20 Most Powerful Countries Ruling the World in 2050

These are the potential superpower economies of the future.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Most Powerful Countries that Will Rule the World in 2050

By 2050, the world economy is expected to double, growing at a substantially faster rate than the global population. This growth will be a result of technological advancements aimed at increasing productivity.

Moving beyond global statistics, it’s equally important to consider shifts in both regional and local economies to gain a full picture of future economic trends.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the world’s 20 largest economies in 2050, based on data provided by Fitch Solutions. Read on to find out which countries made the list, and what that means for the future of the global economy.

The world’s top 20 largest economies in 2050

The following list covers the world’s largest economies from 2023 to 2050, from smallest to largest. Note that for certain countries, values are listed as “N/A”. This is because they don’t appear on the list in one or more of the dates before 2050.

20. Spain

Spain powerful country 2050

2023 GDP: $1.5 trillion

2035 GDP: $1.9 trillion

2050 GDP: $2.2 trillion

Spain’s economy commands 1.36% of the global GDP. Valued at $1.5 trillion, Spain’s economy is the 4th largest in the EU and the 15th largest in the world. From 2035 to 2050, Spain will see a drop from the 16th to the 20th position in the list of the world’s largest economies.

The biggest concern for Spain moving forward will be the effects of climate change. Citing the need for coping measures to help mitigate the effects of environmental emergencies, Spain announced in May 2021 that the country plans to be carbon neutral by 2050.

19. Russia

Powerful Russian city and economy

2023 GDP: $2 trillion

2035 GDP: $2.2 trillion

2050 GDP: $2.3 trillion

The full effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during the rule of Vladimir Putin have yet to be seen. Despite sanctions, Russia’s economy has fared better than expected in 2023. In 2023, it ranks as the 11th largest economy in the world at $2 trillion. It’s estimated the country will drop 8 places by 2050, making it the 19th largest economy, with a GDP of $2.3 trillion.

Moving forward, the Russian economy may suffer from the brain drain that has occurred as a result of the war in Ukraine. An estimated 500,000 to 1 million people have left the country since the war began, on par with the levels of emigration that occurred after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

18. Philippines

Philippines powerful country 2050

2023 GDP: N/A

2035 GDP: N/A

2050 GDP: $2.3 trillion

The economy of the Philippines has been described by the World Bank as “one of the most dynamic economies in the East Asia and Pacific region”. This is due to its dynamic labor market, consumer demand and a steady private sector. The nation’s government has established plans to invest in human and physical capital to encourage long-term economic growth.

Though the Philippines doesn’t currently factor on the list of the world’s 20 largest economies, this is poised to change in 2050, when it’s estimated to take the 18th position on the list.

17. Vietnam

Vietnam powerful country 2050

2023 GDP: N/A

2035 GDP: N/A

2050 GDP: $2.4 trillion

Vietnam’s per capita GDP is expected to jump from 5.7% of the US level in 2023 to 19.6% in 2050, placing it on track to achieve high-income status. By 2050, Vietnam is estimated to make the top 20 list for the first time, at number 17.

Among the concerns facing the country are the continued effects of climate change. The nation’s 3,260km-long coastline and expansive low-lying regions make its residents some of the most vulnerable in the world to climate change. This may complicate further economic growth, which until now has been reliant on an increase in the use of fossil fuels.

16. Poland

Poland powerful country 2050

2023 GDP: N/A

2035 GDP: $1.3 trillion

2050 GDP: $2.4 trillion

One of four European countries classified as an emerging market, Poland has one of the most resilient economies in the EU. Its access to European labor markets, a steady financial sector and successful use of EU funding have contributed to this reputation. The long-term effects of these factors will result in Poland’s position as the world’s 16th largest economy in 2050.

Though Poland had the highest unemployment rate in the EU when it joined in 2004, its unemployment rate has remained below the average EU rate since 2012. For Poland to maintain its economic growth trend, it will need to curb a lack of labor supply, complicated by an aging population.

