Size Matters: Comparing the U.S. to the Rest of the World

This week, I saw a chart that ranks countries by the number of Olympic medals won in relation to their GDP and population.

Sometimes it helps to employ unconventional perspectives when thinking about the size of things.

So here's an interesting map from the American Enterprise Institute that shows how massive and productive America's $18 trillion economy is on a global scale.

The map compares the gross domestic product of U.S. states with the national GDPs of other nations.

America's largest state economy is California. In 2015, the Golden State's GDP was about $2.46 trillion.  As a separate country, California would have been the 6th largest economy in the world last year (just behind the U.K. and slightly above France's GDP of $2.42 trillion). But France's population is about 66.48 million, while California's is only about 39.14 million — meaning California produces about the same as France – with about 40% fewer people.

America’s second largest state economy is Texas.  In 2015, the Lone Star state's GDP was about $1.59 trillion.  This would have ranked Texas as the world’s 10th largest economy last year.  To compare, Canada’s GDP last year was $1.55 trillion. However, to produce about the same amount of economic output as Texas required a workforce in Canada (18 million) that was 50% larger than employment in the state of Texas (12 million). That is, it required 6 million more workers in Canada to produce the same output as Texas last year.

Check out the rest of the states in the map below:


160828 States Renamed for Countries by GDP

 via AEI.

Based on population, the US is the third-largest country in the world.

To put that in perspective, below is a a map that renames each state with the country that has the closest population to it.


150613 Countries and States by Population

via Business Insider.

The map, below, is interesting in a different way.  I'm sure you've heard that "a picture is worth a thousand words."  Here, a couple dozen words capture the world.


150613 The World In Words

by Michael Tompsett via Fine Art America.

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