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Map: Economic Might by U.S. Metro Area

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Map: Economic Might by U.S. Metro Area

Map: Economic Might by U.S. Metro Area

The U.S. economy is massive on a global scale, and much of the country’s economic capabilities can be traced back to the innovation, knowledge, and productivity that tends to be clustered in urban areas.

The fact is that 80% of Americans live in cities – and the 10 largest metro areas alone combine for a whopping 34% of the country’s total GDP.

The 10 Largest Metro Areas by GDP

Today’s map comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it highlights recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that estimates the GDP for each U.S. metro area in 2016:

RankMetropolitan Area2016 GDP (Est.)Population
#1New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$1.43 trillion20.1 million
#2Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA$885 billion13.3 million
#3Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI$569 billion9.5 million
#4Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX$471 billion7.2 million
#5Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV$449 billion6.1 million
#6Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX$442 billion6.7 million
#7San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$406 billion4.7 million
#8Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD$381 billion6.1 million
#9Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH$371 billion4.8 million
#10Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA$320 billion5.8 million
Top 10 Metropolitan Areas$5.7 trillion84.3 million

Note: figures in chained 2009 dollars

Not surprisingly, New York City and its surrounding area is the breadwinner here with an annual economic output of $1.43 trillion – the largest for any city in the United States. Impressively, the GDP of the NYC metro area is even higher than those of most of the world’s countries, including Australia, Mexico, and Spain.

It’s also interesting that some metro areas punch above their weight in relation to their population figures. San Francisco is #7 on the list with a GDP of $406 billion, despite having the lowest population total of all of the top 10. Boston and D.C. can be classified similarly, each with a high economic output per capita.

Trending Up, Trending Down

While they can’t quite compete with cities like New York and Chicago in terms of GDP or population, there are actually 300+ other metro areas in the country.

Here’s a recent snapshot from the BEA of which cities are growing – and which are shrinking in terms of GDP:

U.S. metro areas

The BEA noted that real gross domestic product (GDP) increased in 267 out of 382 metropolitan areas in 2016.

The biggest increase was a tie between Lake Charles, LA and Bend-Redmond, OR, each which had GDP climb by 8.1% from the last year. The city that saw the biggest drop was Odessa, TX, which fell -13.3%.

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Maps

The Incredible Historical Map That Changed Cartography

Check out the Fra Mauro Mappa Mundi (c. 1450s), a historical map that formed a bridge between medieval and renaissance worldviews.

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Historical map of the world depicted as a circular planisphere of the world crafted in the 1450s in Venice, Italy by Fra Mauro.

The Incredible Historical Map That Changed Cartography

This map is the latest in our Vintage Viz series, which presents historical visualizations along with the context needed to understand them.

In a one-paragraph story called On Exactitude in Science (Del Rigor en la Ciencia), Jorge Luis Borges imagined an empire where cartography had reached such an exact science that only a map on the same scale of the empire would suffice.

The Fra Mauro Mappa Mundi (c. 1450s), named for the lay Camaldolite monk and cartographer whose Venetian workshop created it, is not nearly as large, at a paltry 77 inches in diameter (196 cm). But its impact and significance as a bridge between Middle Age and Renaissance thought certainly rivaled Borges’ imagined map.

One of ‘the Wonders of Venice’

Venice was the undisputed commercial power in the Mediterranean, whose trade routes connected east and west, stretching to Flanders, London, Algeria, and beyond.

This network was protected by fleets of warships built at the famous Arsenale di Venezia, the largest production facility in the West, whose workforce of thousands of arsenalotti built ships on an assembly line, centuries before Henry Ford.

A stone Lion of Saint Mark from the pediment of the Arsenale di Venezia, holding a closed book in its in paws.

The lion of St Mark guards the land gate to the Arsenale di Venezia, except instead of the usual open bible in its hands offering peace, this book is closed, reflecting its martial purpose. Source: Wikipedia

The Mappa Mundi (literally “map of the world”) was considered one of the wonders of Venice with a reputation that reached the Holy Land. It is a circular planisphere drawn on four sheets of parchment, mounted onto three poplar panels and reinforced by vertical battens.

The map is painted in rich reds, golds, and blues; this last pigment was obtained from rare lapis lazuli, imported from mines in Afghanistan. At its corners are four spheres showing the celestial and sublunar worlds, the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water), and an illumination of the Garden of Eden by Leonardo Bellini (active 1443-1490).

Japan (on the left edge, called the Isola de Cimpagu) appears here for the first time in a Western map. And contradicting Ptolemaic tradition, it also shows that it was possible to circumnavigate Africa, presaging the first European journey around the Cape of Good Hope by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488.

NASA called the historical map “stunning” in its accuracy.

A Historical Map Between Two Worlds

Medieval maps, like the Hereford Mappa Mundi (c. 1300), were usually oriented with east at the top, because that’s where the Garden of Eden was thought to be. Fra Mauro, however, chose to orient his to the south, perhaps following Muslim geographers such as Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Idrisi.

Significantly, the Garden of Eden is placed outside of geographic space and Jerusalem is no longer at the center, though it is still marked by a windrose. The nearly 3,000 place names and descriptions are written in the Venetian vernacular, rather than Latin.

At the same time, as much as Fra Mauro’s map is a departure from the past, it also retains traces of a medieval Christian worldview. For example, included on the map are the Kingdom of the Magi, the Kingdom of Prester John, and the Tomb of Adam.

T and O style mappa mundi

Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae (c. 600–625). Source: Wikipedia

The circular planisphere also follows the medieval T-O schema, first described by Isidore of Seville, with Asia occupying the top half of the circle, and Europe and Africa each occupying the bottom two quarters (Fra Mauro turns the ‘T’ on its side, to reflect a southern orientation). Around the circle, are many islands, beyond which is the “dark sea” where only shipwreck and misfortune await.

Fra Mauro’s Legacy

Fra Mauro died some time before 20 October 1459, and unfortunately his contributions fell into obscurity soon thereafter; until 1748, it was believed that the Mappa Mundi was a copy of a lost map by Marco Polo.

In 1811, the original was moved from Fra Mauro’s monastery of San Michele to the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, following the suppression of religious orders in the Napoleonic era, where it can be viewed today.

Two digital editions have also been produced by the Museo Galileo and the Engineering Historical Memory project, where readers can get a glimpse into a fascinating piece of cartographic history.

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