Mapped: Comparing United States’ Economic Output Against the Rest of the World

by howmuch

The U.S. economy hit $20.5 trillion in GDP in 2018. What does this number actually mean? Well, GDP stands for “gross domestic product”, or, the total value of goods and services produced by a country in any given year. This means the U.S. produced $20.5 trillion in goods and services over 2018. This is an impressive number in and of itself, seeing as total GDP for the entire world was about $80 trillion in 2017. Yet, what might be more impressive is breaking down GDP by each individual state, and then measuring each state against a foreign nation to see how each state fares in size. What the results show is nothing less than astounding.

Data comparing the GDP of individual states in the U.S. with foreign countries paints an interesting picture. This can be done by comparing state-level data from the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis and foreign nation data from the International Monetary Fund. When the data is put side-by-side, each state appears to be as economically powerful as a foreign nation.

The largest state in the U.S. by GDP is California, which has a $2.97 trillion economy. This makes California not only comparable to Britain, whose GDP came in at $2.81 trillion, but would also make California the 5th largest economy in the world if it were its own foreign nation! Meanwhile, as border issues heat up down south in Texas, the state could trade its local economy for that of our northern border friends in Canada. The GDP of Texas came in at $1.78 trillion while Canada’s followed close behind at $1.73 trillion.

Here are the top ten biggest U.S. states by GDP and their comparable foreign nations

1. California ($2.97T) – United Kingdom ($2.81T)

2. Texas ($1.78T) – Canada ($1.73T)

3. New York ($1.70T) – Korea ($1.66T)

4. Florida ($1.04T) – Mexico ($1.20T)

5. Illinois ($868B) – Netherlands ($910B)

6. Pennsylvania ($798B) – Saudi Arabia ($770B)

7. Ohio ($680B) – Switzerland ($709B)

8. New Jersey ($634B) – Taiwan Province of China ($603B)

9. Georgia ($595B) – Sweden ($555B)

10. Massachusetts ($577B) – Poland ($550B)

While it’s impressive that these large U.S. states outperform countries in the developed world, what might be even more impressive is how even the smallest U.S. states compare favorably to foreign nations. Montana can be viewed in similar economic terms as Ghana, while Wyoming is most similar in size to Jordan. Even the country’s smallest state in terms of GDP, Vermont ($34B), is still larger than the GDP of Sudan ($33B).

Overall, the U.S. economy is the largest in the world, squashing the size of every other nation on Earth. At the same time, its debt-to-GDP ratio, measuring the size of a country’s debt compared to its GDP, isn’t even in the world’s top 10. This shows a healthy US economy which still rules the world.

This chart shows the economic power of the United States in a fun, imaginative way. Yet, doing so makes the country look more like the United Nations than states of a unified country.

Data: Table 1.1