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada) and by population (after China and India); Denali (Mt. McKinley) is the highest point in North America and Death Valley the lowest point on the continent

note 2: the western coast of the United States and southern coast of Alaska lie along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

note 3: the Aleutian Islands are a chain of volcanic islands that divide the Bering Sea (north) from the main Pacific Ocean (south); they extend about 1,800 km westward from the Alaskan Peninsula; the archipelago consists of 14 larger islands, 55 smaller islands, and hundreds of islets; there are 41 active volcanoes on the islands, which together form a large northern section of the Ring of Fire

note 4: Mammoth Cave, in west-central Kentucky, is the world's longest known cave system with more than 650 km (405 miles) of surveyed passageways, which is nearly twice as long as the second-longest cave system, the Sac Actun underwater cave in Mexico - the world's longest underwater cave system (see "Geography - note" under Mexico);

note 5: Kazumura Cave on the island of Hawaii is the world's longest and deepest lava tube cave; it has been surveyed at 66 km (41 mi) long and 1,102 m (3,614 ft) deep

note 6: Bracken Cave outside of San Antonio, Texas is the world's largest bat cave; it is the summer home to the largest colony of bats in the world; an estimated 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats roost in the cave from March to October making it the world's largest known concentration of mammals

Population distribution
overwhelming majority of the population is found in the eastern half of the country; the west, with its vast mountainous and desert areas, remains sparsely populated; though ranked first in the world in total population, overall density is less than that of many other countries in Asia and Europe; high population density is found along the Yangtze and Yellow River valleys, the Xi Jiang River delta, the Sichuan Basin (around Chengdu), in and around Beijing, and the industrial area around Shenyang
large urban clusters are spread throughout the eastern half of the US (particularly the Great Lakes area, northeast, east, and southeast) and the western tier states; mountainous areas, principally the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian chain, deserts in the southwest, the dense boreal forests in the extreme north, and the central prarie states are less densely populated; Alaska's population is concentrated along its southern coast - with particular emphasis on the city of Anchorage - and Hawaii's is centered on the island of Oahu

Demographics

ChinaUnited States
Population
1,394,015,977 (July 2020 est.)
332,639,102 (July 2020 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 17.29% (male 129,296,339/female 111,782,427)
15-24 years: 11.48% (male 86,129,841/female 73,876,148)
25-54 years: 46.81% (male 333,789,731/female 318,711,557)
55-64 years: 12.08% (male 84,827,645/female 83,557,507)
65 years and over: 12.34% (male 81,586,490/female 90,458,292) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 18.46% (male 31,374,555/female 30,034,371)
15-24 years: 12.91% (male 21,931,368/female 21,006,463)
25-54 years: 38.92% (male 64,893,670/female 64,564,565)
55-64 years: 12.86% (male 20,690,736/female 22,091,808)
65 years and over: 16.85% (male 25,014,147/female 31,037,419) (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 38.4 years
male: 37.5 years
female: 39.4 years (2020 est.)
total: 38.5 years
male: 37.2 years
female: 39.8 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
0.32% (2020 est.)
0.72% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
11.6 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
12.4 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
8.3 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.11 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.16 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.17 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 105.5 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female NA
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 97.1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 11.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 11.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
total: 5.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 76.1 years
male: 74 years
female: 78.4 years (2020 est.)
total population: 80.3 years
male: 78 years
female: 82.5 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
1.6 children born/woman (2020 est.)
1.84 children born/woman (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
NA
NA
Nationality
noun: Chinese (singular and plural)
adjective: Chinese
noun: American(s)
adjective: American
Ethnic groups
Han Chinese 91.6%, Zhuang 1.3%, other (includes Hui, Manchu, Uighur, Miao, Yi, Tujia, Tibetan, Mongol, Dong, Buyei, Yao, Bai, Korean, Hani, Li, Kazakh, Dai, and other nationalities) 7.1% (2010 est.)

note: the Chinese Government officially recognizes 56 ethnic groups

white 72.4%, black 12.6%, Asian 4.8%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.9%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.2%, other 6.2%, two or more races 2.9% (2010 est.)

note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean persons of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin including those of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican Republic, Spanish, and Central or South American origin living in the US who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.); an estimated 16.3% of the total US population is Hispanic as of 2010

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
NA
NA
Religions
Buddhist 18.2%, Christian 5.1%, Muslim 1.8%, folk religion 21.9%, Hindu < 0.1%, Jewish < 0.1%, other 0.7% (includes Daoist (Taoist)), unaffiliated 52.2% (2010 est.)

note: officially atheist

Protestant 46.5%, Roman Catholic 20.8%, Jewish 1.9%, Mormon 1.6%, other Christian 0.9%, Muslim 0.9%, Jehovah's Witness 0.8%, Buddhist 0.7%, Hindu 0.7%, other 1.8%, unaffiliated 22.8%, don't know/refused 0.6% (2014 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
NA
NA
Languages
Standard Chinese or Mandarin (official; Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)

note: Zhuang is official in Guangxi Zhuang, Yue is official in Guangdong, Mongolian is official in Nei Mongol, Uighur is official in Xinjiang Uygur, Kyrgyz is official in Xinjiang Uygur, and Tibetan is official in Xizang (Tibet)

English only 78.2%, Spanish 13.4%, Chinese 1.1%, other 7.3% (2017 est.)

note: data represent the language spoken at home; the US has no official national language, but English has acquired official status in 32 of the 50 states; Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii, and 20 indigenous languages are official in Alaska

