One interesting indicator of the economic power of American metropolitan areas is how they match up with the output of foreign countries:
The greater New York metro, far and away America’s largest and richest, is projected to produce $1.4 trillion dollars in GMP in 2014. This makes it about the same size as Australia, equivalent the world’s 12th largest economy.
L.A., projected to account for almost $830 billion in GMP, has a larger economy than that of the Netherlands, and would therefore number among the world’s top 20 economies.
Chicago, with more than $610 billion in GMP, is about the same size as Switzerland and significantly bigger than Sweden…
And even far smaller metros can outpace some substantial national economies. With $180 billion in GMP, Denver’s economy is comparable to that of the entire country of New Zealand. Even Anchorage, Alaska, projected to produce nearly $30 billion in GMP, is about the same size as Latvia.
It strikes me that this is also a pretty fascinating look at America’s economic power overall. If each of these metropolitan areas could be their own city-states, having them all in one country is quite a feat. Of course, if they were split up, this could change their economic output. In fact, it would be interesting to play a what if game with that very question: which would US metros would thrive as independent states and which would falter?