The Most and Least Valuable States

June 28, 2019 by Thomas C. Frohlich

Source: Ron_Thomas / Getty Images
Placing an accurate dollar value on America’s land — from natural features such as rivers and mountains to developed lands that include farms and skyscrapers — is virtually impossible.

Some experts, though, have attempted to arrive at a rough approximation. Based on the work of economist William D. Larson, the total value of the 1.9 billion acres in the contiguous 48 states is nearly $23 trillion — or about $12,000 an acre on average. The federal government’s stake in this land, nearly one-quarter of the acreage, is worth $1.8 trillion.

While an acre of land is valued at less than $2,000 in the least valuable state, an acre goes for more than 100 times that 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 Larson’s 2015 study, “New Estimates of Value of Land of the United States.”

Nearly half of the land in the contiguous United States is used for agriculture — the largest or one of the largest industries in several states. With three-quarters or more of the acreage in eight states used for agriculture, farming is concentrated in some states a great deal more than others.

Whether an acre of land is part of a sprawling farm or a dense metro area, its value is mostly determined by its use. Developed land, defined as area covered by roads and buildings, accounts for only 6% of the acreage in the contiguous 48 states, yet it holds more than half of the total value. Developed tracts in many cases house some of the nation’s largest economic engines — and many people live inside dense urban areas where demand for real estate is high. Many of the most valuable states are home to some of America’s richest cities.

Click here to read about the most and least valuable states.
Click here to read about our methodology.

Source: aoldman / Getty Images

48. Wyoming
> Value per acre: $1,558
> Total value: $97 billion (4th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $61,091 (6th highest)
> Median home value: $214,300 (20th highest)

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Source: John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA / Wikimedia Commons

47. New Mexico
> Value per acre: $1,931
> Total value: $150 billion (11th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $41,619 (12th lowest)
> Median home value: $171,300 (19th lowest)

Source: gsalermo / Getty Images

46. Nevada
> Value per acre: $2,116
> Total value: $149 billion (10th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $44,812 (19th lowest)
> Median home value: $258,200 (13th highest)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

45. South Dakota
> Value per acre: $2,135
> Total value: $103 billion (5th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $48,004 (24th highest)
> Median home value: $167,600 (17th lowest)

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Source: HaizhanZheng / Getty Images

44. Montana
> Value per acre: $2,283
> Total value: $213 billion (16th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $39,833 (10th lowest)
> Median home value: $231,300 (16th highest)

Source: Christopher Cagney / Getty Images

43. North Dakota
> Value per acre: $2,517
> Total value: $110 billion (6th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $64,911 (3rd highest)
> Median home value: $194,700 (24th highest)

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Source: chapin31 / Getty Images

42. Nebraska
> Value per acre: $2,936
> Total value: $144 billion (9th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $54,654 (13th highest)
> Median home value: $155,800 (12th lowest)

Source: Ron_Thomas / Getty Images

41. Idaho
> Value per acre: $3,435
> Total value: $182 billion (14th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $36,441 (2nd lowest)
> Median home value: $207,100 (22nd highest)

Source: ricardoreitmeyer / Getty Images

40. Kansas
> Value per acre: $4,220
> Total value: $220 billion (17th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $47,435 (24th lowest)
> Median home value: $150,600 (10th lowest)

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Source: FilippoBacci / Getty Images

39. Arizona
> Value per acre: $4,328
> Total value: $315 billion (21st lowest)
> GDP per capita: $39,583 (9th lowest)
> Median home value: $223,400 (19th highest)

Source: johnnya123 / Getty Images

38. Utah
> Value per acre: $4,664
> Total value: $247 billion (20th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $45,493 (21st lowest)
> Median home value: $275,100 (9th highest)

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Source: Nlsanfor / Wikimedia Commons

37. Mississippi
> Value per acre: $5,565
> Total value: $166 billion (13th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $32,447 (the lowest)
> Median home value: $120,200 (2nd lowest)

Source: EJ-J / Getty Images

36. Maine
> Value per acre: $6,142
> Total value: $122 billion (8th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $39,521 (8th lowest)
> Median home value: $191,200 (24th lowest)

