Map: The Most Profitable Industry in Every U.S. State
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The Most Profitable Industry in Every U.S. State

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The Most Profitable Industry in Every U.S. State

The Most Profitable Industry in Every U.S. State

A glance the leading industries in the U.S. reveals a few surprises – and less diversity than you might think.

Today’s graphic from HowMuch.net uses data from GO Banking Rates and the U.S. Census Bureau to map out the most profitable industry in each U.S. State.

A Unique State Identity

While each U.S. state is unique in its cultural identity, the lay of the land determines which industries will thrive. Where some regions are ideal for agriculture, others have built a strong foundation of industry and research, and still others have established themselves as tourism hubs.

Whatever industry has staked its claim in your particular state, it has a direct link to your state exports and local economy.

It’s important to note that the most profitable industry is not necessarily the biggest industry in each state. The following figures are based on the value of top-selling industry products in 2017, using Harmonized System (HS) codes and U.S. Census Bureau data.

Rounding out the top five:

  1. Texas – Abundant oil supply helped the Lone Star State bring in more than $73 billion from mineral products last year.
  2. Washington – Despite a 9% drop from the previous year, aerospace still pulled in $42 billion for Washington state in 2017.
  3. California – Machinery and mechanical appliances lead the Golden State, to the tune of $27 billion.
  4. New York – Diamonds are New York’s best friend, where the precious metals and stones industry earned more than $25 billion in export sales.
  5. Louisiana – Its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico makes Louisiana a hub for mineral products, particularly oil. The industry raked in more than $23 billion in exports last year.

Diversify and Conquer

While some of these designations are nearly automatic – like fishing in Maine and Alaska – others are more surprising. Most surprising of all is the variety, or lack thereof: 50 states share a mere 11 major industries. When those industries are touched by market volatility or trade disruptions, it can prompt a ripple effect across several state economies.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of each state’s major industry, and the value of top-selling products last year:

StateMost Profitable IndustryValue of industry's top-selling products (2017)
AlabamaAutomotive$8 billion
AlaskaFishing$2.359 billion
ArizonaMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$4.27 billion
ArkansasAerospace$1.5 billion
CaliforniaMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$27 billion
ColoradoMeat$1 billion
ConnecticutAerospace$5.627 billion
DelawareAutomotive$858 million
FloridaMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$7.576 billion
GeorgiaAerospace$6.694 billion
HawaiiAerospace$370 million
IdahoMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.309 billion
IllinoisMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$5.7 billion
IndianaAutomotive$7.526 billion
IowaMeat$1.324 billion
KansasAerospace$2.565 billion
KentuckyAerospace$11.649 billion
LouisianaMineral Products$23 billion
MaineFishing$431 million
MarylandAerospace$814 million
MassachusettsPrecision Instruments$3.2 billion
MichiganAutomotive$22.735 billion
MinnesotaPrecision Instruments$2.417 billion
MississippiMineral Products$3.076 billion
MissouriAutomotive$2.234 billion
MontanaMineral Products$256 million
NebraskaMeat$1.52 billion
NevadaAccommodation and Food Services$20 billion
New HampshireMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.685 billion
New JerseyPrecious Metals, Stones, etc.$2.624 billion
New MexicoMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.835 billion
New YorkPrecious Metals, Stones, etc.$25 billion
North CarolinaMedical$3.698 billion
North DakotaMineral Products$1.814 billion
OhioAutomotive$6 billion
OklahomaMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.1 billion
OregonMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$10.125 billion
PennsylvaniaMineral Products$3.672 billion
Rhode IslandPrecious Metals, Stones, etc.$670 million
South CarolinaAutomotive$10.107 billion
South DakotaMeat$223 million
TennesseePrecision Instruments$3.425 billion
TexasMineral Products$73 billion
UtahPrecious Metals, Stones, etc.$3.714 billion
VermontMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.6 billion
VirginiaMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.5 billion
WashingtonAerospace$42.163 billion
West VirginiaMineral Products$3.261 billion
WisconsinMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.538 billion
WyomingChemicals and Allied Industries$1.25 billion

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Green

Mapped: Human Impact on the Earth’s Surface

This detailed map looks at where humans have (and haven’t) modified Earth’s terrestrial environment. See human impact in incredible detail.

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human impact on earths surface

Mapped: Human Impact on the Earth’s Surface

With human population on Earth approaching 8 billion (we’ll likely hit that milestone in 2023), our impact on the planet is becoming harder to ignore with each passing year.

Our cities, infrastructure, agriculture, and pollution are all forms of stress we place on the natural world. This map, by David M. Theobald et al., shows just how much of the planet we’ve now modified. The researchers estimate that 14.6% or 18.5 million km² of land area has been modified – an area greater than Russia.

