Special Report

The Metro Areas With Bigger Economies Than Some Countries

As an economic power, the United States is a country without equal. It is home to just 4.3% of the global population, yet it accounts for 23.9% of global economic output, according to data from the World Bank. 

Within the United States, economic power tends to be concentrated in major urban areas. For example, just 15 metropolitan areas account for over one-fifth of all economic activity in the country. The economies of these cities are so large that they rival the GDPs of most countries in the world. 

Using GDP data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 15 metro areas with economies bigger than some countries’ economies. After selecting the 15 metropolitan areas with the largest economies, we matched each with a country with a similar GDP based on purchasing power parity — a measure which accounts for living expenses — using data from the World Bank. It is important to note that the GDP of the country listed is a close match with the corresponding city but is not always smaller. However, every metro area on this list has a larger economy than most countries in the world. 

Every city on this list has a relatively diverse and complex economy and is home to a range of industries. Still, these metro area economies are also often dominated by a single sector. In most of these metropolitan areas, finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing is the largest industry. In other cases, manufacturing, or information, or professional business services ranks as the top industry. Often, the economic output of the largest industry in these places is greater than the GDP of many countries. These are America’s 25 thriving industries.

The economic strength of the metro areas on this list is partially attributable to the presence of major companies. Many of these metro areas are home to the headquarters of Fortune 500 companies that are critical to the economic vitality of their home city and surrounding areas. Here is a state by state look at the largest company by total employment.

Click here to see the metro areas with bigger economies than some countries
Click here to read our methodology

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