This Is America's Largest City Economy

Some cities have economies that are larger than those of small countries. Chicago’s gross domestic product is bigger than South Africa’s. The Los Angeles GDP is larger than that of Turkey. The populations of these cities are much smaller than the countries we have compared them to here. That means the level of productivity in these metros is substantial.

To identify the biggest American city economy in 2020, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed and ranked real GDP for 2020 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) for 383 U.S. metro areas with data. GDP is the total value of goods and services produced in an area.

Data on GDP growth from 2001 to 2020, the largest industry in 2020 and the industry with the largest GDP growth over that time also came from the BEA. Population figures and median household income are five-year estimates for 2019 from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Drilling down the list of the largest metro-area economies, the order becomes less intuitive. For example, though Silicon Valley (centered around San Jose, California) has an enormous tech-based economy, it ranks 12th largest by GDP, smaller than the metro-area economies of Atlanta, Houston and Dallas, all of which have much larger populations.

The top 25 largest U.S. metropolitan-area economies are home to 135.1 million people, or 42% of the U.S. population. They contribute $9.3 trillion, or nearly 51%, to the country’s real gross domestic product.

The largest city economy is the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA metropolitan statistical area. Here are the details:

  • Real GDP in 2020: $1.50 trillion
  • GDP growth, 2001 to 2020: $303.87 billion, or 25.4% (173rd smallest)
  • Largest industry GDP in 2020: Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing ($449.09 billion)
  • Industry with the largest growth, 2001 to 2020: Information (+185.74%)
  • Median household income in 2019: $78,773 (25th highest)
  • Population in 2019: 19,294,236 (the largest)

Click here to see all of America’s biggest city economies.

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