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Comparing each state's GDP to countries around the world

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Comparing each state's GDP to countries around the world

As 2020 opens, uncertainty in trade, uncertainty in politics, and unstable business relations with countries like China and Russia weigh on economies at home and abroad. While economists, politicians, and stockbrokers fret over each decimal point of movement in an area’s gross domestic product (GDP), sometimes it’s good to keep a frame of reference in mind. To that end, Stacker compiled a list comparing every state’s GDP to countries around the world. The list was created using 2018 GDP data (released in 2019) from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the World Bank. Additional sources of info were the U.S. Census, the CIA’s World Factbook, university business databases, and newspaper and business journal articles.

We found that most states have a unique industry that inflates their GDP. In Wisconsin, it’s cheese. North Carolina has long been considered by many the “furniture capital of the world.” In line with always being known for its apples, Washington is creating new super apples to keep the market strong. Michigan, of course, is the center of America’s auto industry, but electric cars and worries over global warming keep that industry on its toes as it looks to maintain its grip.

Just because a country (or two) may have more residents than a U.S. state, this does not mean its GDP is healthy. Even tiny Rhode Island produces a higher GDP than nations with millions of more citizens. Factors like the European Union instability, Brexit, and protests in Hong Kong are hampering markets around the world. At home, environmental factors, new technology, and ever-changing laws cause the GDPs of some states to stagnate. Still, there are four states with GDPs over $1 trillion.

A common debate at the bar and on the internet regularly centers on how one state could stand on its own independently. Click through and decide how you think your home state would fair independently when compared to other countries with similar GDPs.

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Alabama

- 2018 state GDP: $221.7 billion
- GDP higher than: 161 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Greece ($218 billion) plus Suriname ($3.6 billion)

Thanks to the booming tech industry in Huntsville and surrounding areas, Alabama’s GDP received a boost of $22 billion. That puts Alabama’s GDP above the total for Greece, which is slowly rebounding from high rates of unemployment, thanks to increased GDP from mining.

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Tomasz Wozniak // Shutterstock

Alaska

- 2018 state GDP: $54.7 billion
- GDP higher than: 129 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Slovenia ($54 billion) plus American Samoa ($0.6 billion)

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, plus transportation and warehousing are two key contributors to Alaska’s GDP. While Alaska had one of the lowest GDPs in 2018, it still tops the combined total of Slovenia and American Samoa. Slovenia still has one of the highest per capita GDPs in central Europe, while American Samoa has seen slight economic growth thanks to fixed private investment and export of goods.

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John Hoffman // Shutterstock

Arizona

- 2018 state GDP: $348.3 billion
- GDP higher than: 174 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Colombia ($331 billion) plus Mali ($17.2 billion)

State leaders in Arizona are promising more education spending made possible by economic growth that includes a $750 million surplus for the 2021 budget year. Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing are some key reasons for Arizona’s robust GDP, which surpasses Colombia, a country that is being aided by investment and tax reforms, but is still plagued by high inequality.

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Arkansas

- 2018 state GDP: $128.4 billion
- GDP higher than: 153 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Morocco ($117.9 billion) plus Benin ($10.4 billion)

Arkansas, the state where Wal-Mart was founded, is heavily reliant on manufacturing. Arkansas’s GDP tops Morocco’s, even though the country boasts a diverse economy made up from lively agriculture, aerospace, and phosphates industries. Benin, meanwhile, is relatively reliant on cotton.

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javarman // Shutterstock

California

- 2018 state GDP: $3 trillion
- GDP higher than: 208 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: United Kingdom ($2.9 trillion) plus Kuwait ($140.6 billion)

California has the country’s highest GDP. Tech industries have certainly boosted the Golden State’s economy—The Guardian recently noted how Silicon Valley alone would be one of the world’s richest countries. California barely edges out the entire GDP of the U.K., whose economy is struggling because of the Brexit mess.

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Craig Zerbe // Shutterstock

Colorado

- 2018 state GDP: $371.7 billion
- GDP higher than: 180 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Israel ($370.6 billion) plus Turks and Caicos Islands ($1 billion)

Colorado is projected to have slower growth in its economy, but low unemployment rates have brightened its financial forecast. In particular, ranchers and farmers are continuing to thrive in Colorado. That’s enough for now to hold off Israel, a country that continues to have a rapidly growing economy, thanks to a bustling tech industry.

