The Biggest Company the Year You Were Born

May 17, 2018 by Thomas C. Frohlich

GM Hedquarter in Detroit
Source: Thinkstock

GM Hedquarter in Detroit

To succeed in the U.S. economy, companies must constantly adapt to changing conditions. Though some of the nation’s largest corporations — companies such as General Electric, Exxon Mobil, and Walmart — have always dominated, for many American consumers the landscape of companies has shifted over the course of their lifetimes.

Though industrial companies used to be among the largest in terms of revenue, in the more modern era internet and tech giants like Google, Apple, and Amazon, are decisively making their way toward the top of the list.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed annual revenue figures for the nation’s largest 500 companies in each year from 1955 to 2016 — figures came from business magazine Fortune. General Motors was the nation’s largest company throughout the 1950s, ‘60s, and part of the ‘70s. Exxon Mobil edged out the automaker in 1975, but GM returned to the No. 1 position periodically in subsequent years.

Since 2001, either Walmart or Exxon Mobil has occupied the top spot. With revenue of $496 billion in its most recent fiscal year, the global retailing giant is the world’s largest company by revenue.

Because these are the country’s largest companies, any meaningful deterioration in size — rather than simply in response to cyclical economic and sectoral forces — usually takes years, if not decades to manifest. Gradual changes in size over the longer term among Fortune 500 companies reflect larger trends in the U.S. economy. For example, the decline of automobile company GM and the rise of retailer Walmart over the past 50 years reflect the decline of American manufacturing and the rise of the service sector over that time.

To identify the largest companies in the year you were born, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed annual revenue figures for companies on the Fortune 500 each year from 1955 through 2016. For every year since 1955, the top five companies by revenue are listed.

Click here to see the biggest company the year you were born.

General Motors, 1955
Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. General Motors: $9.82 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $5.66 billion
3. U.S. Steel: $3.25 billion
4. General Electric: $2.96 billion
5. Esmark: $2.51 billion

General Motors, 1956
Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. General Motors: $12.44 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $6.27 billion
3. Ford Motor: $5.59 billion
4. U.S. Steel: $4.10 billion
5. Chrysler: $3.47 billion

General Motors, 1957
Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. General Motors: $10.80 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $7.13 billion
3. Ford Motor: $4.65 billion
4. U.S. Steel: $4.23 billion
5. General Electric: $4.09 billion

General Motors, 1958
Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. General Motors: $10.99 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $7.83 billion
3. Ford Motor: $5.77 billion
4. U.S. Steel: $4.41 billion
5. General Electric: $4.34 billion

General Motors, 1959
Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. General Motors: $9.52 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $7.54 billion
3. Ford Motor: $4.13 billion
4. General Electric: $4.12 billion
5. U.S. Steel: $3.47 billion

General Motors, 1960
Source: sv1ambo / Wikimedia Commons

1. General Motors: $11.23 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $7.91 billion
3. Ford Motor: $5.36 billion
4. General Electric: $4.35 billion
5. U.S. Steel: $3.64 billion

General Motors, 1961
Source:

1. General Motors: $12.74 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $8.04 billion
3. Ford Motor: $5.24 billion
4. General Electric: $4.20 billion
5. U.S. Steel: $3.70 billion

General Motors, 1962
Source:

1. General Motors: $11.40 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $8.44 billion
3. Ford Motor: $6.71 billion
4. General Electric: $4.46 billion
5. Mobil: $3.32 billion

General Motors, 1963
Source:

1. General Motors: $14.64 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $9.54 billion
3. Ford Motor: $8.09 billion
4. General Electric: $4.79 billion
5. Mobil: $3.93 billion

I'm interested in the Newsletter
 

General Motors, 1964
Source:

1. General Motors: $16.50 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $10.26 billion
3. Ford Motor: $8.74 billion
4. General Electric: $4.92 billion
5. Mobil: $4.35 billion

General Motors, 1965
Source:

