Stay Connected

Follow ERS on Twitter
Subscribe to RSS feeds
Subscribe to ERS e-Newsletters.aspx
Listen to ERS podcasts
Read ERS blogs at USDA

Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials

How much do you know about food and agriculture? What about rural America or conservation? ERS has assembled 70 charts and maps covering key information about the farm and food sectors, including agricultural markets and trade, farm incomefood prices and consumption, food security, rural economies, and the interaction of agriculture and natural resources.

How much, for example, do agriculture and related industries contribute to U.S. gross domestic product? Which commodities are the leading agricultural exports? How much of the food dollar goes to farmers? How do job earnings in rural areas compare with metro areas? These are among the statistics covered in this collection of charts and maps—with accompanying text—divided into the nine section titles listed at left.

The charts below are a sampling from the Essentials collection.

What is agriculture’s share of the overall U.S. economy?
Agriculture and agriculture-related industries contributed $835 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014, a 4.8-percent share. The output of America’s farms contributed $177.2 billion of this sum—about 1 percent of GDP. The overall contribution of the agriculture sector to GDP is larger than this because sectors related ...
Agricultural production is a major use of land, accounting for over half of the U.S. land base
U.S. land area amounts to nearly 2.3 billion acres, with nearly 1.2 billion acres in agricultural lands. The proportion of the land base in agricultural uses declined from 63 percent in 1949 to 51 percent in 2007, the latest year for which data are available. Gradual declines have occurred in ...
The number of farms has leveled off at about 2.2 million
After peaking at 6.8 million farms in 1935, the number of U.S. farms fell sharply until leveling off in the early 1970s. Falling farm numbers during this period reflected growing productivity in agriculture and increased nonfarm employment opportunities. Because the amount of farmland did not decrease as much as the ...
There are several ways to define rural and urban areas
One definition of rural, based on relatively small geographic building blocks, is provided by the U.S. Census Bureau in its urban-rural classification system. In this delineation, rural areas comprise open country and settlements with fewer than 2,500 residents. Urban areas comprise larger places and the densely settled areas around ...
U.S. agricultural production occurs in each of the 50 States
The United States produces and sells a wide variety of agricultural products across the Nation. In terms of sales value, California leads the country as the largest producer of agricultural products (crops and livestock), accounting for almost 11 percent of the national total, based on the 2012 Census of Agriculture. ...
U.S. trade surplus smallest since 2007
After 5 years of steady growth, U.S. agricultural exports declined in 2015 to $133 billion due to slower world economic growth, a strong U.S. dollar, lower exports of high-value products, and falling prices for bulk commodities. U.S. imports continued to grow at 2 percent in 2015 as the real exchange ...
Per capita availability of chicken higher than that of beef
In 2013, 57.7 pounds of chicken per person on a boneless, edible basis were available for Americans to eat, compared to 53.6 pounds of beef. Chicken began its upward climb in the 1940s, overtaking pork in 1996 as the second most consumed meat. Since 1970, U.S. chicken availability per person ...
Grocery store prices lower from a year ago
The food-at-home CPI for the second quarter of 2016 was 0.7 percent lower than the food-at-home CPI for second quarter 2015. Grocery store prices decreased on average, as many at-home food categories decreased in price, with eggs, beef and veal, poultry, dairy, and pork posting the largest declines. Egg prices ...
The prevalence of food insecurity declined from 2014 to 2015
In 2015, 87.3 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the year. The remaining 12.7 percent of households—down from 14.0 percent in 2014—were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 5.0 percent (6.3 million households) that had very low food security.  Food insecurity increased from 10.5 ...

The chart slideshow is best viewed in the most recent versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

Last updated: Monday, September 12, 2016

For more information contact: Ephraim Leibtag