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California's economy (maybe) moves to world's sixth largest

A favorite bragging right of California politicians is how the state would fare were it to be its own country. On Tuesday, a new report concluded that it would be the sixth largest on the planet -- depending, though, on how one looks at it.

Data from the International Monetary Fund shows California's gross domestic product (GDP) at more than $2.4 trillion in 2015, the only state of its kind in a list that's reserved for nations.

California's spot on the list has fluctuated over the past decade, generally somewhere between the fifth and eighth largest world economies.

And as the independent Legislative Analyst's Office pointed out on Tuesday, GDP growth in California between 2014 and 2015 far outpaced that of other states.

But as LAO researchers also pointed out, the global GDP numbers that suggest California's economy as sixth largest in the world don't take into account something of huge importance: The cost of living.

Once that's factored in, the IMF data finds California drops from sixth to eleventh in the global size of its gross domestic product. That still eclipses other U.S. states, but is some important context for politicians who might be freshening up their talking points.


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