16 mind-blowing facts about California's economy

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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, driving many of the nation's cultural trends.

The state has an incredibly diverse economy, with Hollywood, Silicon Valley, manufacturing, and agriculture making significant contributions.

With such a dynamic economy, California is full of mind-blows facts and figures, so here's 15 of them:

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California would be the fifth largest economy in the world

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 $2.9 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

Source: Forbes

The Bay Area ranks 19th in the world in economic activity

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 $535 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 $74,815 GDP per capita is more than London and Singapore.

Source: French-American Chamber of Commerce

Despite its massive GDP, California has been ranked the fourth-best economy in the US

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 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

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.

Source: California Department of Food and Agriculture

California makes 81% of all US wine

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 $1.53 billion from the wine it exports each year.

Source: Discover California Wines

The two major university systems contribute more than $60 billion to the state’s economy

The two major university systems contribute more than $60 billion to the state’s economy

The University of California system, including UCLA and the University of California, contribute more than $46 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 $17 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.

Sources: Cal State University and University of California

Los Angeles County has the two largest seaports in the US

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 $400 billion each year.

Source: Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation

The film industry added $49 billion to California's economy in 2015.

The film industry added $49 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 $49 billion to California's economy in 2015.

New York finishes a distant second, with its film industry contributing just over $28 billion to its economy that year.

Source: National Endowment for the Arts

Ninety percent of workers in Silicon Valley are making less than their equivalents were 20 years ago

Ninety percent 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.

Source: Inc.

California is trying to save $1.5 billion by requiring cities to use electric buses

California is trying to save $1.5 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 $1.5 billion in maintenance and fuel costs by 2050.

Source: New York Times

California's professional sports have combined value of more than $33.5 billion

California's professional sports have combined value of more than $33.5 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 $33.5 billion. It certainly helps to have two of the nation's largest media markets in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

At $3.7 billion, the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers are the state's most valuable team. Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors are worth $3.1 billion. And MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers are worth $3.3 billion.

The NFL's Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers both clock in at a hair over $3 billion.

Source: Forbes

California is the only state where gas costs over $4 a gallon

California is the only state where gas costs over $4 a gallon

On April 15, the average price of regular gas in Los Angeles reached $4.069 a gallon. It was the first time in more than four years that prices in Los Angeles surpassed the $4 mark, according to the Los Angeles Times.

California is the only state with an overall average gas price above $4, while only five other states with prices average more than $3.

Hawaii has the next highest average at more than $3.60 a gallon, according to AAA.

Sources: AAA and Los Angeles Times

The median home value in California is nearly $550,000

The median home value in California is nearly $550,000

California experienced a 3.2% increase in its median home value since last year, and is now up to $548,700 as of this publication, according to Zillow.

In San Francisco, the median home value is a sky-high $1.19 million, and it's $629,900 in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, the national median home price is $226,300.

Source: Zillow

Rising sea levels are 10 times larger of a threat to California’s economy than fires or earthquakes

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 $150 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 $1 trillion.

Source: Scientific America

California sold $2.5 billion worth of marijuana last year — but still fell short of expectations

California sold $2.5 billion worth of marijuana last year — but still fell short of expectations

In 2016, California became the sixth US state to legalize recreational marijuana. The first legal sales in the state took place in 2018, and in one year, $2.5 billion worth of cannabis was sold.

Although $2.5 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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