These cities produce the biggest gross domestic product numbers in the world. With millions of people living within their confines, they are mechas of technological innovation, home to financial centers, and the birthplaces for some of the world’s most successful businesses.
We estimated each cities GDP using 2018 and 2019 reported numbers from PwC, Brookings Institution, and McKinsey, along with backing data from Statista and several other trusted reporting sources. Here’s each city along with information about the biggest GDP sector contributors for their staggering wealth.
Tokyo (Japan): $1.6 Trillion
Tokyo’s GDP is heavily centered around the automobile and tech sectors. Japan is the third-largest automaker in the world and the city’s innovations in that space have helped it accumulate massive amounts of wealth.
Like much of Japan, Tokyo is also a technological epicenter with a focus on leading-edge technologies that have resulted in some fo the world’s most sought-after patents. Tokyo also has a large focus on precious items such as optical instruments and robotics.
New York City (United States): $1.5 Trillion
New York City’s GDP is expected to surpass Tokyo’s GDP by 2025. The city features the largest financial center in the world but that’s not all New York has to offer, in fact, that’s only a small part of its financial allure.
The city’s biggest export is uncut diamonds, followed by various luxury goods including paintings, rubies, jewelry, and sculptures. The city is also home to hundreds of the biggest companies in the United States and globally.
Los Angeles (United States): $1.2 Trillion
Most people know Los Angeles, California as one of the creative capitals of the world. While the arts and content creation definitely contribute to the city’s massive GDP, there is a lot more to the City of Angels than entertainment.
Some of the prime industries driving L.A.’s success include gaming, aerospace, and high-tech manufacturing. Other major manufacturing sectors for the city include work in transportation equipment, apparel, fabricated metal products, computers, and electronics,
Paris (France): $762 Billion
The historic city of Paris, France isn’t living in the past, even as it celebrates its storied history. The city has a high-tech sector that rivals many of the world’s other large metropolitan areas in terms of innovation and job creation.
Chief among its GDP-contributing industries are aerospace and defense, information technology, cosmetics, green-based product developers, healthcare and life sciences, and more. Paris is also home to a global financial center.
Chicago (Illinois): $689 Billion
The Bureau of Economic Analysis provided us with an estimate for Chicago’s massive gross domestic product. It’s not really surprising considering 36 of America’s Fortune 500 companies call the city home.
Chicago is a huge contributor to transportation, calling Boeing among its biggest contributors. It’s also home to various manufacturing, publishing, insurance, and financial trading & services sectors. If Chicago was a country it would be one of the top 20 largest countries in the world based solely on GDP.
Osaka–Kobe (Japan): $681 Billion
Nintendo and Panasonic call the Osaka area home and it’s not really a surprise given the city’s massive focus on high-tech goods and services. Seeking out a job in the area will likely lead you down a path towards gaming, pharmaceuticals, general electrical equipment, or the chemicals industry.
Much like Tokyo, Osaka has managed to stay ahead of the times by constantly innovating ahead of many worldwide competitors in the same sectors.
London (UK): $650 Billion
London is home to various large-scale industries including media, creative, manufacturing, and technology. While those industries all contribute nicely to the city’s GDP, it’s the financial markets that dominate much of London’s success.
London is a worldwide epicenter for banking, underwriting, markets trading, and other services that focus on wealth services. Just walk the square mile and you’ll find the likes of the Bank of England and the London Stock Exchange, among many other important financial institutions.
San Francisco (United States): $548 Billion
San Francisco’s GDP is attributable to many factors. Just tourism alone is said to contribute $8.4 billion annually while supporting approximately 71,000 jobs. The city’s relationship with Silicon Valley has made it an epicenter for technological advancements in health care, internet technologies, automotive, and many other industries.
Aerospace and defense are huge industries in San Francisco and the surrounding silicon valley area where the likes of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Lockheed maintain major research and development locations.
Shanghai (China): $538 Billion
The city of Shanghai in China experienced an economic boom in a 10 year period as it increased its GPD by focusing on various tertiary industries.
The city owes much of its massive wealth to various industries that include finance, insurance, international trade, communications, real estate, communications, and technology. In recent years, the city has increasingly focused on high-tech endeavors such as advances in “electronic information products, automobiles, petrochemicals, fine steel, equipment, and bio-medicine” which now account for 68.5% of the cities output according to Dezan Shire & Associates.
Washington, D.C. (United States): $484 Billion
It’s probably not a shock to learn that Washington, D.C.’s biggest industry is the federal government. However, it’s also an area with a lot of global influence and that has led to companies flocking to the area in the hopes of gaining favor with politicians and world leaders.
