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With a state as big, as populous, and as complex as California, it would be impossible to quickly summarize how its economy or state budget works. The purpose of Cal Facts is more modest. By providing various "snapshot" pieces of information, we hope to provide the reader with a broad overview of public finance and program trends in the state.

Cal Facts consists of a series of charts and tables which address questions frequently asked of our office. We hope the reader will find it to be a handy and helpful document.

—Mac Taylor, Legislative Analyst


Cal Facts
December 5, 2016

California's Economy: One of the Largest in the World

Gross Domestic Product (In Trillions)

California's Economy:  One of the Largest in the World

  • Gross domestic product (GDP) is the value of goods and services produced in a country or state.
  • Measured in U.S. dollars, only five countries had a GDP larger than California’s $2.5 trillion GDP in 2015. Weakness in the value of European currency caused France’s GDP to be just a bit smaller than California’s that year.
  • With 34 percent of California’s population, the Los Angeles/Orange County region produces 38 percent of California’s economic output. With only 17 percent of the population, the Bay Area produces 27 percent of the state’s output.

Economic Output Varies Throughout the State

Population and Per Capita Gross Domestic Product

Economic Output Varies Throughout the State


Job Mix Varies in Different Regions of California

Employment Concentration in Selected Sectors, 2015

Job Mix Varies in Different Regions of California

International Trade Is Important to California's Economy

2015 International Goods Exports (In Billions)

International Trade Is Important to California's Economy -- Destination Countries

International Trade Is Important to California's Economy -- Product Sectors


California Is the Nation's Leading Farm State

2015 Value of Farm Production (In Billions)

California Is the Nation's Leading Farm State -- California's Top Ten Valued Commodities in 2015 (In Billions)

California’s Top Ten Valued Commodities in 2015 (In Billions)

California Is the  Nation's Leading Farm State -- 2015 Value of Farm Production (In Billions)


Poverty Varies Across Counties, Driven in Part by Housing Costs

Poverty Ratea, 2011 Through 2013

Poverty Varies Across Counties, Driven in Part by Housing Costs

  • Unlike the federal Official Poverty Measure, the California Poverty Measure (CPM) accounts more comprehensively for certain household costs and government assistance and adjusts for regional differences in housing costs. High housing costs in a county are one factor that contributes to a high poverty rate under this measure.
  • Under the CPM, from 2011 through 2013, poverty rates varied across counties from a low of 13 percent to a high of 26 percent. Over this same period, the statewide CPM rate was 21.2 percent, equivalent to 8 million Californians being considered poor.

Top Incomes Higher in California Than in the U.S.

2015 Household Incomes

Top Incomes Higher in California Than in the U.S.

  • “Top 5%” refers to the mean of the top 5 percent of incomes. California has the fifth-highest “Top 5%” among the 50 states. (Other estimates of the highest incomes, such as the 99th percentile, are not available.)

California Home Prices Rising Faster Than U.S.

Median Home Price (In Thousands)

California Home Prices Rising Faster Than U.S.


Home Building Below Historical Norm

Residential Building Permits (In Thousands)

Home Building Below Historical Norm


Rents Higher in California

Median Monthly Rent

Rents Higher in California


Many Pay More Than One-Third of Their Income in Rent

Share of Income Spent on Rent, 2015

Many Pay More Than One-Third of Their Income in Rent


Unemployment Rates Generally Highest in Central Valley

Unemployment Rates Generally Highest in Central Valley


California’s Changing Population

(As Percent of Actual or Projected Population)

California's Changing Population -- Growing Latino Population



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