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Mapping Economic Might by U.S. Metro Area

Roughly 80% of Americans live in cities - and it's also true that urban areas are the hubs of innovation, manufacturing, and knowledge that drive the economy.
Visual Capitalist creates and curates enriched visual content focused on emerging trends in business and investing. Founded in 2011 in Vancouver, the team at Visual Capitalist believes that art, data, and storytelling can be combined in a manner that makes complex issues and processes more digestible. Covering high-growth opportunities and industries such as technology, mining, and energy, Visual Capitalist reaches millions of investors each year. Visual Capitalist’s infographics have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Zero Hedge, Maclean’s, Gizmodo, The Vancouver Sun, and Business Insider.
Visual Capitalist creates and curates enriched visual content focused on emerging trends in business and investing. Founded in 2011 in Vancouver, the team at Visual Capitalist believes that art, data, and storytelling can be combined in a manner that makes complex issues and processes more digestible. Covering high-growth opportunities and industries such as technology, mining, and energy, Visual Capitalist reaches millions of investors each year. Visual Capitalist’s infographics have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Zero Hedge, Maclean’s, Gizmodo, The Vancouver Sun, and Business Insider.

Map: Economic Might by U.S. Metro Area

The U.S. economy is massive on a global scale, and much of the country’s economic capabilities can be traced back to the innovation, knowledge, and productivity that tends to be clustered in urban areas.

The fact is that 80% of Americans live in cities – and the 10 largest metro areas alone combine for a whopping 34% of the country’s total GDP.

THE 10 Largest Metro Areas by GDP

Today’s map comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it highlights recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that estimates the GDP for each U.S. metro area in 2016:

Note: figures in chained 2009 dollars

Not surprisingly, New York City and its surrounding area is the breadwinner here with an annual economic output of $1.43 trillion – the largest for any city in the United States. Impressively, the GDP of the NYC metro area is even higher than those of most of the world’s countries, including Australia, Mexico, and Spain.

It’s also interesting that some metro areas punch above their weight in relation to their population figures. San Francisco is #7 on the list with a GDP of $406 billion, despite having the lowest population total of all of the top 10. Boston and D.C. can be classified similarly, each with a high economic output per capita.

Trending Up, Trending Down

While they can’t quite compete with cities like New York and Chicago in terms of GDP or population, there are actually 300+ other metro areas in the country.

Here’s a recent snapshot from the BEA of which cities are growing – and which are shrinking in terms of GDP:

The BEA noted that real gross domestic product (GDP) increased in 267 out of 382 metropolitan areas in 2016.

The biggest increase was a tie between Lake Charles, LA and Bend-Redmond, OR, each which had GDP climb by 8.1% from the last year. The city that saw the biggest drop was Odessa, TX, which fell -13.3%.