15. Bangladesh

Bangladesh powerful country

2023 GDP: N/A

2035 GDP: N/A

2050 GDP: $2.5 trillion

In terms of GDP growth rate in South Asia, Bangladesh commands the third position behind the Maldives and India at 5.3%. In terms of per capita GDP, Bangladesh comes in second behind India, at 4.1% in 2023. Simply put, the country has one of the highest performing economies in South Asia.

The government of Bangladesh has made it a goal to achieve upper middle-income status by 2031. But while Bangladesh is poised to enter the list of the world’s 20 largest economies for the first time in 2050, it will need to take measures to create jobs, build a skilled labor force and infrastructure, and attract private investment.

14. Brazil

Brazil Superpower Country

2023 GDP: $2.1 trillion

2035 GDP: $2.6 trillion

2050 GDP: $3.1 trillion

Rich in minerals, Brazil is home to the largest economy in Latin America. One persistent challenge Brazil has faced is inflation, which peaked at 12.1% in April 2022. This resulted in the decision to bring the nation’s policy interest rate to 13.75%. By comparison, the US Federal Reserve has left the country’s policy inflation rate at 5–5.25%.

Brazil’s share of global GDP is expected to drop from 1.9% in 2023 to 1.5% in 2050. Though the country will add an estimated $1 trillion to its GDP between 2023 and 2050, it will lose its position in the top 10 list, falling to number 14.

13. Italy

Italy powerful country

2023 GDP: $2.3 trillion

2035 GDP: $2.7 trillion

2050 GDP: $3.1 trillion

By 2050, Italy is projected to drop from the 10 largest economies in the world down to the 13th position. Recent economic trends in Italy point to confidence among employers and positive signs of jobs growth. This is based on data that show permanent job contracts rose more substantially than fixed-term contracts between 2022 and 2023.

Similar to Spain, one of the primary concerns Italy will have moving forward is the effects of climate change on the country’s economy. It’s projected that, without critical action, Italy stands to lose 3.7% of its GDP by 2050, the effects of which will be seen across sectors, from agriculture and fisheries to tourism and infrastructure.

12. South Korea

South Korea powerful country 2050

2023 GDP: $1.8 trillion

2035 GDP: $2.4 trillion

2050 GDP: $3.2 trillion

For decades, South Korea has seen significant economic growth. This has come as a result of its focus on high-value sectors, such as electronics, automobile production, shipbuilding and steel. In absolute terms, its economy is expected to grow from $1.8 trillion to $3.2 trillion by 2050, though it will move up only one spot on the world’s top 20 list.

South Korea’s aging population poses a concern. By 2050, the country will have the oldest population among the 38 OECD member countries. This is expected to place significant strains on productivity and the working age population of the country.

11. Mexico

Mexico Rule World

2023 GDP: $1.7 trillion

2035 GDP: $2.3 trillion

2050 GDP: $3.2 trillion

The second largest economy in Latin America, Mexico has an abundance of natural resources and an economy that has started to rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the 1990s, the country has shown signs of potential to be a high-growth economy. This is dependent on the country’s manufacturing sector, but its services sector has also provided room for economic growth.

Moving forward, Mexico is expected to reach the 11th spot on the world’s top 20 list by 2050. Lack of formality in economic activities, limited competition, corruption and low female participation in the market will need to be addressed for further growth to happen.

10. Australia

Australia powerful country 2050

2023 GDP: $1.8 trillion

2035 GDP: $2.5 trillion

2050 GDP: $3.4 trillion

Though Australia accounts for just 0.3% of the world’s population, it commands 1.7% of the global economy, making it the 12th largest economy in the world in 2023. Australia is also a high-income country, with an estimated 5.9 million households with disposable incomes above $75,000 per year.

In 2050, Australia is estimated to reach the number 10 spot on the list, continuing its legacy as one the of the world’s strongest economies. For this to happen, the nation’s government will have to curb the effects of inflation through sound fiscal policy.

9. Canada

Canada powerful country 2050

2023 GDP: $2.1 trillion

2035 GDP: $2.7 trillion

2050 GDP: $3.5 trillion

The world’s ninth largest economy, Canada benefits from a stable economic and legal system, a market-oriented economy, and a focus on high-value sectors. Roughly 75% of Canada’s exports go to the US, making the US–Mexico-Canada Agreement of 2020 a crucial part of the nation’s economy. It’s projected that Canada will maintain its current position as the world’s 9th largest economy until 2050.