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 14 years (2015)
total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2018)
Education expenditures
NA
5% of GDP (2014)
Urbanization
urban population: 61.4% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 2.42% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

note: data do not include Hong Kong and Macau

urban population: 82.7% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 0.95% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 97.7% of population
rural: 87.8% of population
total: 92.8% of population
unimproved: urban: 2.3% of population
rural: 12.2% of population
total: 7.2% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 97% of population
total: 99% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 3% of population
total: 1% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 97.1% of population
rural: 82% of population
total: 90.7% of population
unimproved: urban: 2.4% of population
rural: 18% of population
total: 9.3% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
Major cities - population
27.058 million Shanghai, 20.463 million BEIJING (capital), 15.872 million Chongqing, 13.589 million Tianjin, 13.302 million Guangzhou, 12.357 million Shenzhen (2020)
18.804 million New York-Newark, 12.447 million Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, 8.865 million Chicago, 6.371 million Houston, 6.301 million Dallas-Fort Worth, 5.322 million WASHINGTON, D.C. (capital) (2020)
Maternal mortality rate
29 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
19 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
2.4% (2013)
0.5% (2012)
Health expenditures
5.2% (2017)
17.1% (2017)
Physicians density
1.98 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
2.61 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density
4.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
6.2% (2016)
36.2% (2016)
Contraceptive prevalence rate
84.5% (2017)
75.9% (2015/17)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 42.2
youth dependency ratio: 25.2
elderly dependency ratio: 17
potential support ratio: 5.9 (2020 est.)
data do not include Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan
total dependency ratio: 53.9
youth dependency ratio: 28.3
elderly dependency ratio: 25.6
potential support ratio: 3.9 (2020 est.)

Government

ChinaUnited States
Country name
conventional long form: People's Republic of China
conventional short form: China
local long form: Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo
local short form: Zhongguo
abbreviation: PRC
etymology: English name derives from the Qin (Chin) rulers of the 3rd century B.C., who comprised the first imperial dynasty of ancient China; the Chinese name Zhongguo translates as "Central Nation" or "Middle Kingdom"
conventional long form: United States of America
conventional short form: United States
abbreviation: US or USA
etymology: the name America is derived from that of Amerigo VESPUCCI (1454-1512) - Italian explorer, navigator, and cartographer - using the Latin form of his name, Americus, feminized to America
Government type
communist party-led state
constitutional federal republic
Capital
name: Beijing
geographic coordinates: 39 55 N, 116 23 E
time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

note: China is the largest country (in terms of area) with just one time zone; before 1949 it was divided into five

etymology: the Chinese meaning is "Northern Capital"

name: Washington, DC
geographic coordinates: 38 53 N, 77 02 W
time difference: UTC-5 (during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November

note: the 50 United States cover six time zones

etymology: named after George Washington (1732-1799), the first president of the United States

Administrative divisions

23 provinces (sheng, singular and plural), 5 autonomous regions (zizhiqu, singular and plural), and 4 municipalities (shi, singular and plural)

provinces: Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang; (see note on Taiwan)

autonomous regions: Guangxi, Nei Mongol (Inner Mongolia), Ningxia, Xinjiang Uyghur, Xizang (Tibet)

municipalities: Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Tianjin

note: China considers Taiwan its 23rd province; see separate entries for the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau

50 states and 1 district*; Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia*, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Independence
1 October 1949 (People's Republic of China established); notable earlier dates: 221 B.C. (unification under the Qin Dynasty); 1 January 1912 (Qing Dynasty replaced by the Republic of China)
4 July 1776 (declared independence from Great Britain); 3 September 1783 (recognized by Great Britain)
National holiday
National Day (anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China), 1 October (1949)
Independence Day, 4 July (1776)
Constitution
history: several previous; latest promulgated 4 December 1982
amendments: proposed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress or supported by more than one fifth of the National People’s Congress membership; passage requires more than two-thirds majority vote of the Congress membership; amended several times, last in 2018
history: previous 1781 (Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union); latest drafted July - September 1787, submitted to the Congress of the Confederation 20 September 1787, submitted for states' ratification 28 September 1787, ratification completed by nine of the 13 states 21 June 1788, effective 4 March 1789
amendments: proposed as a "joint resolution" by Congress, which requires a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by at least two thirds of the state legislatures; passage requires ratification by three fourths of the state legislatures or passage in state-held constitutional conventions as specified by Congress; the US president has no role in the constitutional amendment process; amended many times, last in 1992
Legal system
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state: President XI Jinping (since 14 March 2013); Vice President WANG Qishan (since 17 March 2018)
head of government: Premier LI Keqiang (since 16 March 2013); Executive Vice Premiers HAN Zheng (since 19 March 2018), SUN Chunlan (since 19 March 2018), LIU He (since 19 March 2018), HU Chunhua (since 19 March 2018)
cabinet: State Council appointed by National People's Congress
elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by National People's Congress for a 5-year term (unlimited terms); election last held on 17 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2023); premier nominated by president, confirmed by National People's Congress
election results: XI Jinping reelected president; National People's Congress vote - 2,970 (unanimously); WANG Qishan elected vice president with 2,969 votes
chief of state: President Donald J. TRUMP (since 20 January 2017); Vice President Michael R. PENCE (since 20 January 2017); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Donald J. TRUMP (since 20 January 2017); Vice President Michael R. PENCE (since 20 January 2017)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president, approved by the Senate
elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected on the same ballot by the Electoral College of 'electors' chosen from each state; president and vice president serve a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 8 November 2016 (next to be held on 3 November 2020)
election results: Donald J. TRUMP elected president; electoral vote - Donald J. TRUMP (Republican Party) 304, Hillary D. CLINTON (Democratic Party) 227, other 7; percent of direct popular vote - Hillary D. CLINTON 48.2%, Donald J. TRUMP 46.1%, other 5.7%
Legislative branch
description: unicameral National People's Congress or Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui (maximum of 3,000 seats; members indirectly elected by municipal, regional, and provincial people's congresses, and the People's Liberation Army; members serve 5-year terms); note - in practice, only members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), its 8 allied independent parties, and CCP-approved independent candidates are elected
elections: last held in December 2017-February 2018 (next to be held in late 2022 to early 2023)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 2,238, women 742, percent of women 24.9%
description: bicameral Congress consists of:
Senate (100 seats; 2 members directly elected in each of the 50 state constituencies by simple majority vote except in Georgia and Louisiana which require an absolute majority vote with a second round if needed; members serve 6-year terms with one-third of membership renewed every 2 years)
House of Representatives (435 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote except in Georgia which requires an absolute majority vote with a second round if needed; members serve 2-year terms)
elections:
Senate - last held on 6 November 2018 (next to be held on 3 November 2020)
House of Representatives - last held on 6 November 2018 (next to be held on 3 November 2020)
election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Republican Party 53, Democratic Party 45, independent 2; composition - men 75, women 25, percent of women 25%
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Democratic Party 234, Republican Party 200, 1 seat still undecided; composition - men 328, women 106, percent of women 24.4%; note - total US Congress percent of women 24.5%
note: in addition to the regular members of the House of Representatives there are 6 non-voting delegates elected from the District of Columbia and the US territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands; these are single seat constituencies directly elected by simple majority vote to serve a 2-year term (except for the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico who serves a 4-year term); the delegate can vote when serving on a committee and when the House meets as the Committee of the Whole House, but not when legislation is submitted for a “full floor” House vote; election of delegates last held on 6 November 2018 (next to be held on 3 November 2020)
Judicial branch
highest courts: Supreme People's Court (consists of over 340 judges, including the chief justice and 13 grand justices organized into a civil committee and tribunals for civil, economic, administrative, complaint and appeal, and communication and transportation cases)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the People's National Congress (NPC); limited to 2 consecutive 5-year-terms; other justices and judges nominated by the chief justice and appointed by the Standing Committee of the NPC; term of other justices and judges determined by the NPC
subordinate courts: Higher People's Courts; Intermediate People's Courts; District and County People's Courts; Autonomous Region People's Courts; International Commercial Courts; Special People's Courts for military, maritime, transportation, and forestry issues
note: in late 2014, China unveiled a multi-year judicial reform program; progress continued in 2018
highest courts: US Supreme Court (consists of 9 justices - the chief justice and 8 associate justices)
judge selection and term of office: president nominates and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints Supreme Court justices; justices serve for life
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (includes the US Court of Appeal for the Federal District and 12 regional appeals courts); 94 federal district courts in 50 states and territories