Among Washington, D.C.’s biggest industries are professional services, hospitality and tourism, healthcare and life sciences, real estate and construction, retail, and technology.
Dallas–Fort Worth (United States): $468 Billion
We know a lot of people think of Dallas and think oil. In reality, much of the oil and gas industry long ago moved to Houston. Instead, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has become a big and rapidly growing sector for high-tech businesses.
Three of the largest industries in Dallas-Forth Worth are financial services, defense, and technology. With help from the telecom industry and the banking sector, Dallas remains one of the fastest-growing cities in America.
Houston (United States): $490 Billion
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) places the GDP of Houston, Texas at approximately $490 billion. As a top 10 U.S. city based on its gross domestic product, the city has a lot to offer.
As previously mentioned, the oil and energy exploration industry is a huge sector of the Houston economy. However, the city has also continued to diversify with a growing focus on healthcare, biomedical research, and aerospace technologies.
Beijing (China): $427 Billion
If you’ve considered visiting China, we’re willing to bet Beijing is on your list. The city benefits from a massive tourism industry that generates billions of dollars a year in revenue. While tourism is a nice way to add to the city’s bottom line, it’s also heavily involved in various high-income generating sectors.
Major industries in Beijing include electronics, automobiles, chemicals, machinery, textiles, household appliances, and the textile industry, among other industry focuses.
Boston (United States): $412 Billion
Boston is a major metropolitan area with a focus on various industries that span the gamut of potential moneymaking ventures.
On the one hand, the city is home to a robust and capable commercial fishing and food processing sector. On the other, it’s also a high-tech center that prides itself on its research and development industry along with medicine, education, and printing and publishing industries. It does hurt that students from MIT and Harvard often flock to Boston to begin their careers following graduation.
São Paulo (Brazil): $407 Billion
São Paulo is a diverse city and its focus on various sectors that fuel the city’s GDP is just as diverse. The city is specifically very focused on telecommunications, the automotive industry, banking, pharmaceuticals, beauty and cosmetics, fashion, and electronic appliances.
Industry estimates have claimed that by 2025 São Paulo will become the sixth richest industry in the world and its recent explosion in growth appears to be confirming those estimates.
Philadelphia (United States): $388 Billion
Nielsen Media Research estimates that the GDP of Philadelphia is $388 billion. The city is a major metro area that offers opportunities that start even before entering the workforce with its focus on higher education.
Outside of education, Philly is home to numerous manufacturing businesses, oil refining, and food processing. The city has also jumped on the tech bandwagon with focuses in biotechnology, healthcare, telecom, and financial services. Philadelphia is also a tourism hotspot that adds to the cities overall GDP to the tune of $7.1 billion.
Seattle (United States): $392 Billion
The massive $392 billion GDP of Seattle is partially powered by clean technologies and technological advances that have made the city one of the wealthiest in the world. One of the top industries in Seattle, and something to be incredibly proud of, is clean technology.
The city is also among the leaders in maritime-based initiatives. Seattle’s GDP is also pushed forward thanks to life sciences and global health research and development. It’s not a surprise with the likes of Amazon calling the city home that it’s also a leader in information technology while offering a robust startup culture.
Atlanta (United States): $385 Billion
Atlanta, Georgia is a diverse area with a range of industries that have helped the city creep ever closer to a half a billion-dollar GDP. The city is largely known as the headquarters for Delta Airlines but it offers so much more.
Atlanta is home to a healthy finance sector and features numerous opportunities in healthcare and biomedical research and development, media and communications, film and television, and logistics. Home Depot is also headquartered in the city and serves as one of its largest employers.
Nagoya (Japan): $368 billion
With a population of just over 2 million people, Nagoya is a relatively small city on our list but it’s also one of the largest in terms of GDP. Nagoya’s estimated GDP is $368 billion.
The city is focused on several industries including automotive, fine ceramics, and aerospace. Companies calling the city home include Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Noritake. The area also has a very healthy machine tooling industry.
Hong Kong (Hong Kong): $362 Billion
Like almost every city on our list, the wealth of Hong Kong is largely derived from a handful of industries. The city is best known for its financial services, trading and logistics, and professional services.
With its strategic location, Hong Kong is often used as the main outpost for business leaders looking to conduct business in the surrounding areas, specifically in China. Tourism, one of the cities four biggest industries, has witnessed a decline in recent years which could affect its bottom line in the years to come.