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Connecticut

- 2018 state GDP: $275.7 billion
- GDP higher than: 169 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Bangladesh ($274 billion) plus San Marino ($1.6 billion)

A majority of Connecticut’s GDP comes from private industries: manufacturing, wholesale trade, and real estate and rental leasing among the major contributors. Foreign direct investment in Bangladesh has the Asian country close to surpassing Connecticut’s GDP, while San Marino’s economy is heavily dependent on Italy.

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Delaware

- 2018 state GDP: $73.5 billion
- GDP higher than: 141 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Myanmar ($71.2 billion) plus Central African Republic ($2.2 billion)

Delaware is often the butt of a joke as one of the smaller American states—"The Simpsons" once mocked that one of their main industries is screen door factories. In reality, Delaware produces an abundance of clams, crabs, soybeans, milk, paper, rubber, metals, and sand and gravel. Despite having almost 57 million less residents, Delaware’s mighty economy trumps that of Myanmar and the Central African Republic.

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Florida

- 2018 state GDP: $1 trillion
- GDP higher than: 196 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Netherlands ($913.7 billion) plus Morocco ($117.9 billion)

Construction, real estate and rental and leasing, and health care and social assistance are a few industries that make Florida’s GDP so robust. As one of only a few U.S. states whose GDP tops $1 trillion, Florida brings in more than the Netherlands (which yes, does get an economic boost from marijuana) and Morocco, whose top exports are vehicles and electrical equipment.

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Georgia

- 2018 state GDP: $592.2 billion
- GDP higher than: 192 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Poland ($585.7 billion) plus Liechtenstein ($6.2 billion)

One key contributor to Georgia’s economy is a growing film industry. Shows like “The Walking Dead” have made the Peach State home, helping boost its GDP past tiny Liechtenstein, and Poland, which has the sixth largest economy in the European Union.

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Hawaii

- 2018 state GDP: $93.8 billion
- GDP higher than: 147 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Sri Lanka ($88.9 billion) plus Somalia ($4.7 billion)

While Hawaii exports goods like pineapples and macadamia nuts, oil is its biggest export. In Sri Lanka, government debt accounts for about 79% of its GDP. In Somalia, livestock and telecommunications provide some economic help.

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Idaho

- 2018 state GDP: $77.1 billion
- GDP higher than: 141 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Myanmar ($71.2 billion) plus Bermuda ($5.6 billion)

Yes, Idaho’s economy is boosted by potatoes, but just as important is milk. Myanmar is trying to spur economic growth through reforms that attract foreign investment. Bermuda is heavily dependent on tourism for its GDP.

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Illinois

- 2018 state GDP: $865.3 billion
- GDP higher than: 195 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Saudi Arabia ($786.5 billion) plus Guatemala ($78.5 billion)

Manufacturing, and finance and insurance are two pillars of Illinois’ GDP. Surprisingly, this state tops Middle East power Saudi Arabia in GDP, and Guatemala, whose top exports include fruit, nuts, and sugar.

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Indiana

- 2018 state GDP: $366.8 billion
- GDP higher than: 178 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Singapore ($364.2 billion) plus Eritrea ($2.6 billion)

While manufacturing is a leader in helping Indiana’s GDP, “administrative and support and waste management and remediation services,” plus health care and social assistance, are two notable areas of contribution. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Singapore is tethered to machinery and oil, with Eritrea reliant on mining.

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Iowa

- 2018 state GDP: $189.7 billion
- GDP higher than: 158 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Kazakhstan ($179.3 billion) plus Benin ($10.4 billion)

Iowa is in the rare situation of low unemployment and not enough wage growth. Kazakhstan stays afloat on strongholds in oil, iron, steel, and copper. Benin’s new free market economy is showing signs of growth, with cotton as an anchor.

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Kansas

- 2018 state GDP: $168.3 billion
- GDP higher than: 156 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Hungary ($157.9 billion) plus Benin ($10.4 billion)

Kansas is a major producer of civilian aircraft, engines, and parts. Although Dorothy landed in Oz and not Hungary, her home state surpasses the Central European nation known for machinery, construction materials, and processed foods.

