If states were countries…

Look at the economic strength of the US compared to the rest of the world. There has to be a way to turn the problems around.

Source: Strange Maps. Click to enlarge.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a convenient way of measuring and comparing the size of national economies. Annual GDP represents the market value of all goods and services produced within a country in a year. Put differently:

GDP = consumption + investment + government spending + (exports – imports)

Although the economies of countries like China and India are growing at an incredible rate, the US remains the nation with the highest GDP in the world – and by far: US GDP is projected to be $13,22 trillion (or $13.220 billion) in 2007, according to this source. That’s almost as much as the economies of the next four (Japan, Germany, China, UK) combined.

The creator of this map has had the interesting idea to break down that gigantic US GDP into the GDPs of individual states, and compare those to other countries’ GDP. What follows, is this slightly misleading map – misleading, because the economies both of the US states and of the countries they are compared with are not weighted for their respective populations.

Pakistan, for example, has a GDP that’s slightly higher than Israel’s – but Pakistan has a population of about 170 million, while Israel is only 7 million people strong. The US states those economies are compared with (Arkansas and Oregon, respectively) are much closer to each other in population: 2,7 million and 3,4 million.

And yet, wile a per capita GDP might give a good indication of the average wealth of citizens, a ranking of the economies on this map does serve two interesting purposes: it shows the size of US states’ economies relative to each other (California is the biggest, Wyoming the smallest), and it links those sizes with foreign economies (which are therefore also ranked: Mexico’s and Russia’s economies are about equal size, Ireland’s is twice as big as New Zealand’s). Here’s a run-down of the 50 states, plus DC:

  1. California, it is often said, would be the world’s sixth- or seventh-largest economy if it was a separate country. Actually, that would be the eighth, according to this map, as France (with a GDP of $2,15 trillion) is #8 on the aforementioned list.
  2. Texas’ economy is significantly smaller, exactly half of California’s, as its GDP compares to that of Canada (#10, $1,08 trillion).
  3. Florida also does well, with its GDP comparable to Asian tiger South Korea’s (#13 at $786 billion).
  4. Illinois – Mexico (GDP #14 at $741 billion)
  5. New Jersey – Russia (GDP #15 at $733 billion)
  6. Ohio – Australia (GDP #16 at $645 billion)
  7. New York – Brazil (GDP #17 at $621 billion)
  8. Pennsylvania – Netherlands (GDP #18 at $613 billion)
  9. Georgia – Switzerland (GDP #19 at $387 billion)
  10. North Carolina – Sweden (GDP #20 at $371 billion)
  11. Massachusetts – Belgium (GDP #21 at $368 billion)
  12. Washington – Turkey (GDP #22 at $358 billion)
  13. Virginia – Austria (GDP #24 at $309 billion)
  14. Tennessee – Saudi Arabia (GDP #25 at $286 billion)
  15. Missouri – Poland (GDP #26 at $265 billion)
  16. Louisiana – Indonesia (GDP #27 at $264 billion)
  17. Minnesota – Norway (GDP #28 at $262 billion)
  18. Indiana – Denmark (GDP #29 at $256 billion)
  19. Connecticut – Greece (GDP #30 at $222 billion)
  20. Michigan – Argentina (GDP #31 at $210 billion)
  21. Nevada – Ireland (GDP #32 at $203 billion)
  22. Wisconsin – South Africa (GDP #33 at $200 billion)
  23. Arizona – Thailand (GDP #34 at $197 billion)
  24. Colorado – Finland (GDP #35 at $196 billion)
  25. Alabama – Iran (GDP #36 at $195 billion)
  26. Maryland – Hong Kong (#37 at $187 billion GDP)
  27. Kentucky – Portugal (GDP #38 at $177 billion)
  28. Iowa – Venezuela (GDP #39 at $148 billion)
  29. Kansas – Malaysia (GDP #40 at $132 billion)
  30. Arkansas – Pakistan (GDP #41 at $124 billion)
  31. Oregon – Israel (GDP #42 at $122 billion)
  32. South Carolina – Singapore (GDP #43 at $121 billion)
  33. Nebraska – Czech Republic (GDP #44 at $119 billion)
  34. New Mexico – Hungary (GDP #45 at $113 billion)
  35. Mississippi – Chile (GDP #48 at $100 billion)
  36. DC – New Zealand (#49 at $99 billion GDP)
  37. Oklahoma – Philippines (GDP #50 at $98 billion)
  38. West Virginia – Algeria (GDP #51 at $92 billion)
  39. Hawaii – Nigeria (GDP #53 at $83 billion)
  40. Idaho – Ukraine (GDP #54 at $81 billion)
  41. Delaware – Romania (#55 at $79 billion GDP)
  42. Utah – Peru (GDP #56 at $76 billion)
  43. New Hampshire – Bangladesh (GDP #57 at $69 billion)
  44. Maine – Morocco (GDP #59 at $57 billion)
  45. Rhode Island – Vietnam (GDP #61 at $48 billion)
  46. South Dakota – Croatia (GDP #66 at $37 billion)
  47. Montana – Tunisia (GDP #69 at $33 billion)
  48. North Dakota – Ecuador (GDP #70 at $32 billion)
  49. Alaska – Belarus (GDP #73 at $29 billion)
  50. Vermont – Dominican Republic (GDP #81 at $20 billion)
  51. Wyoming – Uzbekistan (GDP #101 at $11 billion)

This map was suggested by Morgan via strangemaps@gmail.com, and can be found here. Please note that the GDP data used for this comparison are not necessarily the same as those used in compiling the original map.


