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The GDP of Washington, DC

The FRED Blog's 600th post

The FRED Blog’s 600th post concentrates on Washington, DC—partly because “DC” is 600 in Roman numerals, but also because DC’s GDP might surprise you.

The District of Columbia isn’t a state and is invisible on GeoFRED maps of the U.S., but in many respects it’s treated like a state. At the time of this writing, FRED has 2,001 data series about the District of Columbia, most from state-level sources.

DC has 0.2% of the U.S. population, which is larger than the population of both Vermont and Wyoming. DC has 0.7% of the nation’s GDP, which is larger than the GDP of 16 states and is equal to the combined GDPs of Vermont, Wyoming, and Montana. The FRED graph above shows DC and 11 of those states with smaller GDP. (We’d show all 16, but FRED graphs limit the number of series to 12.)

Is this sizeable GDP driven by government? Of course, DC is the nation’s capital and much of the economic activity in DC is from government. But, as the graph below shows, there’s much more than that. And, while real GDP from government has grown a bit, real GDP from non-government sources has grown faster.

How these graphs were created: For the first graph: Search for “GDP District of Columbia,” click on the series name, and shrink the sample period to the minimum. From the “Edit Graph” panel, use “Add Line” to add the states one by one. From the “Format” tab, choose graph type “Bar.” For the second graph, search again for the GDP of DC, but this time take the real series, as we want to show several periods. Add the other series by searching for “District of Columbia Government GDP,” again being careful to take the real series.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

View on FRED, series used in this post: ARNGSP, DCGOVRGSP, DCNGSP, DCRGSP, DENGSP, MENGSP, MSNGSP, MTNGSP, NENGSP, NHNGSP, NMNGSP, SDNGSP, VTNGSP, WVNGSP


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