The Most (and Least) Valuable States

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Placing an exact dollar value on land, from rivers and mountains to farm lands and dense urban centers, is virtually impossible. Some, though, have attempted to come up with a rough approximation. Based on the work of one economist, the total value of the 1.9 billion acres of land in the contiguous 48 states is nearly $23 trillion — roughly $12,000 an acre on average. The federal government owns nearly one-quarter of this land at a total value of $1.8 trillion.

Whether it is farmland or a sprawling metro area, the value of an acre of land is mostly determined by its use. Developed land accounts for only 6% of the land in the contiguous United States yet holds over half of the value. These places are often home to some of the nation’s largest economic engines — urban regions with high demand for real estate.

By contrast, nearly half of the land in the 48 states is used for agriculture. However, because the value of developed land dwarfs that of other uses, California alone is worth double the value of all U.S. farmland combined.

While an average acre of land could be purchased for under $2,000 in the least valuable state, an acre is more than 100 times more expensive in the most valuable state. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the estimated value of land in each of the contiguous 48 states using data from the 2015 study, “New Estimates of Value of Land of the United States.”

Click here to see the most and least valuable states.
Click here to see the methodology.

These are the most and least valuable states.