Purchasing power parity

These Cities Out-Earn Entire Countries

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Large cities, not countries are the future centres of world power. They will become islands of good governance in a world in which globalisation has eroded the nation state. That point was argued in #768, which emphasises population size and growth as yardsticks for metropolitan importance across Europe.

An even more crucial measure is economic power, expressed in GDP. By that measure, the ten richest large urban conglomerations in the world are each worth more than entire countries – including some of the world’s biggest economies.

This map compares the 2015 Gross Domestic Product in Purchasing Power Parity, expressed in billions of dollars, of the world’s ten richest metro areas to that of countries with a similar GDP-PPP$.

  • Tokyo, the world’s richest (as well as largest) conglomeration, has a GDP of $1.62 trillion. That is in the same league as South Korea, the world’s 14th-largest economy, with a GDP of $1.75 trillion.
  • In 2015 New York, in second place on the metro rich list, produced almost as much wealth as the entirety of Canada, the second-biggest country in the world – and without the benefit of that country’s considerable natural resources.
  • On the other U.S. coast, Los Angeles came pretty close to duplicating the Gross Domestic Product of another giant country, Australia.
  • Seoul, capital of South Korea and responsible for more than half of its GDP, on its own out-GDPs Malaysia.
  • Greater London generates almost the same economic output as the entire country of the Netherlands.
  • Paris – almost the same GDP as London – easily outperforms South Africa, one of the top three economies of its continent.
  • Shanghai, virtually on a par with Paris, is a mightier economic power than the Philippines.
  • Moscow is a bigger economic hub that the United Arab Emirates.
  • Osaka produces more than a fifth more wealth that Switzerland.
  • And Beijing‘s GDP is more than…