Carpe Diem

America’s ridiculously large $16 trillion economy


Update: The map above and the table below have been slightly revised so that both the GDP of US states and the GDP of foreign countries are in descending order in the table below.

The map above is an updated version of a similar map from 2007 here.

The map was created by matching economic output in US states in 2012 to foreign countries with comparable GDPs, using BEA data for GDP by state here and GDP by country from the United Nations, via Wikipedia here. For each US state (and the District of Columbia), I tried to find the country closest in economic size in 2012 (measured by GDP), and for each state there was a country with a pretty close match – those countries are displayed in the map above and in the table below. Obviously, in some cases the closest match was a country that produced slightly more, or slightly less economic output in 2012 than a given US state.

It’s pretty amazing how ridiculously large the US economy is, and the map above helps put America’s GDP of $16.2 trillion in 2012 (and more than $17 trillion in Q4 2013) into perspective by comparing the GDP of US states to other country’s entire national GDP. For example:

1. America’s largest state economy is California, which produced $2.003 trillion of economic output in 2012, just slightly below Italy’s GDP in the same year of $2.013 trillion. In 2012, California would have been tied with Italy as the 9th largest economy in the world. And California’s population is only 38 million compared to Italy’s population of 61 million, which means California produces the same economic output as Italy with 37% fewer people. That’s a testament to the superior, world-class productivity of the American worker.

2. America’s second largest state economy – Texas – produced $1.4 trillion of economic output in 2012, placing it just slightly behind the world’s 13th largest country by GDP – Australia – with $1.56 trillion of economic output.

3. Even with all of its oil wealth, Saudi Arabia’s GDP in 2012 at $711 billion was less than GDP in Florida ($777 billion) and just slightly more than the GDP in Illinois ($695 billion).

4. New York’s GDP in 2012 of $1.205 trillion was slightly more than Mexico’s GDP of $1.18 trillion, even though Mexico’s population of 120.8 million people is 6.2 times larger than the number of people living in New York (19.6 million). Another example of the world-class productivity of the American workforce.

5. Washington state produces almost as much economic output ($375.7 billion) as Venezuela ($382 billion), even though Venezuela’s population (30 million) is more than four times larger than Washington’s (6.9 million).

6. Likewise, capitalist West Virginia produces about the same GDP as communist Cuba, even though Cuba’s population is more than six times larger than West Virginia’s.

MP: Overall, the US produced 22.3% of world GDP in 2012, with only 4.4% of the world’s population. Three of America’s states (California, Texas and New York) – as separate countries – would rank in the world’s top 15 largest economies. And one of those states – California – produced more than $2 trillion in economic output in 2012 – and the other two (Texas and New York) produced more than $1 trillion of GDP in 2012. The map and these statistics help remind us of the enormity of the economic powerhouse we live in. So let’s not lose sight of how ridiculously large and powerful the US economy is, and how much wealth and prosperity is being created all the time in the world’s largest economic engine.

HT: Dwight Oglesby

State GDP (millions), 2012 Country GDP (Millions), 2012
California $2,003,479 Italy $2,013,392
Texas $1,397,369 Australia $1,564,419
New York $1,205,930 Mexico $1,183,655
Florida $777,164 Netherlands $770,067
Illinois $695,238 Saudi Arabia $711,050
Pennsylvania $600,897 Switzerland $631,183
Ohio $509,393 Sweden $523,804
New Jersey $508,003 Norway $499,667
North Carolina $455,973 Belgium $483,402
Virginia $445,876 Argentina $477,028
Georgia $433,569 Austria $394,458
Massachusetts $403,823 Thailand $385,694
Michigan $400,504 South Africa $383,313
Washington $375,730 Venezuela $382,424
Maryland $317,678 Colombia $369,813
Indiana $298,625 Denmark $314,889
Minnesota $294,729 Malaysia $304,726
Tennessee $277,036 Singapore $276,520
Colorado $274,048 Chile $268,314
Arizona $266,891 Hong Kong $263,259
Wisconsin $261,548 Nigeria $262,545
Missouri $258,832 Finland $247,389
Louisiana $243,264 Israel $241,069
Connecticut $229,317 Pakistan $215,117
Oregon $198,702 Ireland $210,638
Alabama $183,547 Czech Republic $196,446
South Carolina $176,217 Kuwait $183,219
Kentucky $173,466 Ukraine $176,309
Oklahoma $160,953 New Zealand $171,256
Iowa $152,436 Romania $169,396
Kansas $138,953 Vietnam $155,820
Nevada $133,584 Iraq $149,370
Utah $130,486 Bangladesh $127,195
District of Columbia $109,793 Hungary $124,600
Arkansas $109,557 Angola $116,308
Mississippi $101,490 Morocco $95,992
Nebraska $99,557 Libya $95,802
New Mexico $80,600 Ecuador $87,495
Hawaii $72,424 Oman $78,111
West Virginia $69,380 Cuba $71,017
Delaware $65,984 Azerbaijan $68,727
New Hampshire $64,697 Belarus $63,259
Idaho $58,243 Croatia $56,447
Maine $53,656 Luxembourg $55,143
Alaska $51,859 Bulgaria $50,972
Rhode Island $50,956 Guatemala $50,377
North Dakota $46,016 Syria $46,540
South Dakota $42,464 Lithuania $42,339
Montana $40,422 Kenya $40,697
Wyoming $38,422 Serbia $38,491
Vermont $27,296 Latvia $28,379

87 thoughts on “America’s ridiculously large $16 trillion economy

  1. Should we add maybe more criterias such as life expectancy, inequalities of income, level of greenhouse emission per habitant, obesity rate, exportation value per habitant and other indicators that give a better idea of development than a raw rate of production and growth? Are we in 1959 or do we have learned from economical and social researches from the 70′s? And finally, to improve US datas on those criterias, should we integrate the level of superiority complex per habitant? Ironically yours!

