This 3D Map Visualizes the U.S. Economy in a New Way

The U.S. Department of Commerce and its Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) recently released its statistics on gross domestic product (GDP) by metropolitan area for 2014. The BEA determines the statistics for each metropolitan area as the sum of the GDP originating in all industries in the area. The data is the sub-state counterpart of the nationwide GDP. It is the most comprehensive measure of economic activity.

We built a map to provide a 3D visualization of the GDP by metropolitan area, seen below. The higher the cone rising out of the map, the greater the GDP in that area. In analyzing the data, we found that the top 20 metropolitan areas represent over 52% of the total GDP in the United States. GDP grew 2.3% for all metropolitan areas in 2014, after increasing 1.9% in 2013.

GDP By Metropolitan Area

As shown by the map, the New York metropolitan area, which includes Newark and Jersey City, lead the country with $1.5 trillion in GDP. The area had GDP growth of 2.4% in 2014. The New York metropolitan area provided almost 10% of the total GDP for the entire country.

The Greater Los Angeles area was second with $866 billion in GDP, with an increase of 2.3% over 2013. This was followed by the Chicago metropolitan area with $610 billion and growth of 1.8%. In fourth was the Houston metro area with $525 billion. Dallas, another Texas metro area, had $504 billion in GDP.

GDP By State

We also broke down the GDP by state. We calculated that the top 5 states contributed 40% of the overall GDP for the United States as follows:

  • California: $2.11 trillion, 13% of overall GDP

  • Texas: $1.46 trillion, 9.5% of overall GDP

  • New York: $1.28 trillion, 8.4% of overall GDP

  • Florida: $769 billion, 4.8% of overall GDP.

  • Illinois: $680 billion, 4.3% of overall GDP.

Effect of Population

One important factor for GDP appears to be the population for both the state and the metropolitan areas. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Houston are the five most densely populated metropolitan areas in that order. Further, California, Texas and New York have the highest populations by state in that order. There appears to be a relationship between GDP output and the population for a geographical area.

The Final Analysis

The largest metropolitan areas contributed the greatest amount of GDP for the country. According to our analysis, the top 20 metropolitan areas contributed over half of the United State’s GDP. The New York metropolitan area contributed nearly 10% to the GDP by itself. In terms of a breakdown by state, the top 5 states contributed around 40% of the entire country’s GDP. California alone contributed over 13% of the total GDP for the country.

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Sources: Table 1

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