All right, it’s a cliché. But sometimes that “whole other country” can back it up—especially when you’re talking about metro areas. In his presentations about Houston, Stephen Klineberg, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, often shows slides like this to demonstrate the scale of Houston’s sprawl.

Yep. The City of Houston is larger than the combined square mileage of Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, and Chicago.

And at more than 10,000 square miles, the nine-county Houston region is larger than the entire state of New Jersey.

As the native Houstonian Queen Bey told us, “Power’s not given to you. You have to take it.” Houston, by its sheer size, vibrant diversity, and rapid population growth may do just that. At the very least, it’s already playing an increasingly important role in the South and the country’s future—from education all the way to energy. To learn more, check out our profile of the city in our State of the South report—it’s coming your way next week!

Ed. Note: This post originally appeared on MDC’s blog, The North Star.