For nearly 50 years and counting, U.S. imports have exceeded exports—and 2021 was no exception. Imports of goods to the U.S. equaled $2.8 trillion, relative to $1.8 trillion for exports, putting the 2021 goods trade deficit at its highest level on record.
Using data on global trade from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, we take a closer look at the value of American goods imports and visualize them state by state.
The Top 10 Importing States, by Total Goods Value
The top 10 states by import value account for 64.5% of all U.S. imports, or $1.8 trillion.
|Rank||State||Import Value ($B)||Share (%)|
|Top 10 States||$1,838.6||64.5%|
Overall, the goods trade deficit—the amount by which a country’s imports exceed its exports—was more than $1 trillion in 2021, increasing over 18% from the previous year. Goods imports specifically increased by nearly $502 billion, a 21% increase year-over-year.
California, the U.S.’s top importer, saw over $470 billion worth of goods come in last year. Some of its big ticket items fell in line with the state’s tech sector’s needs, like automatic data processing machines and accessories and parts for said machinery. California’s own deficit is quite high—the state’s goods exports were only valued at approximately $175 billion. The state’s busy ports are a key entry point for goods arriving from Asia, which helps explain this deficit.
In contrast, the country’s top export state is Texas at $375 billion, outweighing its imports and shipping out goods like coal and petroleum. All but three of the country’s top importers—Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Georgia—were also among the country’s top 10 exporters.
Where are Imports Coming From?
Here’s a look at the country’s top trade partners for goods imports and the value of their imports in 2022 as of April.
|Rank||Country||Import Value ($B) as of April ’22||Share of Total|
Over half of the top import partners for the United States are located in Asia. China is by far America’s top source of goods, making up 17% of the country’s imports.
Meanwhile, Canada and Mexico each account for roughly 14% of America’s goods imports due to the close proximity, strong economic ties, and trade agreements.