10 Charts That Compare the Relative Strength of the U.S. and Russia

Just how strong is Russia? That is a question that many Americans may be asking themselves in the aftermath of the alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election. Sure enough, the Russian campaign of disinformation had sown doubts in many a mind about the integrity of our democratic process, but Russia’s actions can also be seen as a sign of weakness. That’s because, on most measures, Russia cannot go toe to toe with the United States.

When it comes to the size of its economy, income per person, population, fertility rate, life expectancy, competitiveness, innovation, food production and manufacturing, America’s traditional foe lags behind—often well behind. Put differently, Russia has to rely on “asymmetrical” measures, such as weakening America’s domestic cohesion, to cause us pain.

Yet, I would not go as far as to agree with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who once dismissed Russia as “a gas station masquerading as a country.” Russia is home to the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, which alone guarantees it world-power status. As such, the U.S. government must do more to counter Russia’s destabilizing efforts by investing in cyber security and making use of some of the best brains in our technological arsenal.

Regrettably, in that most important of government functions—provision of security—our government had failed us. It allowed a much weaker country to undermine our confidence in our institutions; it convinced tens of millions of U.S. citizens that our government is illegitimate; and it made itself (Russia) seem much more powerful than it really is. Russian tactics may be deplorable, but the incompetence of our government is lamentable.

1. Total GDP, 2014 U.S. dollars, PPP, millions.

2. GDP, per person, 2015 U.S. dollars, PPP

3. Total population, thousands

4. Total fertility rate, births per woman

5. Life expectancy at birth, years

6. Global Competitiveness Index, overall score, scale 1-7

7. Capacity for innovation, scale 1-7

8. Cereal yields, hectograms, per hectare

9. Manufacturing value added, current U.S. dollars

10. Nuclear weapons stockpiles, United States and USSR/Russia, number of warheads


From - Reason.com - by Marian Tupy

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC News App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Sign Up Today
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

Putin is a Christian. Most of the U.S. politicians aren’t. He and many in his parliament have reinstated the Russian Orthodox church. They have used state funds to convert many of the churches the communists had converted to stores, museums, etc. back to churches. The Russians have outlawed advertising abortion and the Christian element is trying to outlaw abortion. Our politicians kill babies by the millions. In the end, God will hold the cards and I wonder who he will bless.

Tom Wilde
4 years ago

Charts are informative but don’t always tell the whole story. Study the “charts” of history. Charles II of Sweden, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Adolph Hitler all underestimated Russia and paid a huge price for it.

Russia is still a formidable potential adversary. It is unwise to underestimate the Russians.

Let me repeat, do not surrender to them in despair but NEVER, NEVER, NEVER underestimate them.

Wayne Peterkin
4 years ago

Nice comparison, but as stated in the article, due to the nuclear arsenal they are still a very dangerous adversary and headed by a two-bit KGB head, a dictator in practice, that very much wants to resurrect the old Soviet Union even if by a different name.

Lee McQuillen
4 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Peterkin

So simply put, Wayne, that everyone should understand what you said. And, you’re right on the money as well!

William Hembree
4 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Peterkin

Putin does not want the old USSR, he wants a renewal of the even older Russian Empire.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x