The Competition That Really Matters: Comparing U.S., Chinese, and Indian Investments in the Next-Generation Workforce

by Donna Cooper & Adam Hersh, Center for American Progress & Ann O'Leary, Next Generation | Strong Families & Early Learning

The United States won more medals than any other country in the 2012 Olympics. But where do we stand in the competition that really matters—the competition to prepare the next generation to succeed?

American children coming of age today will work in a global, technologically advanced economy, competing with peers in India, China and other countries. Over the past few decades, China and India have been making historic investments in children as the next generation workforce.  These investments are producing greater numbers of young people moving through public schools, attending college, attaining degrees and becoming highly qualified candidates for jobs in the key industries of innovation. In fact, by 2030, China will have 200 million college graduates—more than the entire U.S. workforce—and by 2020 India will be graduating four times as many college graduates as the United States.

These findings are the focus of a joint report by the Center for the Next Generation and the Center for American Progress, The Competition that Really Matters: Comparing U.S., Chinese, and Indian Investments in the Next Generation Workforce.  The report details the progress China and India are making in expanding their labor forces to play a bigger role in the global economy and the urgent implications of these policies for U.S. competitiveness.