Mapped: The Top Export in Every Country
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Today, exports make up roughly 25% of total global production.
One of the common influences on these exports, unsurprisingly, is oil. In fact, petroleum is the top export across over 50 nations, and along with many other resource-driven materials makes up a sizable share of the global export market. Since 2000, the total value of all exported global trade of goods and services has tripled to $19.5 trillion.
This infographic from HowMuch.net shows the top export in every country by value, according to the most recent global data from 2018.
Top Exports, by Region
Let’s dive into some particular regions, to see how top exports can vary:
In the U.S. petroleum outpaces all other exports, with crude oil accounting for 35% of total petroleum exports. Canada too, lists petroleum at the top.
|Saint Pierre and Quelon||Crustaceans|
With a market valued at $50.7 billion, Mexico’s top export is cars—making it the fourth largest exporter worldwide.
From Egypt to Senegal, Africa has a diverse spectrum of exports. Primarily, these are resource-driven, with the top five exports being petroleum, gold, diamonds, natural gas, and coal.
|Central African Republic||Wood|
|Cote D'Ivoire||Cocoa Beans|
|Dijibouti||Sheep and goats|
|Somalia||Sheep and goats|
|South African Customs Union||Gold|
Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s top export is coffee, shipping nearly $1 billion alone in 2018. Similarly, off the east coast, Madagascar is the world’s largest producer of vanilla.
While petroleum is also a dominant export across many countries in Asia, the region’s export landscape is a lot more tech-focused.
In South Korea, electronic circuits are the largest export. Samsung, headquartered in Seoul, is a major supplier to Apple for multiple electronic components. With one of the highest export ratios in Asia, 40% of South Korea’s economic output is derived from its export market.
Here are the top exports across other Asian countries.
|Br. Indian Ocean Terr.||Fish|
|Hong Kong SAR||Gold|
|South Korea||Electronic circuits|
|State of Palestine||Stones|
In Afghanistan, grapes are the top export, valued at $237 million. Almost one-fifth of Afghanistan’s exports come from the grape industry.
Across the European continent, the automotive industry stands out as a primary driver of exports, with 14 countries having cars or vehicles as their most exported good.
In fact, in 2019, the European Union exported a total of 5.6 million motor vehicles. Of these, 28% were shipped to the U.S. and 16.5% to China.
|Bosnia Herzegovina||Electrical energy|
|TFYR of Macedonia||Reaction initiators|
The Balkan nation of Albania has footwear as its top export. Overall, nearly 80% of the nation’s GDP relies on goods and services exports.
France, on the other hand, has airplanes as its highest export while Italy and Denmark’s highest are drugs. Italy is the top producer of pharmaceuticals in Europe, an industry which employs 66,500 across the country. Globally, it makes up 2.8% of pharmaceutical sales.
Due to its cheap electricity prices, companies have flocked to Iceland to produce aluminum. Iceland’s dams, which generate power from glacial water, produce electricity as much as 30% cheaper than in America.
Latin America & the Caribbean Islands
Like other regions, petroleum stands out as a key export in countries across Latin America.
Take Venezuela. With the largest oil reserves in the world, its oil exports were valued at $90 billion annually ten years ago. Since the pandemic, however, earnings are projected to reach just a fraction of this total—only $2.3 billion this year.
Along with this, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on president Nicolás Maduro and Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA, causing oil exports to slump to their lowest point in nearly 80 years.
|Antigua and Barbuda||Cruise ships|
|British Virgin Islands||Yachts|
|Costa Rica||Medical instruments|
|Falkland Is. (Malvinas)||Molluscs|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||Transmission apparatus|
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
|Trinidad and Tobago||Petroleum|
|Turks and Caicos Is.||Petroleum|
For Caribbean nations, unsurprisingly, many top exports in this region are linked to tourism.
Cruise ships stood out as a primary export in the Bahamas, while yachts were most significant in the Cayman Islands. However, due to the pandemic, many of these national economies are at heightened risk, with some economies across the region projected to contract 10% in 2020.
Finally, in Oceania, Australia had coal as it’s top export in 2018 (though it has since switched to iron ore in 2019), while New Zealand sends milk abroad.
For many of the smaller islands throughout the Pacific, it can be seen that fish, cruise ships, water, and yachts are key exports.
The Future of Trade
Now, COVID-19 and a host of other factors are changing the way the world trades. Unexpected shocks, trade wars, the carbon footprint, and labor standards are influencing firms to build more resilient supply chains.
According to The Economist, it’s estimated that over the next five years that 16-26% of exported goods production could shift locations.
Made in America: Goods Exports by State
The U.S. exported $1.8 trillion worth of goods in 2021. This infographic looks at where that trade activity took place across the nation.
Made in America: Goods Exports by State
After China, the U.S. is the next largest exporter of goods in the world, shipping out $1.8 trillion worth of goods in 2021—an increase of 23% over the previous year.
Of course, that massive number doesn’t tell the whole story. The U.S. economy is multifaceted, with varying levels of trade activity taking place all across the nation.
Using the latest data on international trade from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, we’ve visualized the value of America’s goods exports by state.
