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U.S. Economic Growth by County

The U.S. economy has been growing briskly recently – but not all of this growth…

  • December 28, 2018

The U.S. economy has been growing briskly recently – but not all of this growth is spread evenly across the country. Some areas are growing fasters than others.

New data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis tracks U.S. growth in 3,113 counties for the years 2012-2015.

GDP by county statistics provide a richer picture not only of the distribution of national economic output, but also of national economic trends and their manifestation at finer and alternative levels of geographic detail.

In 2015, real (inflation adjusted) GDP increased in 1,931 counties, decreased in 1,159, and was unchanged in 23. Real GDP ranged from $4.6 million in Loving County, TX to $656.0 billion in Los Angeles County, CA.

Large County Highlights

  • Of the 138 large counties, those with populations greater than 500,000, real GDP increased in 125 and decreased in 13 in 2015.
  • Real GDP ranged from $13.9 billion in Volusia County, FL to $656.0 billion dollars in Los Angeles County, CA.
  • Denton County, TX (12.2 percent) and Santa Clara County, CA (11.1 percent) had the largest increases in real GDP in 2015. Growth in both counties was led by increases in private services-producing industries.
  • The largest decreases in real GDP in 2015 were in Marion County, IN (-4.2 percent) and Montgomery County, TX (-2.3 percent). The private goods-producing industries led declines in both counties.

Medium County Highlights

  • Of the 461 medium-sized counties, those with populations between 100,000 and 500,000, real GDP increased in 336, decreased in 120, and was unchanged in 5 in 2015.
  • Real GDP ranged from $1.7 billion in Flagler County, FL to $52.3 billion dollars in Morris County, NJ.
  • Whatcom County, WA (26.9 percent) and Guadalupe County, TX (22.0 percent) had the largest increases in real GDP in 2015.
  • Growth in Whatcom County, WA was led by increases in private services-producing industries, while growth in Guadalupe County, TX was led by increases in private goods-producing industries.
  • The largest decreases in real GDP in 2015 were in Waukesha County, WI (-16.1 percent) and Tazewell County, IL (-13.4 percent). The private services-producing industries led declines in Waukesha County, WI, while private goods-producing industries led declines in Tazewell County, IL.

Small County Highlights

  • Of the 2,514 small counties, those with populations less than 100,000, real GDP increased in 1,470, decreased in 1,026, and was unchanged in 18 in 2015.
  • Real GDP ranged from $4.6 million in Loving County, TX to $8.7 billion dollars in St. Charles Parish, LA.
  • Roberts County, TX (72.3 percent) and Briscoe County, TX (68.4 percent) had the largest increases in real GDP in 2015. Growth in both counties was led by increases in private services-producing industries.
  • The largest decreases in real GDP in 2015 were in Slope County, ND (-37.8 percent) and Sanders County, MT (-34.9 percent). The private goods-producing industries led declines in Slope County, ND, while private services-producing industries led declines in Sanders County, MT.

The counties with the strongest growth during these years are usually the ones with low unemployment and fast-rising home prices today.

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