Carpe Diem

America’s ridiculously large $15 trillion economy

Rank U.S. metropolitan AREA 2011 GDP (millions) Comparable Country 2011 GDP (millions)
1 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island $1,277,228 Mexico $1,155,208
2 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana $747,306 Turkey $774,983
3 Chicago $547,609 Sweden $539,387
4 Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria $433,097 Austria $418,031
5 Houston $419,696 South Africa $408,237
6 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington $391,350 Thailand $369,709
7 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington $353,323 UAE $338,690
8 San Francisco-Oakland $347,107 Colombia $333,185
9 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy $325,585 Denmark $332,019
10 Atlanta $283,344 Malaysia $287,934
11 Miami-Fort Lauderdale $263,376 Finland $263,247
12 Seattle-Tacoma $239,710 Portugal $237,586
13 Minneapolis-St. Paul $207,819 Pakistan $208,860
14 Detroit $199,378 Algeria $198,735
15 Phoenix $194,793 Romania $189,776

On Friday, the BEA released data on GDP by Metropolitan Area for 2011, and America’s top 15 largest metro areas by GDP in 2011 are ranked in the table above. Together, those 15 metro areas produced $6.23 trillion of economic output in 2011, which represents more than 41% of America’s $15 trillion of total GDP in that year.  If those 15 American cities were considered as a separate economy, they would have ranked as the world’s third largest economy in 2011, ahead of No. 4 Japan at $5.87 trillion, and behind No. 2 China at $7.2 trillion.

The table above also shows entire national economies that had approximately the same amount of economic output in 2011 as America’s 15 largest metro areas, and helps put the enormity of the $15 trillion US economy into perspective.  Pretty amazing, and a testament to the size of the US economy and the productivity of American workers, that America’s largest metro areas produce economic output equivalent to entire countries like Mexico, Turkey and Sweden, etc.

As the WSJ wrote last summer “Inside the $15 trillion machine that is the U.S. economy are dozens of metropolitan economies, from New York to Honolulu, that are the real pistons and gears of U.S. growth and prosperity.” In fact, more than 89% of America’s economic output in 2011 ($13.445 trillion) was produced in the 366 US metro areas identified by the BEA.

12 thoughts on “America’s ridiculously large $15 trillion economy

  1. And Silicon Valley would be 16th. And California as a state, with all of its problems, still drives the national economy — in manufacturing, energy, ag, research, exports, bio-chem-pharm technology, construction, real estate, etc., etc. And last week, Gov. Perry was out here trying to steal a few industries — we’ll see how he does.

  2. Fifteen trillion of what you can count,add in the underground economy in the US,and its likely much higher than fifteen trillion dollars.

  3. the derivatives market is around 50 times larger than US GDP

    according to BIS, the notional amount outstanding of OTC derivatives amounted to $639 trillion at end-June 2012;
    they were nearly twice that, 1.144 quadrillion dollars, or about $190K per person on the planet, when we were all waiting for them to blow up on us in early 2009…

    • BCanuck: “I can’t believe much smaller and dying Detroit has a larger economy than Phoenix”

      Well, let’s look at the data available at the Bureau of Economic Analysis website:

      Real GDP by Metropolitan Area (millions of chained 2005 dollars)

      Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI (MSA)
      2001 – $196,705
      2011 – $175,774

      Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ (MSA)
      2001 – $138,274
      2011 – $173,026

      Which one would you place your money on for 2021?

      • “Metropolitan Area”, that’s the key phrase. Detroit is Zimbabwe.

        Remind me again, which political party has run Detroit for the almost the last half-century?

    • You must be focusing on the bad parts of downtown. Drive outside the city limits and it is radically different. Oakland county for instance is and has been killing it. I never understood why people give Detroit so much crap. I’ve never been to a city that didn’t have its nasty areas. Yeah there was a rogue mayor for a while however I don’t see anything better from Bloomberg in NY. (drinking a 24oz. pop as I type this muahahahahahaha)

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