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Kentucky

- 2018 state GDP: $208.1 billion
- GDP higher than: 160 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: New Zealand ($204.9 billion) plus Curacao ($3.1 billion)

Kentucky has a diverse economy, notable for whiskies, horse breeding, and a relatively new industry of antisera. New Zealand’s top exports are more basic—dairy, meat, and wood—and Curacao banks on factors like tourism and offshore finance.

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Louisiana

- 2018 state GDP: $257.3 billion
- GDP higher than: 168 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Egypt ($250.9 billion) plus Liechtenstein ($6.2 billion)

The Bayou State is big on manufacturing, and professional, scientific, and technical services (beignets and gumbo, while delicious, probably only amount to a small amount of the state’s economy). Egypt’s economy is hard to gauge due to political factors, but oils and textiles have traditionally buttressed the country.

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Maine

- 2018 state GDP: $64.9 billion
- GDP higher than: 136 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Croatia ($61 billion) plus Guyana ($3.9 billion)

Yes, lobsters are a main part of Maine’s economy, but so are circuits and Atlantic salmon. Croatia creates fabricated metals and machine tools, while Guyana has seen a boost in gold production, which has compensated for declining sugar production.

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Maryland

- 2018 state GDP: $412.6 billion
- GDP higher than: 182 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Nigeria ($397.3 billion) plus Albania ($15.1 billion)

Professional, scientific, and technical services boost Maryland’s GDP, but liquified natural gas is a new economic stimulator. Nigeria depends on oil, shipping, and cocoa, while Albania’s market is in flux due to close ties with Greece and Italy, countries with volatile economies.

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Massachusetts

- 2018 state GDP: $569.5 billion
- GDP higher than: 191 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Sweden ($556.1 billion) plus Nicaragua ($13.1 billion)

Tech jobs have made Massachusetts a state with a healthy GDP, and the Bay State sends goods to India, China, and Singapore with regularity. Motor vehicles, iron, and steel buoy Sweden’s economy. Nicaragua counts on beef, gold, and coffee.

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Michigan

- 2018 state GDP: $527.1 billion
- GDP higher than: 189 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Argentina ($519.9 billion) plus Monaco ($7.2 billion)

The auto industry has been a beacon of Michigan’s economy for almost a century. Motor vehicles and parts also are important to Argentina’s GDP. As Monaco doesn’t have an income tax, the country is known as a tax haven.

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Minnesota

- 2018 state GDP: $368.9 billion
- GDP higher than: 179 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: South Africa ($368.3 billion) plus Dominica ($0.6 billion)

A bustling medical industry and retail giants like Target are the backbone of Minnesota’s GDP. Ores, precious stones, and metals are important to South Africa’s GDP. Dominica’s economy has shifted from bananas to tourism.

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Mississippi

- 2018 state GDP: $114.8 billion
- GDP higher than: 152 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Ecuador ($108.4 billion) plus Liechtenstein ($6.2 billion)

Outside of government and government enterprises, real estate and rental and leasing are major factors in Mississippi’s GDP. In Ecuador’s economy, wood products and seafood are bountiful.

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Missouri

- 2018 state GDP: $318.9 billion
- GDP higher than: 172 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Pakistan ($314.6 billion) plus Sierra Leone ($4.1 billion)

Missouri counts on motor vehicles (particularly motorcycles), corn, and pork to steady their economy. Pakistan relies on mostly textiles and some pharmaceuticals to build its GDP. Sierra Leone is almost exclusively reliant on mining.

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Montana

- 2018 state GDP: $50.3 billion
- GDP higher than: 125 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Libya ($48.4 billion) plus St. Lucia ($1.9 billion)

Three Cs: Cigarettes, coal, and copper are crucial to Montana’s economic stability. Less stable is Libya’s economy, which suffers from political insecurity, power outages, and a booming black market.

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Nebraska

- 2018 state GDP: $124 billion
- GDP higher than: 153 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Morocco ($117.9 billion) plus Guam ($5.9 billion)

Nebraska’s bread and butter is in meat, corn, and soybeans. Agriculture is key to Morocco’s GDP too, but so are aerospace and tourism. U.S. national defense spending is the heart and soul of Guam’s economy.