Defining Human Impact

Human impact on the Earth’s surface can take a number of different forms, and researchers took a nuanced approach to classifying the “modifications” we’ve made. In the end, 10 main stressors were used to create this map:

  1. Built-Up Areas: All of our cities and towns
  2. Agriculture: Areas devoted to crops and pastures
  3. Energy and extractive resources: Primarily locations where oil and gas are extracted
  4. Mines and quarries: Other ground-based natural resource extraction, excluding oil and gas
  5. Power plants: Areas where energy is produced – both renewable and non-renewable
  6. Transportation and service corridors: Primarily roads and railways
  7. Logging: This measures commodity-based forest loss (excludes factors like wildfire and urbanization)
  8. Human intrusion: Typically areas adjacent to population centers and roads that humans access
  9. Natural systems modification: Primarily modifications to water flow, including reservoir creation
  10. Pollution: Phenomenon such as acid rain and fog caused by air pollution

The classification descriptions above are simplified. See the methodology for full descriptions and calculations.

A Closer Look at Human Impact on the Earth’s Surface

To help better understand the level of impact humans can have on the planet, we’ll take a closer look three regions, and see how the situation on the ground relates to these maps.

Land Use Contrasts: Egypt

Almost all of Egypt’s population lives along the Nile and its delta, making it an interesting place to examine land use and human impact.

egypt land use impact zone

The towns and high intensity agricultural land following the river stand out clearly on the human modification map, while the nearby desert shows much less impact.

Intensive Modification: Netherlands

The Netherlands has some of the heavily modified landscapes on Earth, so the way it looks on this map will come as no surprise.

netherlands land use impact zone

The area shown above, Rotterdam’s distinctive port and surround area, renders almost entirely in colors at the top of the human modification scale.

Resource Extraction: West Virginia

It isn’t just cities and towns that show up clearly on this map, it’s also the areas we extract our raw materials from as well. This mountainous region of West Virginia, in the United States, offers a very clear visual example.

west virginia land use impact zone

The mountaintop removal method of mining—which involves blasting mountains in order to retrieve seams of bituminous coal—is common in this region, and mine sites show up clearly in the map.

You can explore the interactive version of this map yourself to view any area on the globe. What surprises you about these patterns of human impact?

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Politics

Interactive Map: Tracking Global Hunger and Food Insecurity

Every day, hunger affects more than 700 million people. This live map from the UN highlights where hunger is hitting hardest around the world.

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The World Hunger Map

Interactive Map: Tracking Global Hunger and Food Insecurity

Hunger is still one the biggest—and most solvable—problems in the world.

Every day, more than 700 million people (8.8% of the world’s population) go to bed on an empty stomach, according to the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

The WFP’s HungerMap LIVE displayed here tracks core indicators of acute hunger like household food consumption, livelihoods, child nutritional status, mortality, and access to clean water in order to rank countries.

The World Hunger Map

After sitting closer to 600 million from 2014 to 2019, the number of people in the world affected by hunger increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, 155 million people (2% of the world’s population) experienced acute hunger, requiring urgent assistance.

The Fight to Feed the World

The problem of global hunger isn’t new, and attempts to solve it have making headlines for decades.

On July 13, 1985, at Wembley Stadium in London, Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially opened Live Aid, a worldwide rock concert organized to raise money for the relief of famine-stricken Africans.

The event was followed by similar concerts at other arenas around the world, globally linked by satellite to more than a billion viewers in 110 nations, raising more than $125 million ($309 million in today’s dollars) in famine relief for Africa.

But 35+ years later, the continent still struggles. According to the UN, from 12 countries with the highest prevalence of insufficient food consumption in the world, nine are in Africa.

Country % Population Affected by HungerPopulation (millions)Region
Afghanistan 🇦🇫93%40.4Asia
Somalia 🇸🇴68%12.3Africa
Burkina Faso 🇧🇫61%19.8Africa
South Sudan 🇸🇸60%11.0Africa
Mali 🇲🇱60%19.1Africa
Sierra Leone 🇸🇱55%8.2Africa
Syria 🇸🇾55%18.0Middle East
Niger 🇳🇪55%22.4Africa
Lesotho 🇱🇸50%2.1Africa
Guinea 🇬🇳48%12.2Africa
Benin 🇧🇯47%11.5Africa
Yemen 🇾🇪44%30.0Middle East

Approximately 30 million people in Africa face the effects of severe food insecurity, including malnutrition, starvation, and poverty.

Wasted Leftovers

Although many of the reasons for the food crisis around the globe involve conflicts or environmental challenges, one of the big contributors is food waste.

According to the United Nations, one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally. This amounts to about 1.3 billion tons of wasted food per year, worth approximately $1 trillion.

All the food produced but never eaten would be sufficient to feed two billion people. That’s more than twice the number of undernourished people across the globe. Consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa each year.

Solving Global Hunger

While many people may not be “hungry” in the sense that they are suffering physical discomfort, they may still be food insecure, lacking regular access to enough safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development.

Estimates of how much money it would take to end world hunger range from $7 billion to $265 billion per year.

But to tackle the problem, investments must be utilized in the right places. Specialists say that governments and organizations need to provide food and humanitarian relief to the most at-risk regions, increase agricultural productivity, and invest in more efficient supply chains.

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