note: the US court system consists of the federal court system and the state court systems; although each court system is responsible for hearing certain types of cases, neither is completely independent of the other, and the systems often interact

Political parties and leaders
Chinese Communist Party or CCP [XI Jinping]

note: China has 8 nominally independent small parties controlled by the CCP

Democratic Party [Tom PEREZ]
Green Party [collective leadership]
Libertarian Party [Nicholas SARWARK]
Republican Party [Ronna Romney MCDANIEL]
International organization participation
ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council (observer), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BRICS, CDB, CICA, EAS, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-24 (observer), G-5, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SCO, SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UN Security Council (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), ANZUS, APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CD, CE (observer), CERN (observer), CICA (observer), CP, EAPC, EAS, EBRD, EITI (implementing country), FAO, FATF, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAFTA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNITAR, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNRWA, UN Security Council (permanent), UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Flag description
red with a large yellow five-pointed star and four smaller yellow five-pointed stars (arranged in a vertical arc toward the middle of the flag) in the upper hoist-side corner; the color red represents revolution, while the stars symbolize the four social classes - the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie (capitalists) - united under the Communist Party of China
13 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars; the 50 stars represent the 50 states, the 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies; blue stands for loyalty, devotion, truth, justice, and friendship, red symbolizes courage, zeal, and fervency, while white denotes purity and rectitude of conduct; commonly referred to by its nickname of Old Glory

note: the design and colors have been the basis for a number of other flags, including Chile, Liberia, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico

National anthem
name: "Yiyongjun Jinxingqu" (The March of the Volunteers)
lyrics/music: TIAN Han/NIE Er

note: adopted 1949; the anthem, though banned during the Cultural Revolution, is more commonly known as "Zhongguo Guoge" (Chinese National Song); it was originally the theme song to the 1935 Chinese movie, "Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm"

name: The Star-Spangled Banner
lyrics/music: Francis Scott KEY/John Stafford SMITH

note: adopted 1931; during the War of 1812, after witnessing the successful American defense of Fort McHenry in Baltimore following British naval bombardment, Francis Scott KEY wrote the lyrics to what would become the national anthem; the lyrics were set to the tune of "The Anacreontic Song"; only the first verse is sung

International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
withdrew acceptance of compulsory ICJ jurisdiction in 2005; withdrew acceptance of ICCt jurisdiction in 2002
National symbol(s)
dragon, giant panda; national colors: red, yellow
bald eagle; national colors: red, white, blue
Citizenship
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: least one parent must be a citizen of China
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: while naturalization is theoretically possible, in practical terms it is extremely difficult; residency is required but not specified
citizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent only: yes
dual citizenship recognized: no, but the US government acknowledges such situtations exist; US citizens are not encouraged to seek dual citizenship since it limits protection by the US
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

ChinaUnited States
Economy - overview

Since the late 1970s, China has moved from a closed, centrally planned system to a more market-oriented one that plays a major global role. China has implemented reforms in a gradualist fashion, resulting in efficiency gains that have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Reforms began with the phaseout of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, growth of the private sector, development of stock markets and a modern banking system, and opening to foreign trade and investment. China continues to pursue an industrial policy, state support of key sectors, and a restrictive investment regime. From 2013 to 2017, China had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, averaging slightly more than 7% real growth per year. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2017 stood as the largest economy in the world, surpassing the US in 2014 for the first time in modern history. China became the world's largest exporter in 2010, and the largest trading nation in 2013. Still, China's per capita income is below the world average.

In July 2005 moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies. From mid-2005 to late 2008, the renminbi (RMB) appreciated more than 20% against the US dollar, but the exchange rate remained virtually pegged to the dollar from the onset of the global financial crisis until June 2010, when Beijing announced it would resume a gradual appreciation. From 2013 until early 2015, the renminbi held steady against the dollar, but it depreciated 13% from mid-2015 until end-2016 amid strong capital outflows; in 2017 the RMB resumed appreciating against the dollar – roughly 7% from end-of-2016 to end-of-2017. In 2015, the People’s Bank of China announced it would continue to carefully push for full convertibility of the renminbi, after the currency was accepted as part of the IMF’s special drawing rights basket. However, since late 2015 the Chinese Government has strengthened capital controls and oversight of overseas investments to better manage the exchange rate and maintain financial stability.

