For more than four decades, from 1931 until 1972, the Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world. Standing at 1,454-foot, including the antenna, it was the first building in history with more than 100 stories. At the time, it was hardly believed that it was possible to build anything above 1,000 feet.
Fast-forward to 2021, and in the rankings of today’s tallest man-made structures, the Empire State Building doesn’t even make the top 40. It’s not even in the top five in its home state.
To determine the tallest building in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from several sources, including the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Only completely finished buildings were considered.
The tallest building in a state is typically in its largest city. Most are office buildings, several are hotels and casinos, and a couple are government buildings.
The height of a state’s tallest building often reflects the size of its largest city’s economy. The tallest buildings on this list tend to be in the largest cities in the country in terms of economic output.
Likewise, states with smaller economies often lack the commercial activity that would necessitate a skyscraper. The tallest building in North Dakota, for example, is in Bismarck. The metro area’s GDP is about $7.7 billion, a miniscule amount compared to New York City’s metro area’s GDP of $1.9 trillion. The North Dakota State Capitol is just 242 feet tall, or 19 stories high. By comparison, there are thousands of buildings in New York City alone that are 20 stories or higher.
For many years, the U.S. has dominated the world skyscraper rankings. Now, many of the world’s tallest buildings are in Asia and the Middle East — these are the 50 tallest buildings in the world.