Due to its reliance on the US for income generated from exports, Canada risks being affected by a slowing US economy. Additionally, the country could benefit from infrastructure projects aimed at lowering the cost of living to encourage labor mobility.

8. Indonesia

super power Indonesia, Jakarta

2023 GDP: $1.3 trillion

2035 GDP: $2.3 trillion

2050 GDP: $4.3 trillion

Indonesia is the world’s 16th largest economy at $1.3 trillion in GDP. By 2050, its economy is expected to grow to a value of $4.3 trillion, making it the 8th largest economy in the world. The country’s successful attempts at structural reforms have been a large part of its recent economic success.

To continue its trajectory toward economic growth, Indonesia will need to make strides in multiple areas. These include reducing its greenhouse emissions, taking measures to increase competition, and encouraging greater participation in the economy among women, foreign laborers and marginalized groups.

7. France

France powerful country 2050

2023 GDP: $3.1 trillion

2035 GDP: $3.7 trillion

2050 GDP: $4.3 trillion

France is projected to maintain its position as the world’s 7th largest economy until 2050. The country’s primary sources of income include manufacturing, tourism and pharmaceuticals, which have solidified a $3.1 trillion GDP. The nation’s government remains deeply involved in defense, power and public transport, but it has adopted measures to either fully or partially privatize whole industries.

One priority for France moving forward will be to enhance the skills of its labor force to focus more closely on high-skilled labor. Problematically, a substantial proportion of the labor force lacks skills, limiting their employability.

6. United Kingdom

Powerful United Kingdom landscape

2023 GDP: $3.2 trillion

2035 GDP: $3.8 trillion

2050 GDP: $4.8 trillion

Once the center of the largest empire the world has ever seen, the UK may have shrunk significantly in size over the past century, but its economy has remained one of the largest and strongest in the world. This trend is set to continue well into the 21st century, with the UK projected to maintain its position as the world’s 6th largest economy until 2050.

A few areas of concern are government spending, which has damaged the UK’s competitiveness and raised public debt to nearly 100% of GDP, the persistence of budget deficits and an uncertain relationship with the EU.

5. Japan

Powerful picture of Japan

2023 GDP: $4.4 trillion

2035 GDP: $4.8 trillion

2050 GDP: $5.1 trillion

Japan has long been one of the world’s strongest economies, owing largely to its automobile industry, manufacturing and a highly educated workforce. In the 1990s, Japan accounted for 20% of global GDP, marking its place as the world’s 2nd largest economy behind the US. It would enjoy this position until 2010, when it was overtaken by China.

Japan’s share of global GDP will fall to 2.3% in 2050, marking one of the sharpest declines in global GDP faced by any country over the next 27 years. This is due to slow productivity growth and a decline in the country’s workforce.

4. Germany

Germany Superpower Country

2023 GDP: $4.3 trillion

2035 GDP: $5 trillion

2050 GDP: $6.6 trillion

Between 2023 and 2050, Germany’s GDP is expected to grow from $4.3 trillion to $6.6 trillion. In addition to the nation’s projected rapid productivity growth, Germany will also be one of the highest performing countries in terms of GDP per capita when compared to the US.

Germany’s position in the world’s top 20 largest economies is expected to remain the same at number 4 from 2023 to 2050. While this means Germany will not achieve the extreme levels of growth that India and China will, it nevertheless showcases Germany’s economy as one of steady growth and consistency.

3. India

Skyline of Bombay, India

2023 GDP: $3.5 trillion

2035 GDP: $7.2 trillion

2050 GDP: $16.3 trillion

The second largest emerging market giant behind China, India will be the biggest success story. As of April 2023, India overtook China as the most populous country in the world. By 2027, it will overtake Japan as the world’s third largest economy.

India’s projected status is due to a steady population increase. By comparison, a 1.1% annual reduction of China’s labor force and its aging population, with around 30% of individuals aged 60 and over by 2035, will result in economic stagnation by 2050.

