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The U.S. States Most Vulnerable to a Trade War



The U.S. States Most Vulnerable to a Trade War

The U.S. States Most Vulnerable to a Trade War

Last year, nearly $4 trillion of U.S. economic productivity was the result of international trade.

However, with talk of a trade war heating up, there is a real possibility that the global trade landscape could shift dramatically over the coming months and years.

Any such shifts wouldn’t likely impact the country in a uniform and evenly distributed fashion – instead, any impending trade war would pose the largest direct risk to states that are dependent on buying and selling goods on international markets.

The States Most at Risk

Today’s visualization comes to us from, and it shows every U.S. state and district organized by GDP size, as well as percentage of GDP resulting from international trade.

Here are the 10 states most reliant on international trade:

RankStateGDP (2017)Exports + Imports (2017)Trade (% of GDP)
#1Michigan$515 billion$200 billion38.9%
#2Louisiana$243 billion$94 billion38.7%
#3Kentucky$204 billion$78 billion38.1%
#4Tennessee$345 billion$112 billion32.6%
#5South Carolina$219 billion$70 billion31.9%
#6Texas$1,692 billion$527 billion31.2%
#7Indiana$360 billion$92 billion25.7%
#8Washington$503 billion$127 billion25.3%
#9New Jersey$589 billion$147 billion25%
#10Illinois$818 billion$201 billion24.6%

On a percentage basis, Michigan tops the list with 38.9% of the state’s GDP reliant on international trade.

The Lowest Risk States

On the flipside, here are the states or districts with less to lose in the event of a trade war.

RankState (or District)GDP (2017)Exports + Imports (2017)Trade (% of GDP)
#51District of Columbia$132 billion$2 billion1.5%
#50Wyoming$41 billion$2 billion5.0%
#49South Dakota$49 billion$3 billion5.1%
#48Hawaii$88 billion$5 billion5.4%
#47New Mexico$98 billion$6 billion6.0%
#46Oklahoma$190 billion$15 billion8.0%
#45Colorado$341 billion$28 billion8.1%
#44Virginia$511 billion$46 billion8.9%
#43Nebraska$119 billion$11 billion9.1%
#42Maine$61 billion$6 billion9.7%

Washington, D.C. tops the list, with only 1.5% of its regional GDP tied to trade.

This makes sense since The District’s economy is mostly linked to the government, service, and tourism sectors. Nearby Virginia also has surprisingly little international trade, at just 8.9% of its economy.

Want to see more on international trade? See the numbers behind the world’s closest trade relationship in this infographic.

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Mapped: The 10 U.S. States With the Lowest Real GDP Growth

In this graphic, we show where real GDP lagged the most across America in 2023 as high interest rates weighed on state economies.



The Top 10 U.S. States, by Lowest Real GDP Growth

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

While the U.S. economy defied expectations in 2023, posting 2.5% in real GDP growth, several states lagged behind.

Last year, oil-producing states led the pack in terms of real GDP growth across America, while the lowest growth was seen in states that were more sensitive to the impact of high interest rates, particularly due to slowdowns in the manufacturing and finance sectors.

This graphic shows the 10 states with the least robust real GDP growth in 2023, based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Weakest State Economies in 2023

Below, we show the states with the slowest economic activity in inflation-adjusted terms, using chained 2017 dollars:

RankStateReal GDP Growth 2023 YoYReal GDP 2023
3New York+0.7%$1.8T
7New Hampshire+1.2%$91B

Delaware witnessed the slowest growth in the country, with real GDP growth of -1.2% over the year as a sluggish finance and insurance sector dampened the state’s economy.

Like Delaware, the Midwestern state of Wisconsin also experienced declines across the finance and insurance sector, in addition to steep drops in the agriculture and manufacturing industries.

America’s third-biggest economy, New York, grew just 0.7% in 2023, falling far below the U.S. average. High interest rates took a toll on key sectors, with notable slowdowns in the construction and manufacturing sectors. In addition, falling home prices and a weaker job market contributed to slower economic growth.

Meanwhile, Georgia experienced the fifth-lowest real GDP growth rate. In March 2024, Rivian paused plans to build a $5 billion EV factory in Georgia, which was set to be one of the biggest economic development initiatives in the state in history.

These delays are likely to exacerbate setbacks for the state, however, both Kia and Hyundai have made significant investments in the EV industry, which could help boost Georgia’s manufacturing sector looking ahead.

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