  1. Dean Calvert :

    Well…a couple of trades are obvious.

    New Jersey for Russia, and DC for just about anything.

    And if we could get Saudi Arabia for say, Massachusetts…

    …then we could just give away California & Illinois..if they would just take the politicians that come with them.



  2. From a Christian moral perspective, I think we have to take a look at a wellbeing formula something like this:

    (GDP per capita / GDP_per_capita_ten_years_ago_in_inflation_adjusted_dollars) *

    ((life expectancy / life_expectancy_ten_years_ago)^10)

    Our first project is good long life and better for our kids than us: is our overall life expectancy holding steady or increasing?

    Our second project (like, to the tenth power ‘second’, not like, ‘closer to you than the back of your underwear is to your skin second’) is economic productivity.

    The formula indicates that any gains to our life excpectancy quickly outwieghs economic gains, but if we are holding our own in life then more economic satisfaction is better.

  3. cynthia curran :

    Well, having use to live in California, the Republicans also made mistakes. Reagan got about 65 percent of the vote in Orange County in 1980 and MCCain only 52 percent. Reagan legalized about a million people in Ca, while hispanics are not all Dems they tend to vote Dem more than non-hispanic whites. Obama still loss the white vote in the Us. Also, back in 1980, places like Orange at 7.0 percent and San Diego at 8.0 had little poverty and were better places to live than most parts of Texas but changing the demographics thru immirgation and housing being more expensive today made it less safer for Republicans. Also, George H Bush and George W Bush favored Texas and the South for aerospace jobs. A lot of Repubs in So Ca that worked in aerospace moved from So Ca during the 1990’s and early part of this century to other states. . Also, the Rio Grande Valley in Texas is as poor as the imperial Valley in Califoria. Rio also has low tech jobs and good manufactoring and service jobs in the professional since its an area that borders Mexico.

    • Geo Michalopulos :

      Cynthia, you’re right about the demographics but one of the things that is often forgotten is how can a massive state like California, with a lot of arable land, natural resouces, beautiful climate, etc. and hence great potential for affordable family formation turn into a third world state? California was the embodiment of the American Dream for so long. The answer IMHO is due in large part to a moral collapse. This doesn’t mean simply no-fault divorce or gay marriage, but the fundamental immorality in having people vote themselves largesse from the common treasury. California’s legislature has been at the forefront of doling out goodies in order to buy votes, not only to the natives but to the illegal aliens who were used by the elites to undercut the native working class. It’s all come due now.

      That’s why all of the states neighboring California are doing marginally better even in this economy. (In fact, the majority of the nation’s unemployment is found in California.) Texas, which has roughly the same demographic as California, is doing much better. The question is will it continue to do so? In other words, how long will Texas and other states like it remain “red”?

      I don’t mean to be polical, but it appears that there are two types of states that are consistently “blue”: those that are in the northern tier of states which are heavily Lutheran and white (i.e. very little black/hispanic populations) or those that are very heavily minority. Examples of the former include Wisconsin and Minnesota or those in the nascent 3rd-world catogory: Michigan, California, New York State, Illinois, and Washington DC.

      The former states can afford to be liberal with state largesse because there’s little downside to it, plus they’re still informed by a Christian-progressive viewpoint. The 3rd-world states (Michigan, Illinois) have to be generous with their monies because they’re trapped in a downward spiral of economic collapse. Basically, they’re just hoping to stave off the inevitable.

      As for the red states, they’ll turn blue once the same demographic trends take over in them. One thing that may stop them however is an equillibrium that has been taking place the last thirty years, and that is that the more productive people are leaving the heavily regulated states. This is intensifying in the present recession. You see this with high-profile people like Donald Trump and Tom Golisano leaving New York for Florida but it’s being multiplied a thousand-fold by much more inconspicuous professionals and middle-managers who are following the high-rollers.

      The breaking point however for all states is illegal immigration, which opens up a whole other can of worms.

  4. cynthia curran :

    Well, how could you compared Arizona even with the housing problem to Thailand and next door New Mexico to Hungry. New Mexico is the Thailand-high poverty even though I don’t like Richardson he has been better than some of the govenors. And Colorado basically has the best economy in the region-still lower poverty than most of the mountain and southwest and doing fair in terms of jobs concerning the economy.

  5. Peter O'Filon :

    I wouldn’t put too much “faith” in their work: A version of “Gross Domestic Product” that considers “investment” and “consumption” as “Product” is the kind of muddled, paper-pushing kind of (not) thinking that got us into this Depression in the first place! And one that doesn’t include such “Product” basics as “production” — agricultural as well as industrial — and “services” — even telecommunications media — may not please The Offshorers, but it’s real, basic economics.

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