Top 10 Exporter States
Here are the top 10 American states that exported the highest dollar value worth of goods during 2021. Combined, these export-leading states represent 59.4% of the nation’s total exports.
|Rank||State||Total Exports Value||% share|
|#3||New York||$84.9 billion||4.8%|
|#10||New Jersey||$49.5 billion||2.8%|
|Top 10 States||$1.04 trillion||59.4%|
Texas has been the top exporting state in the U.S. for an incredible 20 years in a row.
Last year, Texas exported $375 billion worth of goods, which is more than California ($175 billion), New York ($85 billion), and Louisiana ($77 billion) combined. The state’s largest manufacturing export category is petroleum and coal products, but it’s also important to mention that Texas led the nation in tech exports for the ninth straight year.
California was the second highest exporter of goods in 2021 with a total value of $175 billion, an increase of 12% from the previous year. The state’s main export by value was computer and electronic product manufacturing, representing 17.8% of the total U.S. exports of that industry. California was also second among all states in exports of machinery manufacturing, accounting for 13.9% of the U.S. total.
What Type of Goods are Exported?
Here is a breakdown of the biggest U.S. export categories by value in 2021.
|Rank||Product Group||Annual Export Value (2021)||Share of Total Exports|
|1||Mineral fuels including oil||$239.8 billion||13.7%|
|2||Machinery including computers||$209.3 billion||11.9%|
|3||Electrical machinery, equipment||$185.4 billion||10.6%|
|5||Optical, technical, medical apparatus||$91.7 billion||5.2%|
|6||Aircraft, spacecraft||$89.1 billion||5.1%|
|7||Gems, precious metals||$82.3 billion||4.7%|
|9||Plastics, plastic articles||$74.3 billion||4.2%|
|10||Organic chemicals||$42.9 billion||2.4%|
These top 10 export categories alone represent almost 70% of America’s total exports.
The biggest grower among this list is mineral fuels, up by 59% from last year. Pharmaceuticals saw the second biggest one-year increase (45%).
Top 10 U.S. Exports by Country of Destination
So who is buying “Made in America” products?
Unsurprisingly, neighboring countries Canada (17.5%) and Mexico (15.8%) are the two biggest buyers of American goods. Together, they purchase one-third of American exports.
|Rank||Destination Country||Share of U.S. Goods Exports|
|5||🇰🇷 South Korea||3.7%|
|7||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||3.5%|
Three Asian countries round out the top five list: China (8.6%), Japan (4.3%), and South Korea (3.7%). Together, the top five countries account for around half of all goods exports.
Visualizing Global Income Distribution Over 200 Years
How has global income distribution changed over history? Below, we show three distinct periods since the Industrial Revolution.
Visualizing Global Income Distribution Over 200 Years
Has the world become more unequal?
With COVID-19 disrupting societies and lower-income countries in particular, social and economic progress made over the last decade is in danger of being reversed. And with rising living costs and inflation across much of the world, experts warn that global income inequality has been exacerbated.
But the good news is that absolute incomes across many poorer countries have significantly risen over the last century of time. And though work remains, poverty levels have fallen dramatically in spite of stark inequality.
To analyze historical trends in global income distribution, this infographic from Our World in Data looks at three periods over the last two centuries. It uses economic data from 1800, 1975, and 2015 compiled by Hans and Ola Rosling.
For global income estimates, data was gathered by country across three key variables:
- GDP per capita
- Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality by statistical distribution
Daily incomes were measured in a hypothetical “international-$” currency, equal to what a U.S. dollar would buy in America in 2011, to allow for comparable incomes across time periods and countries.
Historical Patterns in Global Income Distribution
In 1800, over 80% of the world lived in what we consider extreme poverty today.
At the time, only a small number of countries—predominantly Western European countries, Australia, Canada and the U.S.—saw meaningful economic growth. In fact, research suggests that between 1 CE and 1800 CE the majority of places around the world saw miniscule economic growth (only 0.04% annually).
By 1975, global income distribution became bimodal. Most citizens in developing countries lived below the poverty line, while most in developed countries lived above it, with incomes nearly 10 times higher on average. Post-WWII growth was unusually rapid across developed countries.
Fast forward just 40 years to 2015 and world income distribution changed again. As incomes rose faster in poorer countries than developed ones, many people were lifted out of poverty. Between 1975 and 2015, poverty declined faster than at any other time. Still, steep inequality persisted.
A Tale of Different Economic Outputs
Even as global income distribution has started to even out, economic output has trended in the opposite direction.
As the above interactive chart shows, GDP per capita was much more equal across regions in the 19th century, when it sat around $1,100 per capita on a global basis. Despite many people living below the poverty line during these times, the world also had less wealth to go around.
Today, the global average GDP per capita sits at close to $15,212 or about 14 times higher, but it is not as equally distributed.
At the highest end of the spectrum are Western and European countries. Strong economic growth, greater industrial output, and sufficient legal institutions have helped underpin higher GDP per capita numbers. Meanwhile, countries with the lowest average incomes have not seen the same levels of growth.
This highlights that poverty, and economic prosperity, is heavily influenced by where one lives.
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