US States Economic Performance, in a Map

The US may be classified as a rich nation, but wealth varies widely across all 50 states. We used brand-new data just released on June 10th, 2015 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis to investigate this disparity.

The map below displays the Gross State Product (GSP) per capita for each US state. States colored in dark green have the highest GSP per capita and states in yellow have the lowest. The size of each State is proportional to Real Gross Domestic Product for 2014. The new data showed that, overall, real GSP increased for 48 states and D.C. in 2014. This economic growth was mainly fueled by professional, scientific, and technical services; nondurable goods manufacturing; and real estate. Real GDP is the US grew by 2.2% in 2014, higher than the 1.9% growth in 2013.

US GDP by State

Real GSP per capita for the 50 US states ranged from $66,160 in Alaska to $31,551 in Mississippi. However, the GSP per capita in DC was far higher than in any state, at a whopping $175,253. On average, per capita real GSP in the US was $49,649 in 2014. In terms of total GSP, California produced the most value – a total of $2.31 trillion – in 2014. Vermont had the lowest GSP at just $29.6 billion.

Compared to last year’s data for 2013, North Dakota, Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming grew at a fantastic pace in 2014, while Alaska, Mississippi, and Virginia all experienced negative or zero growth. The five fastest growing states were fueled by mining activity, including oil and gas. However, mining was not a significant contributor to GDP growth for the overall economy.

The strongest contributor to GDP growth was the professional, scientific, and technical services industry. The industry grew by 4.2% in 2014 compared to 0.7% in 2013. This growth took place mostly in California, Massachusetts, and Utah, but the industry contributed to growth in 46 states.

Nondurable goods manufacturing grew by 4.2% in 2014 compared to 1.1% in 2013. The industry’s growth was mostly in the Great Lakes region, but also in Louisiana and Montana. Overall, it was a contributor to growth in 41 states.

The real estate and rental/leasing industry grew by 1.5% in 2014, down from 1.6% in 2013. The industry fueled growth in the Southeast states, but was a positive factor in 32 states (and in D.C.).

Interestingly, both the highest and lowest states in terms of GSP per capita experienced negative GSP growth rates in 2014. This goes to show that a state’s economic circumstances can quickly change.

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Data Source: Table 1. Real GDP by State, 2011-2014

Correction: A previous version of the post indicated that growth took place mostly in New England, California, Massachusetts, and Utah. New England was incorrectly included in that list and has been removed.