2. United States

USA Powerful Economy Wall Street

2023 GDP: $26.8 trillion

2035 GDP: $33.1 trillion

2050 GDP: $42.9 trillion

The US economy has been the world’s largest since the end of the 19th century, and has on average contributed 30% to global GDP since the 1960s. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that the US economy is expected to grow to a GDP value of 42.9 trillion dollars by 2050.

What might be surprising is that estimates show it will become the world’s second largest economy in 2037. This is due to the meteoric rise of China’s economic power, one of the most significant developments of the past few decades.

1. China

China Most Powerful Country

2023 GDP: $18.2 trillion

2035 GDP: $32.5 trillion

2050 GDP: $52.5 trillion

Home to the world’s largest military, China is expected to overtake the United States’ GDP in 2037. By 2050, it will have the world’s largest economy by a margin of nearly $10 trillion. The nation’s global economic output is expected to rise from 17.3% in 2023 to 24.3% in 2050, marking a 7.0 percentage point increase.

Much of this growth can be attributed to a projected sharp rise in the share of global economic output of emerging marketings from 2023 to 2050. Nevertheless, the largest proportion of economic growth among emerging markets (over 50%) will be attributed to China.

The biggest jumps and falls

Of all the countries on the top 20 list, Russia’s GDP is expected to increase the least between 2023 and 2050, by a factor of 15%. This will result in a drop from the 11th position in 2023 to the 19th in 2050. By comparison, Indonesia is expected to jump 8 places within the same period due to a 330% growth of its economy, making it one of the top countries in terms of relative economic growth.

By far, the biggest global success story in terms of GDP growth is India. In relative terms, India is forecasted to grow the most between the years 2023 and 2050, with a 465.7% increase in GDP, from $3.5 trillion to $16.3 trillion.

What the future looks like

While specific countries are estimated to continue performing at the same level or greater, the same isn’t necessarily true at a regional level. As an example, Germany’s GDP shows signs of consistency and growth, but the same can’t be said for the entire EU.

The most notable economic trend moving forward is a transfer of global GDP to the Far East and South Asia, with China and India forecasted to command the largest share of wealth in the two regions. This follows the broader trend of growth in emerging markets (E7), which are expected to grow twice as fast as developed economies (D7).

Much of this growth potential depends on the ability of emerging markets to utilize renewable resources, enhance infrastructure and, in some cases, address the issue of an aging population and reduction in available workforce.

This steady reduction in working age adults will play a significant role in China’s ability to reach full potential at a time when the nation is attempting to transition to a science, technology and innovation-based economy. In all likelihood, this means enacting policies that encourage the importation of highly skilled migrant workers to boost economic development. Doing so may also cause global shifts in the concentration and mobility of the skilled workforce.

The Far East and South Asia will see some of the biggest gains over the next 27 years, while the EU27 will see some of the biggest losses in global GDP share. By 2050, the EU’s share of global GDP is set to drop to 9%, a number less than half that of China’s estimated share in the same year. This is a 5.6% drop from its 2023 global GDP share amount of 14.56%.

With the exception of France and Germany, every other European country (excluding the UK) will drop in ranking. Note that, in 2050, France’s GDP is predicted to be roughly the same size as Indonesia’s. Italy and Spain will both drop in global ranking between 2035 and2050, from 8th to 13th, and from 15th to 20th, respectively. This marks a reduction in the number of EU27 countries in the top 10 list from 3 down to 2.

Here's a rundown of the 10 most powerful countries that will dominate the world in 2050:

Powerful countries 2050 infographic

Key takeaways

Some facts and figures at a glance:

  • The world’s two most powerful countries, the US and China, will vie for the number 1 spot within 14 years.
  • China is estimated to overtake the US in 2037 as the largest economy in the world.
  • By 2050, China is expected to dominate the global GDP by nearly a $10 trillion margin.
  • The fastest-growing economies are countries within South Asia.
  • Emerging markets are forecasted to perform twice as well as developed markets.

What are your thoughts on the above economic trends? Let us know in the comments section below.
Originally published on March 24, 2017.