Every State’s Most Valuable Export – 24/7 Wall St.


Eighty feet below lower Manhattan is a massive vault containing, as of 2019, nearly half a million gold bars. What looks like a setup for a heist movie is in real life the basement of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where U.S. and foreign governments, other central banks, and some international organizations securely store their gold assets.

Due to New York City’s central role in maintaining custody of much of the world’s raw gold reserves, these bars of metal are New York State’s most valuable export. For example, in 2013 so much gold stored near Wall Street flowed back to South Africa that it caused a temporary $689 million trade deficit with the United States.

Two other states – Nevada and Utah – have gold as their main export, but for a different reason – they have gold mines. In Utah, gold from these mines accounted for about 46% of the state’s total export value last year, more than its other major export categories: medical devices, prepared foods and auto parts.

To determine the top export by state, 24/7 Wall St. looked at export data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s U.S. Online Commerce Platform. Products, as identified by the Harmonized System categorization method, have been classified according to their total export value, measured by their origin (rather than where they left the country), in 2021 (The Harmonized System includes over 5,000 product groups, each identified by a 6-digit code. We have chosen the 4-digit level of detail.)

The top export category for 11 states, including Kentucky, Arkansas and Connecticut, is civil aircraft, which accounts for between 13% and 29% of the value of these states’ total exports. In nine states, fossil fuels are their main export products, including three coal-producing states, Montana, Virginia and West Virginia.

More than $62 billion worth of crude oil was exported from Texas last year, accounting for nearly 17% of all exports from the nation’s second-largest state by population and geographic size. As a major refiner, the Lone Star State’s main import is also crude oil. (These are the countries most dependent on the oil trade.)

Wyoming is the state most dependent on a single export. About 66% of its total export value comes from carbonates, such as soda ash, a vital industrial chemical ingredient. (These are large cities dominated by an industry.)

Click here for the best export from each state

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