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Nevada

- 2018 state GDP: $169.3 billion
- GDP higher than: 156 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Hungary ($157.9 billion) plus Chad ($11.3 billion)

Casinos obviously boost Nevada’s GDP profile, but real estate is also a solid contributor. Roulette and slot machines are less prevalent in Chad, which banks on oil and agriculture.

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New Hampshire

- 2018 state GDP: $84.5 billion
- GDP higher than: 144 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Ethiopia ($84.4 billion) plus Tuvalu ($42.6 million)

New Hampshire is another state where civilian aircraft, engines, and parts are prime exports. Ethiopia is still a country with extreme poverty, but is seeing rapid growth thanks to agriculture. In Tuvalu, fishing and coconut meat are two notable parts of its small economy.

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Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

New Jersey

- 2018 state GDP: $622 billion
- GDP higher than: 192 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Poland ($585.7 billion) plus Latvia ($34.4 billion)


The Garden State has a rich mix of chemicals, gambling, agriculture, and even perfumes that contribute toward its GDP. Latvia, meanwhile is all about processing—foods, metals, and wood—as part of its trade strategy.

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New Mexico

- 2018 state GDP: $100.3 billion
- GDP higher than: 148 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Cuba ($100 billion) plus Marshall Islands ($0.2 billion)

New Mexico’s GDP is becoming heavily influenced by the tech industry. Last decade, Cuba opened up its borders to more trade, but slowed oil trade with Venezuela is stagnating growth. U.S. military money and agriculture sustain the small economy of the Marshall Islands.

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New York

- 2018 state GDP: $1.7 trillion
- GDP higher than: 202 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Russian Federation ($1.7 trillion) plus Chad ($11.3 billion)

With New York City often considered the epicenter of the world and a place that attracts opulence, it makes sense that New York is a big exporter of diamonds, paintings, rubies, and gold. New York’s economy is so diverse that it equals the GDP of Russia, a country that is a major world power player in moving oil, gas, and metals.

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North Carolina

- 2018 state GDP: $563.7 billion
- GDP higher than: 191 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Sweden ($556.1 billion) plus Tajikistan ($7.5 billion)

North Carolina is considered by some as the “furniture capital of the world,” but it boasts strong finance and insurance industries, too. The way North Carolina relies on furniture, Tajikistan is reliant on minerals.

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North Dakota

- 2018 state GDP: $56.1 billion
- GDP higher than: 130 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Macao SAR, China ($55.1 billion) plus Vanuatu ($0.9 billion)

Oil has pumped billions into North Dakota’s GDP numbers over the past decade. That oil may go to fueling the aircrafts that regularly fly into Macau, which is a destination for gambling. Vanuatu has more basic industries for income, including food and fish freezing, and meat canning.

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Ohio

- 2018 state GDP: $675.9 billion
- GDP higher than: 192 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Poland ($585.7 billion) plus Sri Lanka ($88.9 billion)

Tobacco, the auto industry, and aircraft industry make up some staples of Ohio’s GDP figures. Tobacco is also an anchor of Sri Lanka’s economy, along with oil and tea.

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Oklahoma

- 2018 state GDP: $202.6 billion
- GDP higher than: 159 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Qatar ($191.4 billion) plus Guinea ($10.9 billion)

For almost two centuries, cotton has been essential to Oklahoma’s economy. In contrast, gases, oils, and fertilizers make up a strong portion of Qatar’s GDP.

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Robert Crum // Shutterstock

Oregon

- 2018 state GDP: $239.8 billion
- GDP higher than: 164 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Romania ($239.6 billion) plus Marshall Islands ($0.2 billion)

Wheat, once a strength of Oregon’s economy, has fallen on hard times. Internal corruption and uncertainty in the European Union have similarly worsened Romania’s economic outlook.

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Mark Dozier // Shutterstock

Pennsylvania

- 2018 state GDP: $783.2 billion
- GDP higher than: 194 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Turkey ($771.4 billion) plus Channel Islands ($11.5 billion)

Pennsylvania, particularly in its southwest counties, is a major producer of coal. It is the coal production that helps put Pennsylvania past Turkey in GDP, despite Turkey’s solid production of textiles, iron, and steel. Tourism is a major draw in and around the Channel Islands.

