Shutterstock

And other eye-popping comparisons.

You have to hand it to the U.S. Conference of Mayors for this slick comparison: Metropolitan New York City actually has a larger economy than the entire state of New York. (How's that possible, you wonder? The economic juggernaut that is metro New York defies state boundaries, encompassing Northern New Jersey, Long Island and parts of Pennsylvania, while abandoning much of upstate New York.)

Same with Metropolitan Washington, D.C., whose economy alone – measured in gross annual product – is larger than both the states of Maryland and Virginia that contain parts of it.

In fact, if metros were states, five of the 15 largest economies in the U.S. right now would belong to metropolitan regions. Add up the 10 highest-producing metros in the country, and together they have more economic might than the 36 least-producing states in America.

Why stop there? On the global map, Metro New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago would all be among the top 25 economies in the world (this exercise conveniently only compares U.S. cities to countries, not international cities). That's better than Sweden, Norway, Poland, Belgium, and Argentina.

These comparisons all come from the most recent report on metro economies from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which clearly understands the power of analogy to portray cities as economic engines on a global scale.

This latest report ranks metropolitan areas against each other, too. But this is a little more fun. Below, we've plotted the report's data for the largest states and countries (you can view the full lists for all 363 U.S. metros here; to skip to the bottom, Palm Coast, Florida, compares quite favorably to East Timor). All numbers are in billions of U.S. dollars of gross annual product, from 2012.

Top images from Shutterstock.com: Gerry Boughan (Los Angeles); Rudy Balasko (Chicago); Joshua Haviv (New York).

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of yellow vest protesters in Paris, France.
    Equity

    To Understand American Political Anger, Look to ‘Peripheral France’

    French geographer Christophe Guilluy has a controversial diagnosis of working-class resentment in the age of Trump, Brexit, and the Yellow Vests.

  2. A photo of a street barrier in New Delhi
    Equity

    What’s Behind New Delhi’s Gated Communities?

    India’s capital city is full of private residential “colonies” protected by locked gates. But many claim the barriers don't stop crime and cause traffic chaos.

  3. a screenshot of a video about Baltimore's Metro
    Transportation

    It’s Time to Celebrate Baltimore’s Much-Maligned Metro

    In 1987, the Maryland Transit Administration busted out a brass band to open a subway that never had a chance.

  4. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.

  5. Equity

    Is It Better to Be Poor in Bangladesh or in the Mississippi Delta?

    The Nobel laureate Angus Deaton discusses extreme poverty, opioid addiction, Trump voters, robots, and rent-seeking.

×