Intriguing Insights About and Between U.S, India and China

The Economist uses interactive maps so creatively!  Here’s what I would like you to take a peek at.  They have compared the states or provinces of U.S., India and China to various countries based on equivalent GDP,  population or GDP per person. Can you say wow?   Well, you will, once you see these innovative maps!

They reveals some fascinating insights and also work to shatter misconceptions about the economic well-being (or not) of certain regions. I’m really trying hard here – to put this in enough words that intrigue you to click on the links below and experience the interactivity.  I hope I succeed!  This is so very, very interesting and I would hate for you to miss it. Both the content, as well as the super creative presentation of it. 

First, let’s look at the United States. To give you a taste of this, let’s take the largest state with respect to GDP – California.  Guess which country of the world its GDP is closest to? I’m going to let you find out which. Now, take one of the laggard states. Let’s see….how about Alabama? Well, its closest country in terms of GDP is Nigeria.

Big Texas is always an intriguing state.  Its GDP is equivalent of that of Russia, while it’s population resembles Saudi Arabia’s the closest.  Interesting stuff, wouldn’t you say!  And that’s just a taste of it.


Next, let’s take a look at India. It’s largest state (GDP-wise) is the same one where I live, Maharashtra. After all, it does include the financial capital of the country, Mumbai. Guess which country is closest in terms of GDP?   I’ll tell you.  This state has equivalent population to Mexico but it’s GDP compares more closely with Singapore. But then, when you take it a step further, and look at GDP per person, it compares to….Sri Lanka!

Now, don’t you want to check out the same stats for another of the Indian states?


And, then there’s Chinathe Asian Tiger, or is it dragon? Projected to overtake US as the world’s largest economy around 2020, how does it fare in all these dimensions?

The most populous province Guangdong, with almost 100 million people, most closely matches Indonesia’s population. Macau is the richest per capita with a GDP per person that matches, actually exceeds, that of Qatar.  Why?  Its population is tiny, similar to that of Solomon Islands, while it’s GDP is relatively high, matching that of Panama.

Here’s another interesting one from China – Shanghai (province=city), which is equivalent to Cameroon’s population, Finland’s GDP and Saudi Arabia’s  GDP per person.  I would say it’s doing relatively rather well.  


All in all, I just wish I had more time to delve into and play with these maps!  Some day….

But, let’s draw some quick conclusions from this data.  Of these countries, the US leads in every way, and India lags behind all three with China somewhere in the middle. While the potential of both emerging Asian countries is undisputed, there is still such a wide disparity between them (even between China & US) and the super power. Its really hard for me to fully comprehend how or when these gaps will close. As for the gap between China and India, it’s immense!

Regarding India, to quote a friend who commented on this revealing data: This also shows how great our potential is, if we invest in nurturing our human resources. Education, education, education! Now that we have the population that we do have, we should be turning this threat into our greatest opportunity.

Now, if we can continue to dream a bit longer, wouldn’t it be nice to have a reliable government who can make this happen?



Posted on August 6, 2011, in China, india, US and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. great post, those maps are really interesting! crazy to see how much gdp american states produce

    • Yes. When Americans get all depressed with the latest economic turmoil, all they have to do is to check out one of these displays to see just how far ahead the US is…despite everything! The trick is to stay ahead…

      I thought these maps were so creatively done!

  2. The maps are amazing. Thanks Maansi, what would we do without you!
    I wish they had also added the surface areas of the two entities being compared. That would provide even more insight and food for thought. For instance, according to the maps, Maharashtra’s economy is equivalent to Singapore’s. Which doesn’t hit you until you compare the areas. A quick search reveals that Maharashtra encompasses an area of 308,000 sq kms while Singapore is just 694 sq kms!

    @Maansi : “When Americans get all depressed with the latest economic turmoil, all they have to do is to check out one of these displays…”

    Interesting isn’t it, how one’s happiness has less to do with how much we have and more to do with how much we have MORE than others. Reminds me of a quote by Montesquieu…”If we only wanted to be happy it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, which is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.”

    • Why, thank you!

      I’ve known for awhile that maps (anything geospatial) can tell stories and bring new realizations like very little else (words, tables, charts,etc.). And this is truly one of the most creative uses of maps I’ve seen (I’ve seen a lot!).

      Re. my comment on America, I didn’t even realize what I had said until you pointed it out. I guess it’s true. Everything is relative. 🙂

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