Cool Graphic Online

Check out this cool graphic on The Economist magazine website.

It compares American states to other countries with similar populations and similarly sized economies (measured by GDP).

Vermont has the nation's smallest economy. It is the size of Yemen.

California's is the size of Italy. If it were a country it would be one the world's ten largest economies!

Everyone knows that the United States has a large economy (by far the word's largest), but it's weird to think of the fact that it is larger than the aggregate economy of 50 different countries.

Besides helping the reader conceptualize economy and populations sizes in new ways, the graph is very interactive.

You can click on the individual states for more details.

There is also a similar graph for Chinese, Indian and Brazilian states or provinces. I like the layout of the international graphics better because the graphs are on the side of, rather than below, the map.



Ellen said...


This is really cool. I totally agree with your point about always thinking that the United States has the largest economy. I know that I usually just think of it as a whole, but it's really interesting to look at individual states and see how they compare to countries around the world. Some of the countries on the map were quite surprising as well.

Jack Speer said...


I agree this is pretty cool. I think the most effective thing was comparing individual U-S state to their closest global counterparts. I remember in a paper I once did I noted that the size of the 700 billion dollar bank bailout fund was roughly the size of the GDP's of Austria, Denmark and Greece combined.

Looked at another way, reporter David Leonhardt from the New York Times did a piece last January examining what you can buy with just over a trillion dollars, the amount total the government was then proposing to spend to prop up the economy. He noted you could double cancer research funding, provide treatment for every person in the U-S with diabetes or heart disease and pay for a global immunization for children and still have money left over!

These kinds of comparisons help people to grasp large numbers and to make them more relevant.