1. General Motors: $17.00 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $10.82 billion
3. Ford Motor: $9.67 billion
4. General Electric: $4.94 billion
5. Mobil: $4.50 billion

Ex-Rose City Transit bus 575 r113f24b
Source:

1. General Motors: $20.73 billion
2. Ford Motor: $11.54 billion
3. Exxon Mobil: $11.47 billion
4. General Electric: $6.21 billion
5. Chrysler: $5.30 billion

General Motors, 1967
Source:

1. General Motors: $20.21 billion
2. Ford Motor: $12.24 billion
3. Exxon Mobil: $12.19 billion
4. General Electric: $7.18 billion
5. Chrysler: $5.65 billion

General Motors, 1968
Source:

1. General Motors: $20.03 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $13.27 billion
3. Ford Motor: $10.52 billion
4. General Electric: $7.74 billion
5. Chrysler: $6.21 billion

General Motors, 1969
Source:

1. General Motors: $22.76 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $14.09 billion
3. Ford Motor: $14.08 billion
4. General Electric: $8.38 billion
5. Chrysler: $7.45 billion

General Motors, 1970
Source:

1. General Motors: $24.30 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $14.93 billion
3. Ford Motor: $14.76 billion
4. General Electric: $8.45 billion
5. International Business Machines: $7.20 billion

General Motors, 1971
Source:

1. General Motors: $18.75 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $16.55 billion
3. Ford Motor: $14.98 billion
4. General Electric: $8.73 billion
5. International Business Machines: $7.50 billion

I'm interested in the Newsletter
 

General Motors, 1972
Source:

1. General Motors: $28.26 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $18.70 billion
3. Ford Motor: $16.43 billion
4. General Electric: $9.43 billion
5. International Business Machines: $8.27 billion

General Motors, 1973
Source:

1. General Motors: $30.44 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $20.31 billion
3. Ford Motor: $20.19 billion
4. General Electric: $10.24 billion
5. Chrysler: $9.76 billion

General Motors, 1974
Source:

1. General Motors: $35.80 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $25.72 billion
3. Ford Motor: $23.02 billion
4. Chrysler: $11.77 billion
5. General Electric: $11.58 billion

ExxonMobil, 1975
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $42.06 billion
2. General Motors: $31.55 billion
3. Ford Motor: $23.62 billion
4. Texaco: $23.26 billion
5. Mobil: $18.93 billion

Offshore drilling platform
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $44.87 billion
2. General Motors: $35.73 billion
3. Texaco: $24.51 billion
4. Ford Motor: $24.01 billion
5. Mobil: $20.62 billion

Oil Storage Tanks
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $48.63 billion
2. General Motors: $47.18 billion
3. Ford Motor: $28.84 billion
4. Texaco: $26.45 billion
5. Mobil: $26.06 billion

General Motors, 1978
Source:

1. General Motors: $54.96 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $54.13 billion
3. Ford Motor: $37.84 billion
4. Mobil: $32.13 billion
5. Texaco: $27.92 billion

General Motors, 1979
Source:

1. General Motors: $63.22 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $60.34 billion
3. Ford Motor: $42.78 billion
4. Mobil: $34.74 billion
5. Texaco: $28.61 billion

Oil derricks
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $79.11 billion
2. General Motors: $66.31 billion
3. Mobil: $44.72 billion
4. Ford Motor: $43.51 billion
5. Texaco: $38.35 billion

200361915-001
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $103.14 billion
2. Mobil: $59.51 billion
3. General Motors: $57.73 billion
4. Texaco: $51.20 billion
5. Chevron: $40.48 billion

ExxonMobil, 1982
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $108.11 billion
2. Mobil: $64.49 billion
3. General Motors: $62.70 billion
4. Texaco: $57.63 billion
5. Chevron: $44.22 billion

ExxonMobil, 1983
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $97.17 billion
2. General Motors: $60.03 billion
3. Mobil: $59.95 billion
4. Texaco: $46.99 billion
5. Ford Motor: $37.07 billion

