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Which U.S. State Has The Highest Gross Domestic Product?

By Edited May 26, 2016 1 0

The United States has a behemoth economy, which is made up of so many sectors. Out of them all, which U.S. state really has the largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The answer is California.


California has the 8th largest economy in the world and is equivalent to being the 34th most populous country (if it were a separate nation). Its GDP is approximately $2.2 trillion, making it the largest in the United States. California is responsible for around 13 percent of the United States' approximate $17 trillion GDP. California has a larger GDP than Australia, Canada, India, Italy, Spain, and Russia.

The five largest sectors of employment in California consist of transportation, aerospace, trade, electric/gas utilities, government/business services, education, hospitality and health services. California's economy is extraordinarily dependent on international related commerce and trade. Both make up about a quarter of the state's economy. In 2008, California exported almost $145 billion worth of goods. This number has been up from $130 billion in 2007. California's top exports consist of electronics, which make up almost half of the state's exports.


At least half of the fruit produced in the United States is now grown in California. The state also leads the nation in the production of vegetables. Agriculture is not just an important sector of the overall American economy, but is also a major part of California's economy. Since the early 1970s, the farming industry quadrupled in size. The USDA stated that California's largest agricultural products consist of grapes, almonds and milk. Furthermore, the state also produces large quantities of wine. All of these products enable California to profit immensely from this sector and keep employment levels stable, especially because of constant increasing worldwide demand.


In 2010, more than 650,000 millionaires resided in California, more than any other state in the nation. California residents were also ranked first among the states with the best average credit score. These are all positive indicators which show that California's residents have the funds available in order to establish businesses and purchase homes (these numbers have improved significantly after the 2008 financial crisis) .

Since it is the most populous U.S. state (with more than 35 million residents), California is one of the country's largest energy consumers. Due to the high electricity demand, California imports more electricity than any other state. Most of the state's hydroelectric power is derived from states in the Pacific Northwest. The state is a leader in renewable energy sources as well. The state government past many laws so that companies in the state have to move towards clean energy goals faster than other U.S. states. The legislation calls for more solar, wind, thermoelectric, and hydropower.[1]


California also has large amounts of oil and gas, which has convinced many oil and gas companies to drill more aggressively. On the other hand, the state also has nuclear power plants which produce significant amounts of electricity. There has been some concern over the plants, especially if an earthquake were to ever occur. There have been recent bans on the construction of new nuclear power plants and a movement to shut down the existing ones. Several counties in California already declared themselves as nuclear-free zones.

California’s economy has grown significantly over the past several decades. It has some of the most important sectors which have contributed greatly to the growth of the nation as a whole. Over time, California will continue to see new areas of growth, especially in the medical and technology fields. There is no doubt that California’s economy isn't just a U.S. state with the highest GDP, but it is a U.S. state that helped contribute to making the U.S. as successful as it is.



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  1. Kevin Starr California: A History (Modern Library Chronicles) . Los Angeles : Modern Library; Reprint edition, 2007.

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