Mapped: The Top U.S. Exports by State
The U.S. exported over $1.3 trillion in goods in 2020, the second-highest amount worldwide.
While refined petroleum was the top export overall at $58.4 billion, aircraft exports were actually the highest across 14 states—more than any other form of export.
This infographic from OnDeck shows America’s top exports by state, using January 2022 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
America’s Top Exports, by Category
As shown below, Florida, Kansas, and numerous other states all have aircraft (and related parts) as their top export.
Here is the top export category for each state, using 2020 figures.
|South Dakota||Brewing Dregs|
|New Mexico||Data Processing Parts|
|North Dakota||Light Oils|
|Rhode Island||Precious Metal|
|North Carolina||Vaccines and Antibodies|
While the vast majority of the aerospace and defense industry consists of civil aerospace exports, America has also played a significant role in exports of military aircraft. Between 2000-2020, these were worth $99.6 billion, the highest in the world ahead of Russia’s $61.5 billion in military exports. This becomes less surprising when you consider that a new fighter jet can often come with a $100 million price tag.
But there were many different, and more interesting, exports. South Dakota’s top export is none other than brewing dregs, which is the sediment found in brewing beer. The largest importers of these dregs are Mexico, Vietnam, and South Korea. Often, dregs are sold to farmers for use in animal feed.
Meanwhile, the top export for Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois is medicine, while North Carolina has vaccines and antibodies as a top export. In 2020, the U.S. exported over $46 billion in goods critical to combating COVID-19, the second-highest after China ($105 billion).
As the largest exporter of oil in America, Texas produces over 5 million barrels of oil each day, or 1.7 billion annually. Mississippi’s top export was also petroleum, while light oil was the top export in Minnesota and North Dakota. Overall, oil makes up roughly 10% of U.S. exports annually.
The Most Unique Exports, by State
While oil, medicine, and aircraft are the usual suspects for America’s top exports, here are the most idiosyncratic exports for each state. These are defined as those which are exported by the smallest number of other states.
Arkansas is the top exporter of rice in America, with the industry valued at $722 million. The rice industry in Arkansas began to grow substantially in the early 1900s, and expanded even more rapidly during World War I & II.
New York, on the other hand, exports more sculptures than any other state thanks to being the epicenter of the art world. The U.S. exported over $12 billion in art and antiques in 2019.
Lobster is the most unique export in Maine, known for its characteristically large claws. The north coast of Maine offers cool waters which lend themselves to more tender and sweeter lobster fare.
Finally, Massachusetts exports quahog pearls, known for their uneven texture and mosaic pattern, found across Cape Cod.
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point since Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point in six years.
Gallup began its survey on media trust in 1972, repeating it in 1974 and 1976. After a long period, the public opinion firm restarted the polls in 1997 and has asked Americans about their confidence level in the mass media—newspapers, TV, and radio—almost every year since then.
The above graphic illustrates Gallup’s latest poll results, conducted in September 2023.
Americans’ Trust in Mass Media, 1972-2023
Americans’ confidence in the mass media has sharply declined over the last few decades.
|Trust in the mass media||% Great deal/Fair amount||% Not very much||% None at all|
In 2016, the number of respondents trusting media outlets fell below the tally of those who didn’t trust the media at all. This is the first time that has happened in the poll’s history.
That year was marked by sharp criticism of the media from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In 2017, the use of the term ‘fake news’ rose by 365% on social media, and the term was named the word of the year by dictionary publisher Collins.
The Lack of Faith in Institutions and Social Media
Although there’s no single reason to explain the decline of trust in the traditional media, some studies point to potential drivers.
According to Michael Schudson, a sociologist and historian of the news media and a professor at the Columbia Journalism School, in the 1970s, faith in institutions like the White House or Congress began to decline, consequently impacting confidence in the media.
“That may have been a necessary corrective to a sense of complacency that had been creeping in—among the public and the news media—that allowed perhaps too much trust: we accepted President Eisenhower’s lies about the U-2 spy plane, President Kennedy’s lies about the ‘missile gap,’ President Johnson’s lies about the war in Vietnam, President Nixon’s lies about Watergate,”
Michael Schudson – Columbia Journalism School
More recently, the internet and social media have significantly changed how people consume media. The rise of platforms such as X/Twitter and Facebook have also disrupted the traditional media status quo.
Partisans’ Trust in Mass Media
Historically, Democrats have expressed more confidence in the media than Republicans.
Democrats’ trust, however, has fallen 12 points over the past year to 58%, compared with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents.
According to Gallup, Republicans’ low confidence in the media has little room to worsen, but Democrat confidence could still deteriorate and bring the overall national reading down further.
The poll also shows that young Democrats have less confidence in the media than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group.
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