Special Report

America's Biggest City Economies

The top two largest metropolitan economies in the United States would be easy guesses for most Americans. New York and Los Angeles are well known to be among the world’s premiere and economically potent powerhouses, homes to Wall Street and Hollywood.

But which U.S. metro areas have the next largest economies? To identify the 25 biggest American city economies in 2020, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed real gross domestic product for 2020 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis 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 2001-2020, 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 2019 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. (Here are the 50 largest cities in America.)

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. Five of these economically crucial areas are located in California, and three are based in Texas. (These are America’s largest and smallest state economies.)

Nine of the top 25 largest economies in the United States are metropolitan areas that sit in two or more states, such as the St. Louis metro area, which includes parts of Missouri and Illinois, or the Minneapolis metropolitan area, which includes parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Philadelphia metropolitan area touches four states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. The New York City economic zone includes portions of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Click here to see America’s biggest city economies
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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