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North Carolina Ranks Second in National Study of Christmas Trees Grown and Harvested

By Kathy Morris, Zippia.com

Last year, Americans decorated more than 32 million Christmas trees. No, not artificial trees from a box or Amazon, real Christmas living trees.

This year is expected to be another banner year for Christmas trees.

With evergreen on our minds, we here at Zippia set out to see which state was making the most green from all these Christmas tree sales- and which states have the most jobs created from the Christmas tree biz.

We chopped through the data like it was a towering evergreen, and here’s what we found about the biggest Christmas tree producing states in America:

A Summary Of the Biggest Christmas Tree Producers:

  • The average cost of a Christmas tree last year was $78
  • 32.8 million trees sold last year, for over a billion dollars
  • Since it takes an average of 7 years for a tree to grow, close to 350 million Christmas trees are currently growing in the US on over 300,000 acres.
  • Oregon harvests the most trees and has the highest revenue from tree sales.
  • California is #1 for tree-related jobs, but #15 for wages paid.
  • There are over 10,000 Christmas Tree operations in the U.S., and over 100,000 people are employed full or part-time in the industry.

A Note on Methodology
For this analysis, we went first to the National Christmas Tree Association, yes, it exists.

From the National Christmas Tree Association, we gathered:

  • Trees harvested
  • Acres in production
  • Tree operations
  • Number of Christmas tree sales.

For information on Christmas tree-related jobs, we looked at the United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA) nursery report for information on workers hired by state. The USDA only included the top 17 states and operations with over $10,000+ sales.

However, since the industry is so top-heavy (the top 3 states employ more workers than the bottom 14 combined), this data captures the vast majority of all workers.

The Christmas tree industry directly employs over 100,000 works in the United States, part and full time. This includes jobs from tree farming to tree sales.

The winner for jobs is California, where a whopping 23,738 workers can thank the seasonal festivities for their paycheck.

While California might have the most people employed by the tree industry, they are not paying the most in wages. Oregon, also the #1 grower, takes the prize, while California drops dramatically #15.

Oregon harvested 37% of all Christmas trees on a staggering 53 thousand acres.

If you tree didn’t come from Oregon, it might have came from North Carolina or Michigan. The top three states harvest 72% of all Christmas trees.

Where do Christmas trees go after they get that fateful cut? Here are where most Americans buy their tree.

If your Christmas tree could talk, it might tell you where it grew or just how many people it helped employ. Of course, it might also tell you how much it hates tinsel and how itchy the star is, so maybe it’s for the best you don’t chit chat.

Regardless of where your particular tree came from, it helped contribute to an industry that employs over 100,000 people and encompasses over 300,000 acres. It’s more than just a seasonal decoration- it’s an economic powerhouse.