Step 3c. GDP

By Rajkamal Rao 

Go back to Step 3: Choose Your Target States by Better Understanding the US Economy

3c.  GDP 

While GDP growth is a snapshot of how an economy is doing, you will also want to know how big the core GDP of a state is to get a feel for the wealth of a state.

Take North Dakota in the GDP growth chart above.  On its face, a 7.6% GDP growth rate indicates a vibrant economy and there is no question that the state is doing well.  But the real GDP of the state is rather small at only $34 billion.

Compare this to the GDP growth of Texas which grew an impressive $36.8 billion in 2011 alone. In other words, in just one year, the economy of Texas increased - by an amount larger than the economy of the entire state of North Dakota.

Wikipedia lists real GDP of US states for 2010 and this chart is more than adequate for our analysis.

List of U.S. states and territories by GDP in 2010[3]
Percentage of
national GDP
per capita ($)
GDP Rank
per capita

 United States14,657,800100.00308.747,482
1 California1,936,40013.3437.351,91412
2 Texas1,307,4327.9525.145,94024
3 New York1,156,5007.6819.457,4237
4 Florida754,0005.2018.840,10640
5 Illinois644,2004.4412.850,32815
6 Pennsylvania575,6003.9712.745,32325
7 New Jersey497,0003.428.856,4778
8 Ohio483,4003.3311.542,03533
9 Virginia427,7002.958.053,4639
10 North Carolina407,4002.819.542,88431
11 Georgia403,1002.799.741,71135
12 Massachusetts377,7002.606.558,1086
13 Michigan372,4002.579.937,61642
14 Washington351,1002.426.752,40310
15 Maryland300,0002.075.851,72413
16 Indiana267,6001.846.541,16936
17 Minnesota267,1001.845.350,39614
18 Arizona261,3001.806.440,82839
19 Colorado259,7001.795.051,94011
20 Wisconsin251,4001.735.744,10529
21 Tennessee250,3001.726.339,73041
22 Missouri246,7001.706.041,11737
23 Connecticut233,4001.613.664,8334
24 Louisiana213,6001.474.547,46721
25 Alabama174,4001.204.836,33346
26 Oregon168,9001.163.844,44727
27 South Carolina164,3001.134.635,71748
28 Kentucky161,4001.114.337,53543
29 Oklahoma160,5001.113.842,23732
30 Iowa147,2001.013.049,06719
31 Kansas128,5000.892.944,31028
32 Nevada127,5000.882.747,22223
33 Utah116,9000.812.841,75034
34 Arkansas105,8000.732.936,48345
35 District of Columbia104,7000.720.6174,5001
36 Mississippi98,9000.683.032,96751
37 Nebraska89,6000.621.849,77817
38 New Mexico75,5000.522.135,95247
39 Hawaii68,9000.471.449,21418
40 West Virginia66,6000.461.935,05349
41 Delaware62,7000.430.969,6672
42 New Hampshire61,6000.421.347,38522
43 Idaho54,8000.381.634,25050
44 Maine53,2000.371.340,92338
45 Rhode Island49,5000.341.145,00026
46 Alaska45,6000.310.765,1433
47 South Dakota39,9000.270.849,87516
48 Wyoming38,2000.260.663,6675
49 Montana37,2000.261.037,20044
50 North Dakota33,4000.230.747,71420
51 Vermont26,4000.180.644,00030

As an international student planning to go to the US, would you rather go to a school in a state whose economy is large (meaning more companies, better job opportunities) than small?  The answer again is obvious.
We recommend that you limit your schools to states within the top 25 GDP states.  Going to schools in the other states may not be worth.  Some exceptions apply, so please Exceptions in Step 3. 

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