Here's the Biggest Export From Each U.S. State
By Emily Petsko
The world is more interconnected then ever before, and for more than a quarter of U.S. states, international travel is directly fueling business back home.
Airplanes are the top international export in 17 states, making them the most common product to appear on a map of the biggest export from each state in the country last year.
Created by Howmuch.net using 2017 Census Bureau data, the map groups exports into color-coded categories. Machinery and transportation appear most frequently (in blue), but precious stones and metals, medicine, electronics, food, and fuel are also major industries.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top export in several regions is determined by geography. Three states in the South—Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi—are rich in petroleum oil, while three Mid-Atlantic states—Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania—are major coal exporters. Out West, Nevada and Utah have struck gold.
The state that is most dependent on exports is Washington (airplanes, largely thanks to Boeing), followed by Texas and Louisiana (both petroleum oil), New York (diamonds), and Kentucky (airplanes).
It's also worth noting that although the tiny district of Washington, D.C. is the only region whose main export is ammunition, the industry accounts for $336 million—more than half of what its next-door neighbor, Maryland, makes from airplane manufacturing.
There are a few surprises on the list, too. Maine's lobsters are world famous, but as a $326 million industry, they can't compete with Minnesota's medical needles, which are worth more than twice that. And while Idaho is known for potatoes, its greatest export isn't that kind of chip: The northwestern state is in the business of electronic equipment, primarily memory chips and electronic integrated circuits.