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. photo: a wallet full of Yen bills.
    Life

    Japan’s Lost-and-Found System Is Insanely Good

    If you misplace your phone or wallet in Tokyo, chances are very good that you’ll get it back. Here’s why.

  2. photo: bicyclists in Paris during a transit strike in December.
    Transportation

    What It Would Take to Make Paris a ‘15-Minute City’

    In her re-election campaign, Mayor Anne Hidalgo says that every Paris resident should be able to meet their essential needs within a short walk or bike ride.

  3. Equity

    The Presidential Candidates that Mayors Support

    Big-city mayors favor Mike Bloomberg after his late entry into the race, while leaders in smaller cities have lined up behind Pete Buttigieg.

  4. photo: Masdar City in Abu Dhabi
    Environment

    What Abu Dhabi’s City of the Future Looks Like Now

    At the UN’s World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, attendees toured Masdar City, the master-planned eco-complex designed to show off the UAE’s commitment to sustainability.

  5. Equity

    What Mike Bloomberg Got Wrong About Redlining and the Financial Crisis

    Comments about New Deal-era housing discrimination made by presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg echo a familiar narrative about minority homeowners.

×