Atlanta as Finland: An interesting chart

I’ve spent the morning working on some longer pieces which I’ll post later this week, but in the meantime here’s an interesting chart courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (you may have read this article about the mayors’ complaints last week to President Obama about the ineffectiveness of the stimulus). The chart below is taken from page 3 of these charts.

economies_citiesThis chart shows the economic size of various American metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) relative to entire nations. It would also be interesting to see this done on a per capita basis: Finland and Ireland, the two European countries just above and below the Atlanta-Sandy Springs MSA, are in the same population range as metro Atlanta (four million to five million). So, there wouldn’t be much difference. The New York City MSA, on the other hand, has a population of about 19 million [note: this figure corrected from original text] — versus 33 million in Canada and more than 1.1 billion in India.

I’ll expect a cut of any bar bets won with this information…

12 comments Add your comment

Andre Abramovich

January 25th, 2010
2:53 pm

It is looking at the Metro area in the chart, not the population of the New York city limits which is about 8.3 million. The metro area has over 20 million.

Billy Bob

January 25th, 2010
3:41 pm

Kyle, where do you think the Valdosta/Hahira/Troupville MSA would rank? Would the fact that the Dairy Queen closed down impact our ranking?

My ding dong itches

January 25th, 2010
5:10 pm


January 25th, 2010
5:17 pm

I am not sure what to gleen from this other than the US is in very good shape. However our GDP could lose an amount equal to Japan’s economy in size, and still look like kings of the hill when in fact we would be in deep trouble.

On the local level I would say metro Atlanta faired poorly. Since Finland and Ireland are measures of the entire country, versus Atlanta who is just a metro area measurment it would stand to reason that Atlanta should be higher.


January 25th, 2010
6:37 pm

If you divide GDP by population (GDP per person), then I believe Sweden and Norway have the highest annual average GDP per person in the world ($50,000 U.S. a year). Also, the GDP of the U.S. is projected to be about $17.5 trillion by Fiscal Year 2013, an increase of about $3.3 trillion-or an average of a little more than $800 billion a year-from FY 2009. America’s GDP has grown under every President since Franklin Roosevelt (Herbert Hoover was the last President that GDP shrank under). Even under our less successful Presidents (like Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush), GDP grew. Under Carter, GDP grew from $2 trillion (FY 1977) to $3.1 trillion (FY 1981). Under George H.W. Bush, GDP grew from $5.4 trillion (FY 1989) to $6.6 trillion (FY 1993). Under Ronald Reagan GDP grew from $3.1 trillion (FY 1981) to $5.4 trillion (FY 1989). Under Bll Clinton, GDP grew from $6.6 trillion (FY 1993) to $10.1 trillion (FY 2001). And, under George W. Bush, GDP grew from $10.1 trillion (FY 2001) to $14.2 trillion (FY 2009). Under each successive President GDP has grown by a higher average every year. Under Jimmy Carter, GDP grew by a liitle more than $250 billion a year (4 years). Under Ronald Reagan, GDP grew by just under $300 billion a year (8 years). Under Bush Sr., GDP grew by $300 billion a year (4 years). Under Bill Clinton, GDP grew by just under $450 billion a year (8 years). And under Bush Jr., GDP grew by just over $500 billion a year (8 years).


January 26th, 2010
7:15 am

hardly. finland has universal healthcare, the world’s best system of education and one of its highest standards of life.


January 26th, 2010
8:04 am

So a whole lot of money gets made by just a few, is that the point?

Chris Broe

January 26th, 2010
8:17 am

This chart follows exactly the rankings of smartest to dumbest dogs.

I see Atlanta don’t hunt. New York dont roll over. And Poland wont fetch.

Bad Poland.


January 26th, 2010
8:20 am

Metro ATL and Finland have nearly identical populations. So, perhaps, the interesting point is that a socialist leaning Scandanavian country performs economically just as well as a rapidly growing US sunbelt city and, arguably, manages to provide a better QOL.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

January 26th, 2010
8:23 am

Now, all morning, I’ll be singing the Monty Python song, “Finland, Finland, Finland.” Not the Sibelius tune.

Billy Bob

January 26th, 2010
9:13 am

bo, here’s why the Fins have been doin’ well of late -

Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialization, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. Thereafter, economic development was rapid, and the country reached the world’s top (per capita) income levels in the 1970s. Between 1970 and 1990, Finland built an extensive welfare state. In the aftermath of the country’s severe depression in the early 1990s, successive governments have changed the Finnish economic system through some privatisation, deregulation, and tax cuts.

They must have taken a page from the Reagan playbook.


January 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

check their income tax rate before invoking reagan. i lived there, i know. bo got it right.