An American Sense of Scale

An American Sense of Scale

The US share of global GDP has fallen considerably over the past few decades, as emerging economies like China, India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico and others have expanded. In 1970, the US accounted for 36.4% of the world’s economic output, according to the World Bank. In 2016, that figure was down to 24.6%.


Yet, many Americans seem to have an exaggerated view of the decline of their country’s economic power. Here’s some context from Mark Perry and Richard Florida.

Economies that are comparable in size:

  • California and the United Kingdom
  • New York City and Canada
  • Florida and Indonesia
  • Los Angeles and Australia
  • Ohio and Saudi Arabia
  • New Jersey and Argentina
  • Massachusetts and Poland
  • South Carolina and Vietnam

US economic heft isn’t what it used to be, but no one should underestimate the continuing appeal of access to its markets and the influence it provides US policymakers, even at the state level and local level.

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