The Chinese Government faces numerous economic challenges including: (a) reducing its high domestic savings rate and correspondingly low domestic household consumption; (b) managing its high corporate debt burden to maintain financial stability; (c) controlling off-balance sheet local government debt used to finance infrastructure stimulus; (d) facilitating higher-wage job opportunities for the aspiring middle class, including rural migrants and college graduates, while maintaining competitiveness; (e) dampening speculative investment in the real estate sector without sharply slowing the economy; (f) reducing industrial overcapacity; and (g) raising productivity growth rates through the more efficient allocation of capital and state-support for innovation. Economic development has progressed further in coastal provinces than in the interior, and by 2016 more than 169.3 million migrant workers and their dependents had relocated to urban areas to find work. One consequence of China’s population control policy known as the "one-child policy" - which was relaxed in 2016 to permit all families to have two children - is that China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. Deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the North - is another long-term problem. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and urbanization. The Chinese Government is seeking to add energy production capacity from sources other than coal and oil, focusing on natural gas, nuclear, and clean energy development. In 2016, China ratified the Paris Agreement, a multilateral agreement to combat climate change, and committed to peak its carbon dioxide emissions between 2025 and 2030.

The government's 13th Five-Year Plan, unveiled in March 2016, emphasizes the need to increase innovation and boost domestic consumption to make the economy less dependent on government investment, exports, and heavy industry. However, China has made more progress on subsidizing innovation than rebalancing the economy. Beijing has committed to giving the market a more decisive role in allocating resources, but the Chinese Government’s policies continue to favor state-owned enterprises and emphasize stability. Chinese leaders in 2010 pledged to double China’s GDP by 2020, and the 13th Five Year Plan includes annual economic growth targets of at least 6.5% through 2020 to achieve that goal. In recent years, China has renewed its support for state-owned enterprises in sectors considered important to "economic security," explicitly looking to foster globally competitive industries. Chinese leaders also have undermined some market-oriented reforms by reaffirming the "dominant" role of the state in the economy, a stance that threatens to discourage private initiative and make the economy less efficient over time. The slight acceleration in economic growth in 2017—the first such uptick since 2010—gives Beijing more latitude to pursue its economic reforms, focusing on financial sector deleveraging and its Supply-Side Structural Reform agenda, first announced in late 2015.

The US has the most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $59,500. US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers, pharmaceuticals, and medical, aerospace, and military equipment; however, their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II. Based on a comparison of GDP measured at purchasing power parity conversion rates, the US economy in 2014, having stood as the largest in the world for more than a century, slipped into second place behind China, which has more than tripled the US growth rate for each year of the past four decades.

In the US, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, businesses face higher barriers to enter their rivals' home markets than foreign firms face entering US markets.

Long-term problems for the US include stagnation of wages for lower-income families, inadequate investment in deteriorating infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, energy shortages, and sizable current account and budget deficits.

The onrush of technology has been a driving factor in the gradual development of a "two-tier" labor market in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. But the globalization of trade, and especially the rise of low-wage producers such as China, has put additional downward pressure on wages and upward pressure on the return to capital. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. Since 1996, dividends and capital gains have grown faster than wages or any other category of after-tax income.

Imported oil accounts for more than 50% of US consumption and oil has a major impact on the overall health of the economy. Crude oil prices doubled between 2001 and 2006, the year home prices peaked; higher gasoline prices ate into consumers' budgets and many individuals fell behind in their mortgage payments. Oil prices climbed another 50% between 2006 and 2008, and bank foreclosures more than doubled in the same period. Besides dampening the housing market, soaring oil prices caused a drop in the value of the dollar and a deterioration in the US merchandise trade deficit, which peaked at $840 billion in 2008. Because the US economy is energy-intensive, falling oil prices since 2013 have alleviated many of the problems the earlier increases had created.

The sub-prime mortgage crisis, falling home prices, investment bank failures, tight credit, and the global economic downturn pushed the US into a recession by mid-2008. GDP contracted until the third quarter of 2009, the deepest and longest downturn since the Great Depression. To help stabilize financial markets, the US Congress established a $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program in October 2008. The government used some of these funds to purchase equity in US banks and industrial corporations, much of which had been returned to the government by early 2011. In January 2009, Congress passed and former President Barack OBAMA signed a bill providing an additional $787 billion fiscal stimulus to be used over 10 years - two-thirds on additional spending and one-third on tax cuts - to create jobs and to help the economy recover. In 2010 and 2011, the federal budget deficit reached nearly 9% of GDP. In 2012, the Federal Government reduced the growth of spending and the deficit shrank to 7.6% of GDP. US revenues from taxes and other sources are lower, as a percentage of GDP, than those of most other countries.

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan required major shifts in national resources from civilian to military purposes and contributed to the growth of the budget deficit and public debt. Through FY 2018, the direct costs of the wars will have totaled more than $1.9 trillion, according to US Government figures.

In March 2010, former President OBAMA signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a health insurance reform that was designed to extend coverage to an additional 32 million Americans by 2016, through private health insurance for the general population and Medicaid for the impoverished. Total spending on healthcare - public plus private - rose from 9.0% of GDP in 1980 to 17.9% in 2010.

In July 2010, the former president signed the DODD-FRANK Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a law designed to promote financial stability by protecting consumers from financial abuses, ending taxpayer bailouts of financial firms, dealing with troubled banks that are "too big to fail," and improving accountability and transparency in the financial system - in particular, by requiring certain financial derivatives to be traded in markets that are subject to government regulation and oversight.

The Federal Reserve Board (Fed) announced plans in December 2012 to purchase $85 billion per month of mortgage-backed and Treasury securities in an effort to hold down long-term interest rates, and to keep short-term rates near zero until unemployment dropped below 6.5% or inflation rose above 2.5%. The Fed ended its purchases during the summer of 2014, after the unemployment rate dropped to 6.2%, inflation stood at 1.7%, and public debt fell below 74% of GDP. In December 2015, the Fed raised its target for the benchmark federal funds rate by 0.25%, the first increase since the recession began. With continued low growth, the Fed opted to raise rates several times since then, and in December 2017, the target rate stood at 1.5%.

