Monday, February 13, 2012

Abu Dhabi: the Hartford of the Gulf?

The Brookings Global MetroMonitor 2011 includes a ranking of the world's 200 largest metropolitan economies by per capita GDP:
  1. Hartford $75,086
  2. Oslo $74,057
  3. San Jose $68,141
  4. Abu Dhabi $63,859
  5. Bridgeport $63,555
Take that, Oslo!  We're #1!!

We're #1?!?  Really?!

That comes to my attention via this report from the Courant, which notes that we don't do quite that well in other rankings.  For example, according to the BEA, among the 52 US "Metropolitan Statistical Areas" with more than 1 million people, the top five in terms of per capita real GDP (in 2005$) are:
  1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV   $68,283
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA    $68,008
  3. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT     $65,031
  4. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH    $62,395
  5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA    $60,859
(out of all 366 US MSA's, Hartford ranks 10th; to convert to 2011$, multiply by 1.1133).

Looking at the Brookings report, its not clear exactly how to account for the discrepancy - they cite Moody's Analytics as their data source for the US, though Moody's estimates are based on BEA data.  One of the report's footnotes says:
Moody's Analytics estimates GDP by metropolitan area as the sum of the GDP of component counties.  The GDP by county, estimated or forecasted, is obtained through allocating U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis' state GDP to component counties based on the counties' share of employment in the state employment.
Hmm... that sounds like that might have the effect of smoothing income disparities within states, which would make Hartford appear even better off than it is because of the very high per capita GDP of the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk MSA ($82,449) which in the same state (that number also explains why "Bridgeport" appears in Brookings' list - it shares an MSA with some very high income areas).

In any case, though the streets aren't paved in gold (or maybe we just put asphalt over the gold to avoid seeming ostentatious...), the Hartford area comes out pretty well no matter how you slice the economic statistics.  And there's good pizza, we get the Boston AND New York sports channels on TV, and you're never far from Dunkin' Donuts...

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