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Report: Chicago is the World's 23rd Largest Economy

By Sally Deneen

If Chicago were a country, it'd be the 23rd largest in the world economically, surpassing Taiwan, a report states.

Its economy also outstrips that of Sweden, Norway, Poland, Belgium and Argentina, among many other countries, a report says of the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metro area's $571 billion gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012, meaning the value of the finished goods and services produced here.

Only metro New York City, ranked 13th in the world, and Los Angeles, 20th, have bigger economies than Chicago among U.S. cities. Saudi Arabia and Switzerland – and "46 of our states" – produce less than metro New York and metro LA (which includes Long Beach and Santa Ana) combined, according to the 73-page "U.S. Metro Economies" report for the United States Conference of Mayors prepared by IHS Global Insight.

"Simply put, of the 100 largest economies in the world, 36 of them belong to metropolitan areas of the United States," states the report. Houston ranks 30th and Dallas 32nd, while Philadelphia, San Francisco and Boston are 40th, 41st and 42nd.

Detroit, 62nd, beats such countries as Qatar. Cleveland, 88th, produces more than Libya.

"U.S. metropolitan areas are the engines of domestic output and titans of the global economy," the report begins. "The combined annual gross product of the 10 largest metro areas is greater than the combined GDP of our 36 least-producing states."

The idea that the country's megalopolises produce so much more than the vast majority of the rest of the United States inspired a map that prompted buzz on social media, thanks to most of the country appearing as a blaze of blue while fewer than two dozen of the nation's metro areas are depicted as orange dots. The point of the map? The orange dots together produce as much as the sea of blue.

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