I'm interested in the Newsletter
 

ExxonMobil, 1984
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $88.56 billion
2. General Motors: $74.58 billion
3. Mobil: $54.61 billion
4. Ford Motor: $44.46 billion
5. International Business Machines: $40.18 billion

Oil pumps
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $90.85 billion
2. General Motors: $83.89 billion
3. Mobil: $56.05 billion
4. Ford Motor: $52.37 billion
5. Texaco: $47.33 billion

General Motors, 1986
Source:

1. General Motors: $96.37 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $86.67 billion
3. Mobil: $55.96 billion
4. Ford Motor: $52.77 billion
5. International Business Machines: $50.06 billion

Detroit riverfront
Source:

1. General Motors: $102.81 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $69.89 billion
3. Ford Motor: $62.72 billion
4. International Business Machines: $51.25 billion
5. Mobil: $44.87 billion

General Motors, 1988
Source:

1. General Motors: $101.78 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $76.42 billion
3. Ford Motor: $71.64 billion
4. International Business Machines: $54.22 billion
5. Mobil: $51.22 billion

General Motors, 1989
Source:

1. General Motors: $121.09 billion
2. Ford Motor: $92.45 billion
3. Exxon Mobil: $79.56 billion
4. International Business Machines: $59.68 billion
5. General Electric: $49.41 billion

General Motors, 1990
Source:

1. General Motors: $126.97 billion
2. Ford Motor: $96.93 billion
3. Exxon Mobil: $86.66 billion
4. International Business Machines: $63.44 billion
5. General Electric: $55.26 billion

General Motors, 1991
Source:

1. General Motors: $125.13 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $105.89 billion
3. Ford Motor: $98.28 billion
4. International Business Machines: $69.02 billion
5. Mobil: $58.77 billion

I'm interested in the Newsletter
 

General Motors, 1992
Source:

1. General Motors: $123.78 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $103.24 billion
3. Ford Motor: $88.96 billion
4. International Business Machines: $65.39 billion
5. General Electric: $60.24 billion

General Motors, 1993
Source:

1. General Motors: $132.78 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $103.55 billion
3. Ford Motor: $100.79 billion
4. International Business Machines: $65.10 billion
5. General Electric: $62.20 billion

General Motors, 1994
Source:

1. General Motors: $133.62 billion
2. Ford Motor: $108.52 billion
3. Exxon Mobil: $97.83 billion
4. International Business Machines: $62.72 billion
5. General Electric: $60.82 billion

General Motors, 1995
Source:

1. General Motors: $154.95 billion
2. Ford Motor: $128.44 billion
3. Exxon Mobil: $101.46 billion
4. Wal-Mart Stores: $83.41 billion
5. AT&T: $75.09 billion

General Motors, 1996
Source:

1. General Motors: $168.83 billion
2. Ford Motor: $137.14 billion
3. Exxon Mobil: $110.01 billion
4. Wal-Mart Stores: $93.63 billion
5. AT&T: $79.61 billion

General Motors, 1997
Source:

1. General Motors: $168.37 billion
2. Ford Motor: $146.99 billion
3. Exxon Mobil: $119.43 billion
4. Wal-Mart Stores: $106.15 billion
5. General Electric: $79.18 billion

General Motors, 1998
Source:

1. General Motors: $178.17 billion
2. Ford Motor: $153.63 billion
3. Exxon Mobil: $122.38 billion
4. Wal-Mart Stores: $119.30 billion
5. General Electric: $90.84 billion

General Motors, 1999
Source:

1. General Motors: $161.32 billion
2. Ford Motor: $144.42 billion
3. Wal-Mart Stores: $139.21 billion
4. Exxon Mobil: $100.70 billion
5. General Electric: $100.47 billion

General Motors, 2000
Source:

