The cottage industry of predicting America's downfall as the far larger China catches up with us in GDP is in full swing (and here is a Congressional Research Service report that goes to 2025). China is surely gaining on us, but I don't see it continuing forever. Right now, China has 1.339 billion people. America has 0.311 billion. Per capita GDP of America is about $47,000 and China's is $4,300. Even in gross GDP we are bigger than China. And our superiority is clear on a per-capita basis.
But China is gaining on us and in time within the next decade, perhaps within 5 years, China will probably surpass us in gross GDP in terms of purchasing power parity. But not in absolute GDP terms. That will take longer to achieve, and even if it does, our per-capita advantage, showing quality superiority, will remain, but in sheer quantity of stuff and services, we'll drop. But can China hold that advantage whenever we see it?
Let's imagine China and America in the year 2100, 89 years from now.
China's population is estimated to peak in about 2030 at 1.393 billion. By 2100, China will decline to 0.941 billion people. America, at a Census Bureau middle projection will tip the scales at 0.571 billion. At the high end projection, we'll have 1.182 billion people. Note that the projection made 11 years ago for today's population was 302,300,000 and the high end was given as 314,846,00. We are actually at 311,308,000, so we are closer to the high end prediction than the middle projection.
With all the caveats about projecting that far into the future, we could have from 60% of China's population to more people than China! Will China have twice the GDP per-capita as America then? With a population older than our population? Because if not, China's lead in gross GDP will not last and we will regain that title well before 2100 rolls around (unless India is the one to surpass us in gross GDP).
So China will have a temporary advantage. Hope they don't try to exploit it as they see their image as the new middle kingdom fade away.