    • If you were the only human on a tropical island, would you try your social engineering experiments on the simian population?
      You could ration the bananas to control “obesity rate” and “inequality of income”; you could possibly effect changes in “greenhouse emission per habitant” by regulating other aspects of the simian diet; you could quarantine any alpha males that exhibited a “superiority complex”.
      Just think how much fun you could have while perfecting your radical left wing utopian ideals. If you were ever rescued, you would have practical experience on your resume, and would be an ideal candidate for some federal regulatory agency or perhaps even the US Congress.
      On the other hand, the simian population could possibly impose their will on you.

  2. Looking at the big picture…Greed has much to do with world economics. There would be plenty for all, “if”, we, and I include myself, were only willing to live a little less lavish. The “Golden Rule”, he who has the Gold…Rules, is constantly in effect and in no time soon, will it be reigned in! There are no panaceas because human nature is what it is. Capitalism and other forms of government will work, as long as those in charge are not corrupt…. that will not happen on a grand scale.

    • Its easy to decry American consumerism but the reality is that our trade deficit is our gift to the world. The idea that if we lived less lavish there would be more for others is patently false. The “plenty” would not be produced if there is no consumer on the other end spending for it. If Americans quit consuming the the global economy would fail in catastrophic proportions. Ask yourself why there are always shortages in communist/socialistic countries.

    • Ah, yes – “GREED”. The great progressive talking point designed to explain why capitalism is evil; the use of which illustrates a complete lack of understanding of the concepts “rational self-interest” and “wealth creation”.
      To better understand why America, as founded, was once the greatest country on earth, a beacon of light and hope for the rest of the world, an example of what is possible when citizens have individual liberty and economic opportunity within the framework of a moral and just society based on the rule of law, read “Economics in One Lesson” by Henry Hazlitt and “Human Action” by Ludwig von Mises.
      You are correct, however, in your observation that human nature being what it is, corruption will always exist. Without individual liberty and the rule of law, capitalism will not work.
      Tragically, the low-information, uninformed, and disengaged electorate in this country is enabling the destruction of the last bastion of freedom on earth.
      When world governments became oppressive, people would migrate to America. When America falls, where will WE go?

      • Thank you Bill. You hit the nail on the head when you said, “economic opportunity within the framework of a moral and just society based on the rule of law”. That was the greed point I was not able to wax eloquent upon. It is those things that do not reign in our society as they once “may have”. There is plenty of land and resources, although not all strategically allocated. The bigger question might be “why are we here”? For who’s good pleasure do we exist? When one comes full term and can face that question, then much can be accomplished.

    • It’s a map of the United States, so Europe isn’t shown. Geography certainly wasn’t a strong point where you grew up.

    • You’re not very informative, kiddo. No offense. You have to compare the Euro Zone to the USA because most Eu countries don’t use the Euro. Hence, the Euro zone only accounts for 13.1 trillion GDP which is far less than Americas 16 trillion GDP. I’m American and even I know this. Also, the EU isn’t a country and it’s just a Union. Again kiddo, please do some research before you post. Thank you.

    • Also, the US Dollar is the defacto World currency. The EU only grosses 13 trillion in Euro dollars. Because of current exchange rates, the EU slighty surpasses the US GDP. Not to mention, I didn’t even factor in the Euro Zone which are countries that use the Euro and that number would be even lower, try 8 trillion GDP in Euro.
      At the end of the day, the USD is the worlds money and the euro is way far behind the dollar so do the math.

  3. Wow, California will soon surpass the UK. The UK is broke and it’s only growing at 1.2% GDP or less per year. Yet, California is growing at over 3.5% yearly. And as of 2004, Califronia has a GDP on 2.2 trillion. Anyways, at its current rate, California will surpass the UK in 2019. Maybe even sooner, if Scotland leaves the UK which would put the UK on par with Texas. I feel so sorry for the UK. Wow, once an Empire and now nothing to show for.

  4. The EU is a Union, not a country. Plus several members of the EU don’t even use the Euro. Maybe a map that compares the Euro Zone would suffice because the Euro Zone is EU members that use the Euro as their bona fide currency. Hence, as of 2014, the Euro Zone only accounts for 13 trillion GDP. Which is far behind the USA in GDP. I reckon most Europeans don’t understand the EU or economics. I’m American by the way, and I problem know more about the EU than most EU citizens. No offense to anyone but a Union isn’t a country.

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