Economic Progress

Which American state has a bigger economy than India?

A large cloud gathers over the skyline of San Francisco, California December 12, 2014. A major storm pummeled California and the Pacific Northwest with heavy rain and high winds on Thursday, killing one man, knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes, disrupting flights and prompting schools to close.

The evidence suggests that, in productivity terms, the US outperforms its European cousins Image: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Alex Gray
Senior Writer, Formative Content
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Economic Progress?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Economic Progress is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Economic Progress

The GDP of each state in the United States is equivalent to that of a major nation in the world, according to a recent analysis by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Using statistics compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the International Monetary Fund, the AEI was able to match the GDP of each state against that of a country.

US states renamed for countries with similar GDPs, 2015
Image: AEI

California, the world’s sixth-largest economy

The American state with the biggest economy is California, which, in 2015, produced $2.44 trillion of economic output. Its GDP compares favourably to that of France, which produced $2.42 trillion during the same period. Particularly interesting to note is the fact that California has 6 million fewer workers than France, yet produced a little over its GDP. This suggests that, in productivity terms, the US outperforms its European cousins.

Even more interesting, if California were inserted into the world ranking by GDP according to country, it would come sixth – ahead of France, India, Italy and Brazil.

But California is not the only state with a strong economy. The US’s second-largest state by economy, Texas, has an output of $1.643 trillion, which sandwiches it between that of Brazil, with $1.64 trillion, and that of neighbouring Canada, at $1.552 trillion. Once again, that’s despite a smaller workforce: Brazil’s workers outnumber those of Texas by round 80 million, and Canada’s workers outnumber Texas’s by 6 million.

New York State came in third, with an output of $1.442 trillion, putting it ahead of South Korea, currently the world’s 11th-largest economy.

Putting oil-rich nations in perspective

Oil-rich nations are put into an interesting perspective on the map. Even with all of its oil wealth, Saudi Arabia’s $653 billion output was below that of US states Pennsylvania ($689 billion) and Illinois (($775 billion).

The GDP of the United Arab Emirates rivalled that of Minnesota, but came behind 15 other states. That of Iran was a similar story, outpacing Maryland, but lagging behind Washington, Michigan and Massachusetts as well as 11 other states.

Image: Bureau of Economic Analysis and IMF

Sheer scale of the US economy

The exercise by the American Enterprise Institute shows the sheer scale of the US economy, which produces almost a quarter of the world’s economy (24.5%), with only a fraction of the workforce (4.5%). If they were placed in the IMF’s list of countries by GDP, six of the US states would appear in the top 20, and three (California, Texas and New York) would appear in the top 11.

“The map and the statistics summarized here help remind us of the enormity of the economic powerhouse we live and work in,” concludes the report. “So let’s not lose sight of how ridiculously large and powerful the US economy is, and how much wealth, output and prosperity is being created every day in the largest economic engine ever in human history.”

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Revised figures for US Q4 growth, and other economic stories to read

Joe Myers

March 1, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum