Richard Florida is a co-founder and editor at large of CityLab and a senior editor at The Atlantic. He is a university professor in the University of Toronto’s School of Cities and Rotman School of Management, and a distinguished fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate.
How U.S. cities stack up economically worldwide.
More and more, the U.S. economy is defined by its metropolitan areas, which produce 90 percent of its output. On an individual level, some of these metros are themselves quite large. The map below lays this out geographically, including a sampling of how ten cities stack up economically against major nations of the world.
The map, by my colleague Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute, compares the 2014 projections of gross product for U.S. metropolitan statistical areas to national GDP levels for 2012, the most recent year available worldwide.
- The greater New York metro, far and away America's largest and richest, is projected to produce $1.4 trillion dollars in GMP in 2014. This makes it about the same size as Australia, equivalent the world's 12th largest economy.
- L.A., projected to account for almost $830 billion in GMP, has a larger economy than that of the Netherlands, and would therefore number among the world's top 20 economies.
- Chicago, with more than $610 billion in GMP, is about the same size as Switzerland and significantly bigger than Sweden.
- Houston, approaching $490 billion in economic output, is comparable to Poland or Taiwan.
- Greater Washington, D.C., with nearly $480 billion in GMP, and Dallas, with $460 billion, are larger than Austria and about on par with Argentina.
- Philadelphia and San Francisco, with about $400 billion in GMP each, are comparable to Thailand.
- Greater Boston, with $360 billion, is larger in economic size than Denmark, and produces slightly less than Colombia.
- Atlanta, with $320 billion in economic output, and Miami, with almost $300 billion, are comparable to Singapore and Malaysia.
- Seattle, with $280 billion in GMP, is comparable to Hong Kong or Chile.
- Detroit, with $220 billion in output, is projected to produce more than Ireland.
Each of these metros would rank among the 50 largest economies in the world.
And even far smaller metros can outpace some substantial national economies. With $180 billion in GMP, Denver's economy is comparable to that of the entire country of New Zealand. Even Anchorage, Alaska, projected to produce nearly $30 billion in GMP, is about the same size as Latvia.