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 sign outside a storefront in Buffalo, New York.
    Environment

    Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven?

    The Western New York city possesses a distinct mix of weather, geography, and infrastructure that could make it a potential climate haven. But for whom?

  2. photo: A vacant home in Oakland that is about to demolished for an apartment complex.
    Equity

    Fix California’s Housing Crisis, Activists Say. But Which One?

    As a controversy over vacancy in the Bay Area and Los Angeles reveals, advocates disagree about what kind of housing should be built, and where.

  3. A syringe sits on top of a car. Houses are behind it.
    Life

    The Changing Geography of the Opioid Crisis

    A new study shows that the country faces different opioid challenges in urban and rural areas.

  4. photo: a high-speed train in Switzerland
    Transportation

    The Case for Portland-to-Vancouver High-Speed Rail

    At the Cascadia Rail Summit outside Seattle, a fledgling scheme to bring high-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver found an enthusiastic reception.

  5. Environment

    The City Known for ‘Sewer Socialists’ Actually Has Great Sewers

    Milwaukee now averages a mere 2.4 combined sewer overflows a year, thanks to a massive underground tunnel, green infrastructure, and flood-control measures.

×