In December 2017, Congress passed and President Donald TRUMP signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which, among its various provisions, reduces the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%; lowers the individual tax rate for those with the highest incomes from 39.6% to 37%, and by lesser percentages for those at lower income levels; changes many deductions and credits used to calculate taxable income; and eliminates in 2019 the penalty imposed on taxpayers who do not obtain the minimum amount of health insurance required under the ACA. The new taxes took effect on 1 January 2018; the tax cut for corporations are permanent, but those for individuals are scheduled to expire after 2025. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) under the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the new law will reduce tax revenues and increase the federal deficit by about $1.45 trillion over the 2018-2027 period. This amount would decline if economic growth were to exceed the JCT’s estimate.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$25.36 trillion (2018)
$23.21 trillion (2017 est.)
$21.72 trillion (2016 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$19.49 trillion (2017 est.)
$19.06 trillion (2016 est.)
$18.77 trillion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
6.14% (2019 est.)
6.75% (2018 est.)
6.92% (2017 est.)
2.16% (2019 est.)
3% (2018 est.)
2.33% (2017 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$18,200 (2018)
$16,700 (2017 est.)
$15,700 (2016 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$59,800 (2017 est.)
$58,900 (2016 est.)
$58,400 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 7.9% (2017 est.)
industry: 40.5% (2017 est.)
services: 51.6% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 0.9% (2017 est.)
industry: 19.1% (2017 est.)
services: 80% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
3.3% (2016 est.)

note: in 2011, China set a new poverty line at RMB 2300 (approximately US $400)

15.1% (2010 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 31.4% (2012)

note: data are for urban households only

lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 30% (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
1.6% (2017 est.)
2% (2016 est.)
2.1% (2017 est.)
1.3% (2016 est.)
Labor force
774.71 million (2019 est.)

note: by the end of 2012, China's working age population (15-64 years) was 1.004 billion

35.412 million (2020 est.)

note: includes unemployed

Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 27.7%
industry: 28.8%
services: 43.5% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 0.7% (2009)
industry: 20.3% (2009)
services: 37.3% (2009)
industry and services: 24.2% (2009)
manufacturing: 17.6% (2009)
farming, forestry, and fishing: 0.7% (2009)
manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts: 20.3% (2009)
managerial, professional, and technical: 37.3% (2009)
sales and office: 24.2% (2009)
other services: 17.6% (2009)

note: figures exclude the unemployed

Unemployment rate
3.64% (2019 est.)
3.84% (2018 est.)

note: data are for registered urban unemployment, which excludes private enterprises and migrants

3.89% (2018 est.)
4.4% (2017 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
46.5 (2016 est.)
46.2 (2015 est.)
45 (2007)
40.8 (1997)
Budget
revenues: 2.553 trillion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 3.008 trillion (2017 est.)
revenues: 3.315 trillion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 3.981 trillion (2017 est.)

note: revenues exclude social contributions of approximately $1.0 trillion; expenditures exclude social benefits of approximately $2.3 trillion

Industries
world leader in gross value of industrial output; mining and ore processing, iron, steel, aluminum, and other metals, coal; machine building; armaments; textiles and apparel; petroleum; cement; chemicals; fertilizer; consumer products (including footwear, toys, and electronics); food processing; transportation equipment, including automobiles, railcars and locomotives, ships, aircraft; telecommunications equipment, commercial space launch vehicles, satellites
highly diversified, world leading, high-technology innovator, second-largest industrial output in the world; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining
Industrial production growth rate
6.1% (2017 est.)
2.3% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
world leader in gross value of agricultural output; rice, wheat, potatoes, corn, tobacco, peanuts, tea, apples, cotton, pork, mutton, eggs; fish, shrimp
wheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish; forest products
Exports
$2.49 trillion (2018)
$2.216 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.99 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.553 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.456 trillion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
electrical and other machinery, including computers and telecommunications equipment, apparel, furniture, textiles
agricultural products (soybeans, fruit, corn) 9.2%, industrial supplies (organic chemicals) 26.8%, capital goods (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment) 49.0%, consumer goods (automobiles, medicines) 15.0% (2008 est.)
Exports - partners
US 19.2%, Hong Kong 12.2%, Japan 5.9%, South Korea 4.4% (2018)
Canada 18.3%, Mexico 15.7%, China 8.4%, Japan 4.4% (2017)
Imports
$2.14 trillion (2018)
$1.74 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.501 trillion (2016 est.)
$2.361 trillion (2017 est.)
$2.208 trillion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
electrical and other machinery, including integrated circuits and other computer components, oil and mineral fuels; optical and medical equipment, metal ores, motor vehicles; soybeans
agricultural products 4.9%, industrial supplies 32.9% (crude oil 8.2%), capital goods 30.4% (computers, telecommunications equipment, motor vehicle parts, office machines, electric power machinery), consumer goods 31.8% (automobiles, clothing, medicines, furniture, toys) (2008 est.)
Imports - partners
South Korea 9.7%, Japan 8.6%, US 7.3%, Germany 5%, Australia 4.9% (2018)
China 21.6%, Mexico 13.4%, Canada 12.8%, Japan 5.8%, Germany 5% (2017)
Debt - external
$1.598 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.429 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$17.91 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$17.85 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
note: approximately 4/5ths of US external debt is denominated in US dollars; foreign lenders have been willing to hold US dollar denominated debt instruments because they view the dollar as the world's reserve currency
Exchange rates
Renminbi yuan (RMB) per US dollar -
7.76 (2017 est.)
6.6446 (2016 est.)
6.2275 (2015 est.)
6.1434 (2014 est.)
6.1958 (2013 est.)
British pounds per US dollar: 0.7836 (2017 est.), 0.738 (2016 est.), 0.738 (2015 est.), 0.607 (2014 est), 0.6391 (2013 est.)
Canadian dollars per US dollar: 1, 1.308 (2017 est.), 1.3256 (2016 est.), 1.3256 (2015 est.), 1.2788 (2014 est.), 1.0298 (2013 est.)
Chinese yuan per US dollar: 1, 6.7588 (2017 est.), 6.6445 (2016 est.), 6.2275 (2015 est.), 6.1434 (2014 est.), 6.1958 (2013 est.)
euros per US dollar: 0.885 (2017 est.), 0.903 (2016 est.), 0.9214(2015 est.), 0.885 (2014 est.), 0.7634 (2013 est.)
Japanese yen per US dollar: 111.10 (2017 est.), 108.76 (2016 est.), 108.76 (2015 est.), 121.02 (2014 est.), 97.44 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
1 October - 30 September
Public debt
47% of GDP (2017 est.)
44.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: official data; data cover both central and local government debt, including debt officially recognized by China's National Audit Office report in 2011; data exclude policy bank bonds, Ministry of Railway debt, and China Asset Management Company debt

