California is a land of plenty and poverty, a land of contrasts. According to World Bank estimates, the United States has the largest economy in the world in 2011, followed by China with a gross domestic product (GDP) less than half that of the United States. California as a state has the world’s 9th-largest economy, behind Italy. Among the 50 states, California has the largest GDP. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimated that California’s GDP was slightly less than $2 trillion in 2011. GDP is a measure for the market economy; it refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country (or a region) in a year. It demonstrates an overall wealth and standard of living.

Southern California had the ...

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