11 mind-blowing facts about New York's economy

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New York is a state with two very different sides.

There’s New York City and its five boroughs: an ultra-urban landscape on a couple of small islands where about half the state’s population lives.

Then there’s upstate New York, much of which is rural, agricultural, and less densely populated.

New York City is one of the richest cities in the world (though it also contains the poorest county in the state, Bronx County). Meanwhile, upstate New York has a sluggish economy that has fallen ever further behind New York City’s.

Statistics about New York’s economy reflect this divide. Here are 11 mind-blowing facts about the economy of New York – both the city and the state.

New York’s economy is almost the same size as Canada’s.

Spencer Platt/Getty

The State of New York shares a long border and the Niagara Falls with Canada. (Canadians got the better side of the falls – sorry New York.) But the state and its neighbouring country have more in common than geography.

New York State’s economic output is almost as big as Canada’s. Canada also receives most of New York’s foreign exports. If New York were a country, it would have the 11th biggest economy in the world, falling between Canada and South Korea.

New York City’s gross domestic product is expected to surpass Tokyo’s by 2035.

According to the New York State Comptroller, the state’s GDP in 2017 was over $US1.5 trillion.

But by 2035, the GDP of New York City alone is expected to rise to $US2.5 trillion, according to one estimate. The projection would place New York City ahead of Tokyo, which is currently the richest city in the world.

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New York has more billionaires than any other city in the world.

Jason McCawley/Getty Images

By one measure, New York City is already the richest in the world. It has more billionaires(103) than Hong Kong (93), San Francisco (74), Moscow (69), or London (62).

New York makes up just 1% of the total US area but produces 8% of the nation’s GDP.

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New York State takes up about 1% of the land mass of the United States. In that small space, however, it manages to put out 8% of GDP for the whole country. That’s called punching above your weight.

New York City unemployment hit its lowest rate ever in 2018.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

While national unemployment rates began to tick up in mid-2018, New York City bucked the trend. In the final quarter of 2018, the city reported a milestone: the lowest unemployment rate in its history – at just 4%.

New York grows enough apples each year to give 11 apples to every US resident.

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

If you’ve spent any time in Upstate New York you know the state is famous for its apples and apple cider. New York is the second-biggest apple-producing state in the US, after Washington State.

The state’s 700 apple orchards produce 29.5 million bushels of apples a year with about 125 apples in each bushel. That’s enough apples to provide an apple a day for 10,102,739 people.

New York produces more yogurt than any other state.


New York may be No. 2 in apples, but its top agricultural products are all dairy. New York’s top four agricultural products all relate to dairy farming (milk, corn for grain, hay, and cattle). New York produces more cottage cheese, sour cream, and yogurt than any other state. It doesn’t hurt that popular Greek yogurt company Chobani has its headquarters in Norwich.

But New York’s No. 1 export is diamonds.

Getty Images

New York’s biggest export (measured in dollars) isn’t agricultural products, however. The state’s top export item is cut diamonds, which earned the state more than $US13 billion last year, according to the US Census Bureau.

Diamonds are followed on the list by paintings, jewellery, gold, rubies, and sculptures. New York is clearly a top source for luxury goods.

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The most expensive home in the US is a penthouse in New York City.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

When hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin bought the 24,000-square-foot penthouse at 220 Central Park in New York City for $US238 million he became the owner of the most expensive home in the US.

That astronomical figure is 180 times the average home price of $US1.322 million in pricey Manhattan.

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Buffalo and Syracuse ranked among the most affordable cities in the US.

Getty ImagesDowntown Syracuse

Manhattan may have some of the priciest real estate in the country, but two cities in Upstate New York are among the most affordable. According to US News, Buffalo residents use only 21.11% of their salaries to cover living expenses.

Zillow reported the average home price in Buffalo is under $US90,000. Buffalo ranked 11th on the US News list and Syracuse ranked 22nd.

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There are more Dunkin’ stores than Starbucks stores in Manhattan.

Where do you want to get your coffee?

If you answered Dunkin’ you’re on the same page as many New Yorkers. The city’s five boroughs are home to 596 Dunkin’ Doughnuts stores but just 317 Starbucks, according to a 2016 report by Center for the Urban Future. That’s more than 5% of all the Dunkin’ stores in the world and about 7% of the stores in the US.


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