- California has the largest economy of any US state.
- If it were its own nation, California would have the fifth largest economy in the world.
- Here are 16 surprising facts about the Golden State.
- Visit MarketsInsider.com for more stories.
California is one of the major economic engines of the United States.
With a population of more than 39 million people, the Golden State has the most people of any US state, and drives many of the nation’s cultural trends.
The state has an incredibly diverse economy, with Hollywood, Silicon Valley, manufacturing, and agriculture all making significant contributions.
With such a dynamic economy, California is full of mind-blowing facts and figures, so here are 16 of them:
California would be the fifth largest economy in the world
If California were its own nation, it would be the fifth largest economy in the world. With a GDP of $US2.9 trillion, California would slot between Germany and the United Kingdom in the world’s top economies.
The Golden State makes up 14% of the US economy
The Bay Area ranks 19th in the world in economic activity
While California would be an economic force as its own nation, so too would the Bay Area alone.
With a GDP of $US535 billion, the San Francisco Bay Area would rank 19th in the world when ranked against national economies.
The Bay Area is home to 7 million people in nine counties and 101 cities, including San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.
The $US74,815 GDP per capita is more than London and Singapore.
Despite its massive GDP, California has been ranked the fourth-best economy in the US
California was ranked the fourth-best US state economy by the personal finance website Wallet Hub.
Despite having a GDP that would rank among the largest in the world, the ranking looked at more than the crucial number.
The state was hampered by its ranking of 32nd in economic health, which looks at unemployment, underemployment, payroll change, poverty rate, foreclosure rate, and uninsured population.
Source: Wallet Hub
There are nearly 4 million small businesses in California
There are 3.9 million small businesses in California, making up 99.8% of the state’s businesses.
Those companies employ nearly 50% of the state’s workforce.
Source: Blue Water Credit
California produces more than 400 agricultural products
More than two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts and a third of vegetables grown in the United States come from California.
There are more than 25 million acres of farms in the Golden State, led by dairy products, grapes, almonds, strawberries, cows, and lettuce.
California makes 81% of all US wine
With nearly 5,000 wineries, California produces 81% of all US wine and sells 241 million cases of wine a year.
California also brings in $US1.53 billion from the wine it exports each year.
Source: Discover California Wines
The two major university systems contribute more than $US60 billion to the state’s economy
The University of California system, including UCLA and the University of California, contribute more than $US46 billion yearly to the state’s economy. With 1.7 million living alumni, the University of California system has produced 61 noble laureates.
Meanwhile, the California State University system produces $US17 billion a year in economic activity and one in every 10 California workers is a graduate, as more than half of alumni stay in the state.
Los Angeles County has the two largest seaports in the US
The seaports in Long Beach and Los Angeles are the two largest seaports in the United States, handling 40% of inbound US containerized freight.
Los Angeles International Airport is the third-most active international cargo airport, but its passenger service flies to 91 US cities and 41 nations.
All told, international trade from LA County exceeds $US400 billion each year.
The film industry added $US49 billion to California’s economy in 2015.
It’s no surprise that California is at the center of America’s movie industry.
According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the film and video industry contributed more than $US49 billion to California’s economy in 2015.
New York finishes a distant second, with its film industry contributing just over $US28 billion to its economy that year.
Source: National Endowment for the Arts
Ninety per cent of workers in Silicon Valley are making less than their equivalents were 20 years ago
Adjusting for inflation, 90% of employees in Silicon Valley are making less than their equivalents were 20 years ago.
Despite sliding wages, Silicon Valley’s economic output per capita has jumped by 74% from 2001 to 2017.
The top 10% of Silicon Valley earners, however, have seen their wages grow.
California is trying to save $US1.5 billion by requiring cities to use electric buses
California is set to require the state’s city-bus systems to have fully electric fleets by 2040.
The requirement will be implemented over time, with a quarter of fleets to be electric by 2023 and half electric by 2026.
There are currently 150 electric buses in California fleets, which include 12,000 buses.
The switch could save $US1.5 billion in maintenance and fuel costs by 2050.
Source: New York Times
California’s professional sports have combined value of more than $US33.5 billion
California has 19 sports teams in the five major professional North American sports leagues. Combined, those teams are estimated to be worth more than $US33.5 billion. It certainly helps to have two of the nation’s largest media markets in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
At $US3.7 billion, the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers are the state’s most valuable team. Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors are worth $US3.1 billion. And MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers are worth $US3.3 billion.
The NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers both clock in at a hair over $US3 billion.
California is the only state where gas costs over $US4 a gallon
On April 15, the average price of regular gas in Los Angeles reached $US4.069 a gallon. It was the first time in more than four years that prices in Los Angeles surpassed the $US4 mark, according to the Los Angeles Times.
California is the only state with an overall average gas price above $US4, while only five other states with prices average more than $US3.
Hawaii has the next highest average at more than $US3.60 a gallon, according to AAA.
The median home value in California is nearly $US550,000
California experienced a 3.2% increase in its median home value since last year, and is now up to $US548,700 as of this publication, according to Zillow.
In San Francisco, the median home value is a sky-high $US1.19 million, and it’s $US629,900 in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, the national median home price is $US226,300.
Rising sea levels are 10 times larger of a threat to California’s economy than fires or earthquakes
By 2100, up to 600,000 Californians and $US150 billion worth of property will be at risk of coastal flooding.
The losses would be 6% of California’s 2019 GDP.
To offset the potential effects of rising sea levels, costs could exceed $US1 trillion.
Source: Scientific America
California sold $US2.5 billion worth of marijuana last year — but still fell short of expectations
In 2016, California became the sixth US state to legalise recreational marijuana. The first legal sales in the state took place in 2018, and in one year, $US2.5 billion worth of cannabis was sold.
Although $US2.5 billion is nothing to scoff at, it was actually less than California sold one year earlier, when only medical cannabis was legal, according to The New York Times.
As it turns out, The Times reported, California has a massive surplus of cannabis, and is having trouble convincing consumers to buy it legally instead of from the black market.
Source: The New York Times
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