1. General Motors: $189.06 billion
2. Wal-Mart Stores: $166.81 billion
3. Exxon Mobil: $163.88 billion
4. Ford Motor: $162.56 billion
5. General Electric: $111.63 billion

modern tanker
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $210.39 billion
2. Wal-Mart Stores: $193.30 billion
3. General Motors: $184.63 billion
4. Ford Motor: $180.60 billion
5. General Electric: $129.85 billion

Walmart, 2002
Source:

1. Wal-Mart Stores: $219.81 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $191.58 billion
3. General Motors: $177.26 billion
4. Ford Motor: $162.41 billion
5. Enron: $138.72 billion

Walmart, 2003
Source:

1. Wal-Mart Stores: $246.53 billion
2. General Motors: $186.76 billion
3. Exxon Mobil: $182.47 billion
4. Ford Motor: $163.63 billion
5. General Electric: $131.70 billion

Walmart, 2004
Source:

1. Wal-Mart Stores: $258.68 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $213.20 billion
3. General Motors: $195.65 billion
4. Ford Motor: $164.50 billion
5. General Electric: $134.19 billion

Walmart, 2005
Source:

1. Wal-Mart Stores: $288.19 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $270.77 billion
3. General Motors: $193.52 billion
4. Ford Motor: $172.23 billion
5. General Electric: $152.36 billion

Offshore oil rig drilling platform
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $339.94 billion
2. Wal-Mart Stores: $315.65 billion
3. General Motors: $192.60 billion
4. Chevron: $189.48 billion
5. Ford Motor: $177.21 billion

Woman picking fresh onion inside Walmart store
Source:

1. Wal-Mart Stores: $351.14 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $347.25 billion
3. General Motors: $207.35 billion
4. Chevron: $200.57 billion
5. ConocoPhillips: $172.45 billion

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Source:

1. Wal-Mart Stores: $378.80 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $372.82 billion
3. Chevron: $210.78 billion
4. General Motors: $182.35 billion
5. ConocoPhillips: $178.56 billion

ExxonMobil, 2009
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $442.85 billion
2. Wal-Mart Stores: $405.61 billion
3. Chevron: $263.16 billion
4. ConocoPhillips: $230.76 billion
5. General Electric: $183.21 billion

Walmart, 2010
Source:

1. Wal-Mart Stores: $408.21 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $284.65 billion
3. Chevron: $163.53 billion
4. General Electric: $156.78 billion
5. Bank of America Corp.: $150.45 billion

Fannie Mae, 2011
Source:

1. Wal-Mart Stores: $421.85 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $354.67 billion
3. Chevron: $196.34 billion
4. ConocoPhillips: $184.97 billion
5. Fannie Mae: $153.83 billion

ExxonMobil, 2012
Source:

1. Exxon Mobil: $452.93 billion
2. Wal-Mart Stores: $446.95 billion
3. Chevron: $245.62 billion
4. ConocoPhillips: $237.27 billion
5. General Motors: $150.28 billion

PLUM3G
Source:

1. Wal-mart Stores: $469.16 billion
2. Exxon Mobil Corporation: $449.89 billion
3. Chevron Corporation: $233.90 billion
4. Phillips 66: $169.55 billion
5. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.: $162.46 billion

I'm interested in the Newsletter
 

Walmart, 2014
Source:

1. Wal-mart Stores: $476.29 billion
2. Exxon Mobil Corporation: $407.67 billion
3. Chevron Corporation: $220.36 billion
4. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.: $182.15 billion
5. Apple, Inc.: $170.91 billion

Walmart, 2015
Source:

1. Wal-mart Stores: $485.65 billion
2. Exxon Mobil Corporation: $382.60 billion
3. Chevron Corporation: $203.78 billion
4. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.: $194.67 billion
5. Apple, Inc.: $182.80 billion

Source: slobo / Getty Images

1. Wal-mart Stores: $485.87 billion
2. Berkshire Hathaway: $223.60 billion
3. Apple: $215.64 billion
4. Exxon Mobil: $205.00 billion
5. McKesson: $192.49 billion