California on the World Stage

How many countries, other than the US, have larger economies than California?

June 10, 2017

Credit: Christopher Chan

1. California is not only the most populous U.S. state, but also has the largest economy of any of the 50 U.S. states.

2. California’s $2.66 trillion state economy in 2016 accounted for 14.2% of the overall U.S. economy in 2016.

3. Apart from the United States itself, only four countries – China, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom – have larger nominal GDPs than California’s.

4. The national economy that, at $2.86 trillion, is closest in size to California’s is the UK. The UK has 65 million people, while California has 39 million people.

5. California is by far the U.S. state with the largest population. It accounts for more than 12% of the U.S. population.

6. California has nearly double the number of people that live in the state of New York – and 43% more people than Texas.

7. Four of the 10 most populous U.S. counties are located in California.

8. Los Angeles County, California, is the nation’s most populous county, with more than 10 million people.

9. In a global context, the LA metropolitan area economy, at a regional GDP of $931 billion, is larger than that of Indonesia with its 264 million people.

10. The LA metro area is the second-largest metro economy in the world (after New York City) and by itself amounts to 5.2% of the overall U.S. economy.

11. Metro LA’s economy is nearly the size of the entire economy of the U.S. state of Florida – the fourth largest state economy.

12. Across California’s 58 counties, per capita income levels vary greatly. The richest county is Marin – in the Bay Area – with $56,791 a year, as of the last American Community Survey, concluded in 2013.

13. The poorest is Imperial, on the Mexican border, with $16,763 a year. In a global context, California thus has areas as rich as Switzerland and about as poor as Gabon.

14. California also has the most ethnically diverse population of any major U.S. state (i.e., excluding small states such as Hawaii or New Mexico).

15. 6.5% of the California population is black, 14.7% is Asian, 38.8% is Hispanic and 38% is non-Hispanic white.

Sources: The Globalist Research Center, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Census Bureau, World Bank


California is not only the most populous US state, but also has the largest economy of any of the 50 US states.

Only the US, China, Japan, Germany and the UK have larger nominal GDPs than California.