78.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
81.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover only what the United States Treasury denotes as "Debt Held by the Public," which includes all debt instruments issued by the Treasury that are owned by non-US Government entities; the data include Treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data exclude debt issued by individual US states, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of Treasury borrowings from surpluses in the trusts for Federal Social Security, Federal Employees, Hospital and Supplemental Medical Insurance (Medicare), Disability and Unemployment, and several other smaller trusts; if data for intragovernment debt were added, "gross debt" would increase by about one-third of GDP

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$3.236 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.098 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$123.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$117.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance
$141.335 billion (2019 est.)
$25.499 billion (2018 est.)
-$480.225 billion (2019 est.)
-$449.694 billion (2018 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$12.01 trillion (2017 est.)

note: because China's exchange rate is determined by fiat rather than by market forces, the official exchange rate measure of GDP is not an accurate measure of China's output; GDP at the official exchange rate substantially understates the actual level of China's output vis-a-vis the rest of the world; in China's situation, GDP at purchasing power parity provides the best measure for comparing output across countries

$19.49 trillion (2017 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$1.523 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.391 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.08 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.614 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$1.383 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.227 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.711 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.352 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$7.335 trillion (December 2016 est.)
$8.234 trillion (December 2015 est.)
$8.518 trillion (31 est.)
$25.07 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$26.33 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$24.03 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
Central bank discount rate
2.25% (5 December 2017 est.)
2.25% (31 December 2016 est.)
0.5% (31 December 2010)
0.5% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
4.35% (31 December 2017 est.)
4.35% (31 December 2016 est.)
4.1% (31 December 2017 est.)
3.51% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$27.34 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$23.02 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$21.59 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$20.24 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$8.351 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$7.001 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.512 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.251 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$8.351 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$7.001 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.512 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.251 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
21.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
17% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

note: excludes contributions for social security and other programs; if social contributions were added, taxes and other revenues would amount to approximately 22% of GDP

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-3.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-3.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 39.1% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 14.5% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 42.7% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 1.7% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 20.4% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -18.4% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 68.4% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 17.3% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 17.2% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.1% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 12.1% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -15% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
45.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
45.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
47.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
18.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
18.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
20.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

ChinaUnited States
Electricity - production
5.883 trillion kWh (2016 est.)
4.095 trillion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption
5.564 trillion kWh (2016 est.)
3.902 trillion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports
18.91 billion kWh (2016 est.)
9.695 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports
6.185 billion kWh (2016 est.)
72.72 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production
3.773 million bbl/day (2018 est.)
10.962 million bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports
6.71 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
7.969 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
Oil - exports
57,310 bbl/day (2015 est.)
1.158 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
Oil - proved reserves
25.63 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
NA bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves
5.44 trillion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
0 cu m (1 January 2017 est.)
Natural gas - production
145.9 billion cu m (2017 est.)
772.8 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
238.6 billion cu m (2017 est.)
767.6 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports
3.37 billion cu m (2017 est.)
89.7 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports
97.63 billion cu m (2017 est.)
86.15 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity
1.653 billion kW (2016 est.)
1.087 billion kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels
62% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
70% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants
18% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
7% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels
2% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
9% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources
18% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
14% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production
11.51 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
20.3 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption
12.47 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
19.96 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports
848,400 bbl/day (2015 est.)
5.218 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports
1.16 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
2.175 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy
11.67 billion Mt (2017 est.)
5.242 billion Mt (2017 est.)
Electricity access
electrification - total population: 100% (2020)
electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Telecommunications