Source: Gary Gray / Getty Images

35. Colorado
> Value per acre: $6,462
> Total value: $429 billion (16th highest)
> GDP per capita: $54,026 (14th highest)
> Median home value: $348,900 (3rd highest)

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Source: Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives / Wikimedia Commons

34. Oregon
> Value per acre: $6,503
> Total value: $400 billion (20th highest)
> GDP per capita: $51,312 (20th highest)
> Median home value: $319,200 (6th highest)

Source: LarryLindell / Getty Images

33. Iowa
> Value per acre: $6,590
> Total value: $235 billion (19th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $52,284 (17th highest)
> Median home value: $149,100 (9th lowest)

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Source: ABDESIGN / Getty Images

32. Arkansas
> Value per acre: $6,739
> Total value: $224 billion (18th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $36,714 (3rd lowest)
> Median home value: $128,500 (3rd lowest)

Source: alexeys / Getty Images

31. Kentucky
> Value per acre: $7,209
> Total value: $183 billion (15th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $39,277 (7th lowest)
> Median home value: $141,000 (5th lowest)

Source: christopher friese / Wikimedia Commons

30. Missouri
> Value per acre: $7,233
> Total value: $318 billion (22nd lowest)
> GDP per capita: $43,036 (13th lowest)
> Median home value: $156,700 (13th lowest)

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Source: jonathan c. wheeler / Wikimedia Commons

29. Oklahoma
> Value per acre: $7,364
> Total value: $323 billion (23rd lowest)
> GDP per capita: $44,535 (17th lowest)
> Median home value: $137,400 (4th lowest)

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

28. Vermont
> Value per acre: $7,439
> Total value: $44 billion (the lowest)
> GDP per capita: $44,831 (20th lowest)
> Median home value: $226,300 (17th highest)

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Source: kanonsky / Getty Images

27. Texas
> Value per acre: $7,542
> Total value: $1.3 trillion (2nd highest)
> GDP per capita: $53,737 (15th highest)
> Median home value: $172,200 (20th lowest)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

26. Minnesota
> Value per acre: $8,191
> Total value: $416 billion (17th highest)
> GDP per capita: $54,805 (12th highest)
> Median home value: $224,000 (18th highest)

Source: Yinan Chen / Wikimedia Commons

25. Wisconsin
> Value per acre: $9,924
> Total value: $344 billion (24th highest)
> GDP per capita: $48,666 (21st highest)
> Median home value: $178,900 (22nd lowest)

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Source: Ron_Thomas / Getty Images

24. West Virginia
> Value per acre: $10,537
> Total value: $162 billion (12th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $37,353 (4th lowest)
> Median home value: $119,800 (the lowest)

Source: Chris Wilson / Getty Images

23. Alabama
> Value per acre: $12,356
> Total value: $400 billion (19th highest)
> GDP per capita: $37,508 (5th lowest)
> Median home value: $141,300 (7th lowest)

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Source: nolamissesyou / Getty Images

22. Louisiana
> Value per acre: $12,908
> Total value: $354 billion (23rd highest)
> GDP per capita: $44,372 (16th lowest)
> Median home value: $162,500 (15th lowest)

Source: RobHainer / Getty Images

21. Georgia
> Value per acre: $14,242
> Total value: $528 billion (12th highest)
> GDP per capita: $45,925 (22nd lowest)
> Median home value: $173,700 (21st lowest)

Source: Jacqueline Nix / Getty Images

20. Tennessee
> Value per acre: $14,411
> Total value: $380 billion (22nd highest)
> GDP per capita: $44,348 (15th lowest)
> Median home value: $167,500 (16th lowest)

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Source: kevron2001 / Getty Images

19. North Carolina
> Value per acre: $16,230
> Total value: $506 billion (14th highest)
> GDP per capita: $44,706 (18th lowest)
> Median home value: $171,200 (18th lowest)

Source: RomanKhomlyak / Getty Images

18. Washington
> Value per acre: $16,752
> Total value: $716 billion (10th highest)
> GDP per capita: $59,333 (8th highest)
> Median home value: $339,000 (4th highest)

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Source: Kenneth_Keifer / Getty Images

