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The Dozen Regional Powerhouses Driving the U.S. Economy

The Boston-Washington corridor, home to 18 percent of Americans, produces more economic activity than Germany.
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At night, satellite images show a string of near-constant light along the cities of the U.S. East Coast. Urban growth and sprawl have created a map where Washington blends into Baltimore, and on through Philadelphia, Trenton, New York, Hartford, Providence, and Boston.

The concept of mega-regions dates back to 1957, when the economic geographer Jean Gottman coined the term “megalopolis” to describe the emerging economic hub that stretched from Boston to D.C. The term came to be applied to a number of regions, including the vast Midwestern megalopolis that extends east from Chicago through Detroit and Cleveland and south to Pittsburgh, which Gottman dubbed “Chi-Pitts,” and many more across the United States and around the world. More than just a collection of cities or one giant city, a mega-region is greater than the sum of its parts.