Unexpectedly Intriguing!
April 25, 2005

As both an analyst and as a coder, I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting applications being put online. On occasion, I come across some really incredible or just plain neat tools that are well worth sharing. Recently, in looking at a comparison of the economic performance of the older countries of the European Union (EU) versus individual states in the United States (US), I came across a neat tool from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which allows you to create maps showing how much economic activity is generated in various industries in each state.

The following image, which was generated using the tool with some very minor editing to fit the Political Calculations(TM) site layout, shows the states divided into five groups based upon their 2002 Gross State Product (GSP) - the state equivalent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP):

2002 US Gross State Product Map

The application is really neat because you can also produce maps showing the contributions of various industries in the states to their Gross State Product. Want to create a map showing the state-by-state output of the textile industry in the US? Oil and gas extraction? Government spending? Try it out!

The weak point of this tool is that it doesn't necessarily offer the data you want. In this case, I was looking for data related to Gross State Product per Capita for each state. That meant some number crunching using an offline spreadsheet application. So after taking the individual GSP data for each state from the previous application, collecting the estimated state population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and doing the math (dividing the GSP data by the population for each state), I produced a table that looked something like the table below.

The problem though is that if I wanted to rank the individual states by their raw GSP or their per capita GSP and present it online, I would have to create several different tables, which would make for some serious scrolling for the reader. Unless, of course, I used another cool application that would dynamically do the job of ranking the data from richest to poorest or vice versa. Try it out with the table below - you may rank the data either from least to greatest or greatest to least in the table below by clicking the individual column heads:
2002 U.S. Gross State Product and Population Data
State GSP ($USD Millions) Population GSP per Capita ($USD)
Alabama 125567 4486508 27988
Alaska 29708 643786 46146
Arizona 171781 5456453 31482
Arkansas 71929 2710079 26541
California 1367785 35116033 38950
Colorado 179410 4506542 39811
Connecticut 165744 3460503 47896
Delaware 47150 807385 58398
District of Columbia 66440 570898 116378
Florida 520500 16713149 31143
Georgia 305829 8560310 35726
Hawaii 43998 1244898 35343
Idaho 38558 1341131 28750
Illinois 486139 12600620 38580
Indiana 204946 6159068 33275
Iowa 98232 2936760 33449
Kansas 89508 2715884 32957
Kentucky 122282 4092891 29877
Louisiana 131584 4482646 29354
Maine 39039 1294464 30158
Massachusetts 201879 5458137 36987
Maryland 288088 6427801 44819
Michigan 351287 10050446 34952
Minnesota 200061 5019720 39855
Mississippi 69136 2871782 24074
Missouri 187543 5672579 33061
Montana 23773 909453 26140
Nebraska 60962 1729180 35255
Nevada 81182 2173491 37351
New Hampshire 46448 1275056 36428
New Jersey 380169 8590300 44256
New Mexico 53515 1855059 28848
New York 792058 19157532 41344
North Carolina 300216 8320146 36083
North Dakota 19780 634110 31193
Ohio 388224 11421267 33991
Oklahoma 95126 3493714 27228
Oregon 115138 3521515 32696
Pennsylvania 428950 12335091 34775
Rhode Island 36988 1069725 34577
South Carolina 122354 4107183 29790
South Dakota 25003 761063 32853
Tennessee 190122 5797289 32795
Texas 773455 21779893 35512
Utah 72974 2316256 31505
Vermont 19604 616592 31794
Virginia 287589 7293542 39431
Washington 232940 6068996 38382
West Virginia 45518 1801873 25261
Wisconsin 190650 5441196 35038
Wyoming 20285 498703 40676

One item to note - in the table above, I originally used commas to separate the hundreds, thousands, millions, etc. in the format of the numbers presented. The table sorting function had problems with properly sorting the data with the commas in place, as well as any other separator I tried (spaces, periods, etc.), so the numbers are therefore presented without them.

Sources and Acknowledgements:

Gross State Product (GSP) Data: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
2002 Population Estimate: U.S. Census Bureau
Table Sorting Function: The Daily Kryogenix

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Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

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