17. Indiana
> Value per acre: $16,903
> Total value: $387 billion (21st highest)
> GDP per capita: $46,427 (23rd lowest)
> Median home value: $141,100 (6th lowest)

Source: ehrlif / Getty Images

16. South Carolina
> Value per acre: $17,610
> Total value: $339 billion (24th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $37,637 (6th lowest)
> Median home value: $161,800 (14th lowest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

15. New Hampshire
> Value per acre: $19,840
> Total value: $114 billion (7th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $52,509 (16th highest)
> Median home value: $263,600 (12th highest)

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Source: ablokhin / Getty Images

14. Virginia
> Value per acre: $21,921
> Total value: $555 billion (11th highest)
> GDP per capita: $52,124 (18th highest)
> Median home value: $273,400 (10th highest)

Source: vxla / Flickr

13. Illinois
> Value per acre: $23,492
> Total value: $833 billion (9th highest)
> GDP per capita: $55,102 (11th highest)
> Median home value: $195,300 (23rd highest)

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Source: Yinan Chen / Wikimedia Commons

12. Michigan
> Value per acre: $23,765
> Total value: $865 billion (7th highest)
> GDP per capita: $44,201 (14th lowest)
> Median home value: $155,700 (11th lowest)

Source: Ebyabe / Wikimedia Commons

11. Florida
> Value per acre: $28,961
> Total value: $1.0 trillion (4th highest)
> GDP per capita: $39,842 (11th lowest)
> Median home value: $214,000 (21st highest)

Source: Jakec / Wikimedia Commons

10. Pennsylvania
> Value per acre: $31,923
> Total value: $914 billion (6th highest)
> GDP per capita: $51,841 (19th highest)
> Median home value: $181,200 (23rd lowest)

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Source: JackieNix / Getty Images

9. Ohio
> Value per acre: $32,077
> Total value: $838 billion (8th highest)
> GDP per capita: $48,188 (23rd highest)
> Median home value: $144,200 (8th lowest)

Source: sheila_sund / Flickr

8. California
> Value per acre: $39,092
> Total value: $3.9 trillion (the highest)
> GDP per capita: $60,359 (7th highest)
> Median home value: $509,400 (the highest)

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Source: kenlund / Flickr

7. New York
> Value per acre: $41,314
> Total value: $1.2 trillion (3rd highest)
> GDP per capita: $65,220 (2nd highest)
> Median home value: $314,500 (7th highest)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

6. Delaware
> Value per acre: $57,692
> Total value: $72 billion (2nd lowest)
> GDP per capita: $63,955 (4th highest)
> Median home value: $252,800 (15th highest)

Source: 82955120@N05 / Flickr

5. Maryland
> Value per acre: $75,429
> Total value: $470 billion (15th highest)
> GDP per capita: $56,375 (10th highest)
> Median home value: $312,500 (8th highest)

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

4. Massachusetts
> Value per acre: $102,214
> Total value: $517 billion (13th highest)
> GDP per capita: $66,500 (the highest)
> Median home value: $385,400 (2nd highest)

Source: Pedro Xing / Wikimedia Commons

3. Connecticut
> Value per acre: $128,824
> Total value: $400 billion (18th highest)
> GDP per capita: $62,633 (5th highest)
> Median home value: $273,100 (11th highest)

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Source: Joshua McDonough / Getty Images

2. Rhode Island
> Value per acre: $133,730
> Total value: $90 billion (3rd lowest)
> GDP per capita: $48,314 (22nd highest)
> Median home value: $257,800 (14th highest)

Source: Ultima_Gaina / Getty Images

1. New Jersey
> Value per acre: $196,410
> Total value: $930 billion (5th highest)
> GDP per capita: $56,776 (9th highest)
> Median home value: $334,900 (5th highest)

Methodology

To identify the most (and least) valuable states, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the estimated average land value for each state from an April 2015 working paper by William Larson for the Bureau of Economic Analysis. To generate a comprehensive valuation of the 48 contiguous states, Larson’s study, “New Estimates of Value of Land of the United States,” presented a range of land value models for estimating land prices in 2009. The GDP-per-capita figures came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and are for 2017. The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Consumer Survey 1-Year Estimates served as the source for the median home value data and figures are for 2017.