ChinaUnited States
Telephones - main lines in use
total subscriptions: 185,097,221
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13.32 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 107,667,642
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 32.6 (2019 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular
total subscriptions: 1,672,545,161
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 120.36 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 408,509,528
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 123.69 (2019 est.)
Internet country code
.cn
.us
Internet users
total: 751,886,119
percent of population: 54.3% (July 2018 est.)
total: 285,519,020
percent of population: 87.27% (July 2018 est.)
Telecommunication systems
general assessment: the largest Internet market in the world, with the majority, 98.6% of users accessing the Internet through mobile devices; moderate growth is predicted over the next five years in the fixed broadband segment; one of the biggest drivers of commercial growth is its increasing urbanization rate as rural residents move to cities; China will be the world's largest 5G market; the Chinese mobile market to reach penetration of 134% by 2024; maintains the largest M2M market in the world (2020)
domestic: 13 per 100 fixed line and 120 per 100 mobile-cellular; a domestic satellite system with several earth stations has been in place since 2018 (2019)
international: country code - 86; landing points for the RJCN, EAC-C2C, TPE, APCN-2, APG, NCP, TEA, SeaMeWe-3, SJC2, Taiwan Strait Express-1, AAE-1, APCN-2, AAG, FEA, FLAG and TSE submarine cables providing connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the US; satellite earth stations - 7 (5 Intelsat - 4 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean; 1 Intersputnik - Indian Ocean region; and 1 Inmarsat - Pacific and Indian Ocean regions) (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
general assessment: a large, technologically advanced, multipurpose communications system; mobile subscriber penetration rate of about 129%; national LTE-M services, closes down 2G infrastructure and reassigns spectrum for 5G; FttP rather than FttN efforts (2020)
domestic: a large system of fiber-optic cable, microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and domestic satellites carries every form of telephone traffic; a rapidly growing cellular system carries mobile telephone traffic throughout the country; fixed-line 33 per 100 and mobile-cellular 124 per 100 (2019)
international: country code - 1; landing points for the Quintillion Subsea Cable Network, TERRA SW, AU-Aleutian, KKFL, AKORN, Alaska United -West, & -East & -Southeast, North Star, Lynn Canal Fiber, KetchCar 1, PC-1, SCCN, Tat TGN-Pacific & -Atlantic, Jupiter, Hawaiki, NCP, FASTER, HKA, JUS, AAG, BtoBE, Currie, Southern Cross NEXT, SxS, PLCN, Utility EAC-Pacific, SEA-US, Paniolo Cable Network, HICS, HIFN, ASH, Telstra Endeavor, Honotua, AURORA, ARCOS, AMX-1, Americas -I & -II, Columbus IIb & -III, Maya-1, MAC, GTMO-1, BICS, CFX-1, GlobeNet, Monet, SAm-1, Bahamas 2, PCCS, BRUSA, Dunant, MAREA, SAE x1, TAT 14, Apollo, Gemini Bermuda, Havfrue/AEC-2, Seabras-1, WALL-LI, NYNJ-1, FLAG Atalantic-1, Yellow, Atlantic Crossing-1, AE Connect -1, sea2shore, Challenger Bermuda-1, and GTT Atlantic submarine cable systems providing international connectivity to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific, & Atlantic, and Indian Ocean Islands, Central and South America, Caribbean, Canada and US; satellite earth stations - 61 Intelsat (45 Atlantic Ocean and 16 Pacific Ocean), 5 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region), and 4 Inmarsat (Pacific and Atlantic Ocean regions) (2020)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
Broadband - fixed subscriptions
total: 407.382 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 29 (2018 est.)
total: 110.568 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 34 (2018 est.)
Broadcast media
all broadcast media are owned by, or affiliated with, the Communist Party of China or a government agency; no privately owned TV or radio stations; state-run Chinese Central TV, provincial, and municipal stations offer more than 2,000 channels; the Central Propaganda Department sends directives to all domestic media outlets to guide its reporting with the government maintaining authority to approve all programming; foreign-made TV programs must be approved prior to broadcast; increasingly, Chinese turn to online and satellite television to access Chinese and international films and television shows (2019)
4 major terrestrial TV networks with affiliate stations throughout the country, plus cable and satellite networks, independent stations, and a limited public broadcasting sector that is largely supported by private grants; overall, thousands of TV stations broadcasting; multiple national radio networks with many affiliate stations; while most stations are commercial, National Public Radio (NPR) has a network of some 900 member stations; satellite radio available; in total, over 15,000 radio stations operating (2018)

Transportation

ChinaUnited States
Railways
total: 131,000 km 1.435-m gauge (80,000 km electrified); 102,000 traditional, 29,000 high-speed (2018)
total: 293,564 km (2014)
standard gauge: 293,564.2 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
Roadways
total: 4,960,600 km (2017)
paved: 4,338,600 km (includes 136,500 km of expressways) (2017)
unpaved: 622,000 km (2017)
total: 6,586,610 km (2012)
paved: 4,304,715 km (includes 76,334 km of expressways) (2012)
unpaved: 2,281,895 km (2012)
Waterways
110,000 km (navigable waterways) (2011)
41,009 km (19,312 km used for commerce; Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, is shared with Canada) (2012)
Pipelines
76000 km gas, 30400 km crude oil, 27700 km refined petroleum products, 797000 km water (2018)
1,984,321 km natural gas, 240,711 km petroleum products (2013)
Ports and terminals
major seaport(s): Dalian, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin
container port(s) (TEUs): Dalian (9,707,000), Guangzhou (18,858,000), Ningbo (24,607,000), Qingdao (18,262,000), Shanghai (40,233,000), Shenzhen (25,208,000), Tianjin (15,040,000) (2017)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, Shanghai, Tangshan, Zhejiang
river port(s): Guangzhou (Pearl)
oil terminal(s): LOOP terminal, Haymark terminal
container port(s) (TEUs): Charleston (2,177,000), Hampton Roads (2,841,000), Houston (2,459,000), Long Beach (7,544,000), Los Angeles (9,343,000), New York/New Jersey (6,710,000), Oakland (2,420,000), Savannah (4,046,000), Seattle/Tacoma (3,665,000) (2017)
LNG terminal(s) (export): Cameron (LA), Corpus Christi (TX), Cove Point (MD), Elba Island (GA), Freeport (TX), Sabine Pass (LA)
note - two additional export facilities are under construction and expected to begin commercial operations in 2023-2024
LNG terminal(s) (import): Cove Point (MD), Elba Island (GA), Everett (MA), Freeport (TX), Golden Pass (TX), Hackberry (LA), Lake Charles (LA), Neptune (offshore), Northeast Gateway (offshore), Pascagoula (MS), Sabine Pass (TX)
cargo ports: Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi, Hampton Roads, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Plaquemines (LA), Tampa, Texas City
cruise departure ports (passengers): Miami (2,032,000), Port Everglades (1,277,000), Port Canaveral (1,189,000), Seattle (430,000), Long Beach (415,000) (2009)
Merchant marine
total: 5,594
by type: bulk carrier 1,231, container ship 262, general cargo 846, oil tanker 777, other 2,478 (2019)
total: 3,673
by type: bulk carrier 5, container ship 60, general cargo 104, oil tanker 68, other 3,436 (2019)
Airports
total: 507 (2013)
total: 13,513 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways
total: 510 (2019)
over 3,047 m: 87
2,438 to 3,047 m: 187
1,524 to 2,437 m: 109
914 to 1,523 m: 43
under 914 m: 84
total: 5,054 (2013)
over 3,047 m: 189 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 235 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1,478 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 2,249 (2013)
under 914 m: 903 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 23 (2019)
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 0
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 13
total: 8,459 (2013)
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 140 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 1,552 (2013)
under 914 m: 6,760 (2013)
Heliports
39 (2019)
5,287 (2013)
National air transport system
number of registered air carriers: 56 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 2,890
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 436,183,969 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 611,439,830 mt-km (2018)
number of registered air carriers: 99 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 7,249
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 889.022 million (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 42,985,300,000 mt-km (2018)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix
B (2016)
N (2016)

