One of the eye-popping financial figures being much talked about in the New York City media over the past few days is the Straphangers Campaign‘s report (PDF) that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority‘s debt, currently $34.1 billion, is greater than the national debt of 30 countries.
A sobering figure indeed.
But that got me to thinking: how many countries have GDPs smaller than the MTA’s debt? And I have an answer:
That’s right: 102 sovereign nations have an economic output smaller than the MTA’s current debt.
If we follow the Straphangers Campaign’s lead and exclude nations with a GDP smaller than U.S. $10 billion, that still leaves us with a lengthy list of 45 countries:
Billions of U.S. $
|Trinidad & Tobago||27.8|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||21.3|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||19.4|
|Papua New Guinea||14.8|
Looking at the full list of 102, the MTA’s debt is greater than the combined GDP of the bottom 28 nations ($34.1 billion versus $32.1 billion).
The full spreadsheet with all the nations and GDP data can be found here.
These figures were reported in the June 2014 Metro Economies Report (PDF) issued by The United States Conference of Mayors. The report was prepared by IHS Global Insight. The original report included a few “nations” I have excluded here, including American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which I consider to be a part of the United States, and the French overseas departments of French Guiana, Martinique, and Réunion, which are a part of France.
Photo: Fulton Center, the stunning new subway station that opened in November 2014 in Lower Manhattan, cost $1.4 billion to construct—more than the GDP of 18 countries.