What if Scotland Were a U.S. State?By
Next week, the people of Scotland will vote on whether to remain a part of the U.K. or do what Americans did 238 years ago—declare their independence.
Although recent polls suggest the Scots will choose to stick by the Queen, an upset is at least enough of a possibility that British Prime Minister David Cameron is campaigning to prevent it. If Scotland became independent, that change could have a significant impact on the economy of the U.K.
To put into perspective what the loss of Scotland might feel like to the U.K., let’s think about the country as if it were a U.S. state. Scotland’s gross domestic product was about $211 billion in 2013. That puts it right in the middle of the pack among the 50 states.
However, Scotland means a great deal more to the U.K. than most states do to the broader U.S. The Scottish economy accounted for about 8.4 percent of the U.K.’s GDP last year. Only Texas (8.9 percent) and California (13.2 percent) accounted for a larger share of the U.S. economy.
On a per capita basis, Scotland is far poorer than most states in the union. In 2013, the country had a GDP per capita of about $39,100. That’s about on par with Arkansas.
On the other hand, Scotland is growing—and much faster than Arkansas. The country’s GDP grew 3.3 percent last year. Only eight U.S. states reported faster growth.