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Anthony Ricci // Shutterstock

Rhode Island

- 2018 state GDP: $60.6 billion
- GDP higher than: 135 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Costa Rica ($60.1 billion) plus Tonga ($0.5 billion)

Our smallest state is a giant in the recycling industry. Costa Rica sends out tons of precision instruments and prepared foods. Squash, vanilla beans, and yams are plentiful in Tonga.

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MarkVanDykePhotography // Shutterstock

South Carolina

- 2018 state GDP: $233.9 billion
- GDP higher than: 163 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Iraq ($224.2 billion) plus Haiti ($9.7 billion)

Among the specialized products South Carolina creates are gear boxes for motor vehicles. Iraq specializes in oil. Haiti, which once specialized in sugar, is seeing its economy drastically decline.

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turtix // Shutterstock

South Dakota

- 2018 state GDP: $52 billion
- GDP higher than: 127 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Serbia ($50.6 billion) plus Solomon Islands ($1.4 billion)

South Dakota has become a king in the soybean industry. A lack of private sector job creation has affected Serbia’s GDP. The Solomon Islands’ economy relies on agriculture, fishing, and forestry remain constants in.

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Dee Browning // Shutterstock

Tennessee

- 2018 state GDP: $364.1 billion
- GDP higher than: 177 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Hong Kong SAR, China ($362.7 billion) plus Solomon Islands ($1.4 billion)

Cotton and whisky are two notable industries in Tennessee. The presence of Chinese firms have long boosted Hong Kong’s GDP, but the current unrest there makes the future of the economy uncertain.

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Texas

- 2018 state GDP: $1.8 trillion
- GDP higher than: 203 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Canada ($1.7 trillion) plus Sri Lanka ($88.9 billion)

While confronted with climate change questions, oil and gas remain a driving force of the economy in Texas. Oil and gas are similarly important to Canada’s GDP, with Western Canada as a major location for wells and drilling.

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Utah

- 2018 state GDP: $178.1 billion
- GDP higher than: 157 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Algeria ($173.8 billion) plus Sierra Leone ($4.1 billion)

Mining, particularly in gold, is a big industry in Utah. In Algeria, oil, gas, and inorganic chemicals stabilize the economy.

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Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

Vermont

- 2018 state GDP: $33.3 billion
- GDP higher than: 111 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Zimbabwe ($31 billion) plus Central African Republic ($2.2 billion)

Offering more than just Ben & Jerry’s, Vermont is a state becoming recognized for its tech industry growth. A coup threw Zimbabwe’s economy into uncertainty, but mining has always been a staple.

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Virginia

- 2018 state GDP: $532.9 billion
- GDP higher than: 189 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Argentina ($519.9 billion) plus North Macedonia ($12.7 billion)

Among Virginia’s major exports are road tractors for semi-trailers, spacecraft, and tobacco. In its third decade of existence, North Macedonia is finally seeing notable economic growth.

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kan_khampanya // Shutterstock

Washington

- 2018 state GDP: $565.8 billion
- GDP higher than: 191 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Sweden ($556.1 billion) plus Haiti ($9.7 billion)

Corn, soy, and wheat join apples are Washington GDP heavyweights. Washington apple producers are hoping for even more gains with the creation of the Cosmic Crisp apple.

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West Virginia

- 2018 state GDP: $77.4 billion
- GDP higher than: 141 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Myanmar ($71.2 billion) plus Liechtenstein ($6.2 billion)

West Virginia’s GDP owes a lot to income from mining and plastics. However, the mass presence of fossil fuels in the state’s economic process has drawn criticism from some circles.

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Nancy Gill // Shutterstock

Wisconsin

- 2018 state GDP: $336.3 billion
- GDP higher than: 174 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Colombia ($331 billion) plus Mauritania ($5.2 billion)

Yes, cheese is a major contributor to Wisconsin’s GDP, but a recent surplus due to lack of milk consumption by consumers has created concern. In Mauritania, the economy is focused on agriculture and raising livestock.

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Wyoming

- 2018 state GDP: $39.1 billion
- GDP higher than: 114 of 212 countries
- GDP equal to: Cameroon ($38.7 billion) plus Sao Tome and Principe ($0.4 billion)

Mining has always been a rock for Wyoming’s GDP, but a decline in coal production might force the state to look to more modern industries to maintain its economy. Aluminum is one of Cameroon’s main industries, while Sao Tome and Principe is known for its cocoa bean industry.

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