Gross domestic product, or GDP, is the total value of goods and services a state or country produces over a given period. Though the United States is not the largest country in the world — either by landmass or by population — it is by far the world’s largest economy, with a GDP of over $17.3 trillion in 2017, equal to nearly a quarter of the global economy.
Even individual U.S. states have GDPs that rival countries many times their size. For example, California’s $2.6 trillion economy is larger than all but half a dozen countries worldwide. Similarly, Texas’s $1.6 trillion economy is roughly the same size as the economy of Russia, a global superpower and principal geo-political rival of the United States.
24/7 Wall St. identified the country with the GDP that most closely matches the size of the economy of each state. The majority of U.S. states are smaller in both population and landmass than the country with the closest GDP. Often, however, they have far more developed economies and therefore higher GDPs per capita than the comparable country. Only seven states on this list have a lower GDP per capita than their corresponding country.
The United States gained its economic-superpower status through consumer spending and highly developed industries that are backed by advanced technology and vast natural resources. The countries on this list — which span six continents — are in varying stages of development. Some have highly advanced innovation-driven economies, while others are dependent on resource extraction or agriculture.
24/7 Wall St. matched each state to the country with the most similar GDP. Each state’s GDP is as of 2017 and is chained to 2012 dollars and came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Each country’s 2017 GDP came from the World Bank and is in constant U.S. dollars, as of 2010. State populations and employment concentration by industry came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. Country populations are 2017 estimates from the World Bank. Per capita GDP by country was calculated by the World Bank and is current as of 2017. Per capita GDP by state came from the BEA and is also for 2017. Export figures and other country information came from the Observatory of Economic Complexity from MIT Media Labs and the BBC.