The Top Exported Good in Each State, in One Map

The U.S. economy is diverse, with strengths in many different industries. This diversity ultimately strengthens the economy and makes it more resilient to shocks. A map of the top exports from each state illustrates this diversity.

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As a follow up to a previous blog post on state imports, we decided to look at the most exported products from each state. The map above summarizes the results of our analysis of export data from U.S Census Bureau. At first glance, there are a lot of states exporting aircraft, and to a lesser extent trucks and cars. There are also a large number of states exporting natural resources and refined fuel. Finally, there are a handful of states exporting food, medical supplies, and electronic components.

Clearly, many states are heavily dependent on revenue from aircraft exports. The U.S. is home to large number of aircraft manufacturers and, as you know, aircrafts are expensive! So, it is not surprising that aircrafts represent the highest value export for many states. Most of the exported aircrafts went to China, Japan, France, the U.K., and the U.A.E.

Similarly, natural resources and fuel play a big role in the U.S. economy. Texas and Illinois export a huge amount of gasoline/petroleum because they both have an enormous oil refining capacity (everything IS bigger in Texas). Texas exported a whopping $33,943 million in petroleum products in 2014. Other states such as North Dakota, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Montana focus mainly on mining and extracting fuel in the form of crude oil or coal, and do not have the same refining capacity as Texas or Illinois.

Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Iowa comprise the breadbasket of America, while Maine supplies the fresh lobster to the masses. Iowa and Virginia export a large amount of corn and soybeans, which are often used as animal feed and, in the case of corn, for biofuels. Within the electronics exporters, the top exports are computer chips, phones, and miscellaneous electronics. Interestingly, needles are Minnesota’s largest export. Minnesota exports needles and other medical products to Canada (its largest market) and to other countries such as China and Mexico.

As the map shows, the U.S. economy is diverse. This is good news for Americans because it makes the economy more resilient to supply or demand shocks in certain commodities.

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