Silicon Valley Could be the Second Richest Country in the World

SAN JOSE, CA – APRIL 17: The Guadalupe River Park provides hikers a respite from the concrete jungle of downtown San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, April 17, 2019. The area will get much more use in the future with Google’s forthcoming campus. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
SAN JOSE, CA – APRIL 17: The Guadalupe River Park provides hikers a respite from the concrete jungle of downtown San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, April 17, 2019. The area will get much more use in the future with Google’s forthcoming campus. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

If Silicon Valley was its own country, its per-person GDP would make it the second richest in the world, just behind oil-producing Qatar.

The Republic of Silicon Valley — more specifically the San Jose metropolitan area, which includes Palo Alto, Mountain View, Gilroy and the headquarters of some of the world’s most valuable public companies — had a per-person gross domestic product of $128,308 in 2017, the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

That’s about $66 (roughly the cost of one Chromecast Ultra from Mountain View-based Google) less than Qatar’s per-person GDP of $128,374 in 2017, as measured by The World Bank and adjusted for the difference in cost of living from country to country. Next highest is Macao, a semi-autonomous region in China best known for its resorts and casinos, with a per-person GDP of $115,123. Other rich countries, according to this measure, include Luxembourg, Singapore and Ireland.

So how do Silicon Valley and Qatar compare?

Qatar is an absolute monarchy on the Arabian Peninsula with a population of about 2.36 million whose top exports include liquified natural gas, petroleum and the Al-Jazeera news network. Qatar’s total GDP of almost $167 billion is the 54th highest in the world, lower than Iraq and higher than Hungary.

Silicon Valley has a yet-to-be-determined type of government — perhaps an AI technocracy — and a population of almost 2 million. Its top exports include Google, Apple products and Stanford graduates. Its total GDP of $275 billion would be the 42nd highest in the world, lower than Chile and higher than Finland. The United States’ total GDP remains the world’s highest at $19.48 trillion, according to The World Bank. On its own, California was the fifth largest economy at $2.79 trillion in 2017, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, less than Germany but more than India.

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SOURCE: LEONARDO CASTAÑEDA
Bay Area News Group