Military

ChinaUnited States
Military branches
People's Liberation Army (PLA): Ground Forces, Navy (PLAN, includes marines and naval aviation), Air Force (PLAAF, includes airborne forces), Rocket Force (strategic missile force), and Strategic Support Force (information warfare, cyber, space forces); People's Armed Police (PAP, includes Coast Guard, Border Defense Force, Internal Security Forces); PLA Reserve Force (2020)
United States Armed Forces: US Army, US Navy (includes Marine Corps), US Air Force, US Space Force; US Coast Guard (administered in peacetime by the Department of Homeland Security, but in wartime reports to the Department of the Navy); National Guard (Army National Guard and Air National Guard); Reserves (all services) (2020)
Military service age and obligation
18-22 years of age for selective compulsory military service, with a 2-year service obligation; no minimum age for voluntary service (all officers are volunteers); 18-19 years of age for women high school graduates who meet requirements for specific military jobs (2018)
18 years of age (17 years of age with parental consent) for male and female voluntary service; no conscription; maximum enlistment age 34 (Army), 39 (Air Force), 39 (Navy), 28 (Marines), 31 (Coast Guard); 8-year service obligation, including 2-5 years active duty (Army), 2 years active (Navy), 4 years active (Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard); all military occupations and positions open to women (2019)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP
1.9% of GDP (2019)
1.9% of GDP (2018)
1.9% of GDP (2017)
1.9% of GDP (2016)
1.9% of GDP (2015)
3.42% of GDP (2019 est.)
3.3% of GDP (2018)
3.31% of GDP (2017)
3.52% of GDP (2016)
3.52% of GDP (2015)

Transnational Issues

ChinaUnited States
Disputes - international

China and India continue their security and foreign policy dialogue started in 2005 related to a number of boundary disputes across the 2,000 mile shared border; India does not recognize Pakistan's 1964 ceding to China of the Aksai Chin, a territory designated as part of the princely state of Kashmir by the British Survey of India in 1865; China claims most of the Indian state Arunachal Pradesh to the base of the Himalayas, but the US recognizes the state of Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory; Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a common boundary alignment to resolve territorial disputes arising from substantial cartographic discrepancies, the most contentious of which lie in Bhutan's west along China's Chumbi salient; Chinese maps show an international boundary symbol (the so-called “nine-dash line”) off the coasts of the littoral states of the South China Sea, where China has interrupted Vietnamese hydrocarbon exploration; China asserts sovereignty over Scarborough Reef along with the Philippines and Taiwan, and over the Spratly Islands together with Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Brunei; the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea eased tensions in the Spratlys, and in 2017 China and ASEAN began confidential negotiations for an updated Code of Conduct for the South China Sea designed not to settle territorial disputes but establish rules and norms in the region; this still is not the legally binding code of conduct sought by some parties; Vietnam and China continue to expand construction of facilities in the Spratlys and in early 2018 China began deploying advanced military systems to disputed Spratly outposts; China occupies some of the Paracel Islands also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan; certain islands in the Yalu and Tumen Rivers are in dispute with North Korea; North Korea and China seek to stem illegal migration to China by North Koreans, fleeing privation and oppression; China and Russia have demarcated the once disputed islands at the Amur and Ussuri confluence and in the Argun River in accordance with their 2004 Agreement; China and Tajikistan have begun demarcating the revised boundary agreed to in the delimitation of 2002; the decade-long demarcation of the China-Vietnam land boundary was completed in 2009; citing environmental, cultural, and social concerns, China has reconsidered construction of 13 dams on the Salween River, but energy-starved Burma, with backing from Thailand, continues to consider building five hydro-electric dams downstream despite regional and international protests

the US has intensified domestic security measures and is collaborating closely with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico, to monitor and control legal and illegal personnel, transport, and commodities across the international borders; abundant rainfall in recent years along much of the Mexico-US border region has ameliorated periodically strained water-sharing arrangements; 1990 Maritime Boundary Agreement in the Bering Sea still awaits Russian Duma ratification; Canada and the United States dispute how to divide the Beaufort Sea and the status of the Northwest Passage but continue to work cooperatively to survey the Arctic continental shelf; The Bahamas and US have not been able to agree on a maritime boundary; US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is leased from Cuba and only mutual agreement or US abandonment of the area can terminate the lease; Haiti claims US-administered Navassa Island; US has made no territorial claim in Antarctica (but has reserved the right to do so) and does not recognize the claims of any other states; Marshall Islands claims Wake Island; Tokelau included American Samoa's Swains Island among the islands listed in its 2006 draft constitution

Illicit drugs
major transshipment point for heroin produced in the Golden Triangle region of Southeast Asia; growing domestic consumption of synthetic drugs, and heroin from Southeast and Southwest Asia; source country for methamphetamine and heroin chemical precursors, despite new regulations on its large chemical industry; more people believed to be convicted and executed for drug offences than anywhere else in the world, according to NGOs
world's largest consumer of cocaine (shipped from Colombia through Mexico and the Caribbean), Colombian heroin, and Mexican heroin and marijuana; major consumer of ecstasy and Mexican methamphetamine; minor consumer of high-quality Southeast Asian heroin; illicit producer of cannabis, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine; money-laundering center
Refugees and internally displaced persons
refugees (country of origin): 303,095 (Vietnam), undetermined (North Korea) (2019)
IDPs: undetermined (2014)
refugees (country of origin): the US admitted 11,814 refugees during FY2020 including: 2,868 (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 2,115 (Burma), 1,927 (Ukraine), 604 (Afghanistan), 537 (Iraq)

note: 72,722 Venezuelans have claimed asylum since 2014 because of the economic and political crisis (2018)

Source: CIA Factbook