States home to the most Fortune 500 companies

Written by:
April 11, 2018

States home to the most Fortune 500 companies

For 63 years, Fortune has compiled a list of the 500 most profitable companies in the United States. The list gives a run-down of the very tip-top of the American economy. Fortune 500 companies pulled in an eye-popping $12 trillion in revenue just last year and accounted for two-thirds of the United States' GDP, so it's easy to see why inclusion on the list might be a goal of your favorite neighborhood mega-corporation.

While the Fortune 500 might be a badge of honor for C-suite types across the country, they aren't the only ones allowed to be proud of the annual ranking. States who have made themselves attractive to the biggest corporations in the country certainly have something to crow about. Given the extreme lengths some locales have gone to to bag Amazon's HQ2, it's clear that netting a big fish of the business world is a goal for many governors and state politicians. Why would someone build giant boxes and buttons if they weren't hoping for the knock-on effects that a company like Bezos' behemoth might bring?

With that in mind, Stacker dug through the most recent iteration of the list to see which states have pulled in the most prized specimens. The bottom of the list is populated with unexpected powerhouses in the Deep South and Midwest; while they may only have one or two companies in the 500 to call their own, they can take solace in the fact that 24 states came up with a goose egg. Read on to find out which states made the cut. 

#37. Alabama

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 1

Top Company: Regions Financial

Alabama hangs out in the back of the pack as the only entrant with just one company within its borders. The state might be historically known for metalworks and the college football slugfests named for them, but a bank put them on the map. Regions Financial has called Alabama home since its founding in 1971.

#30 (Tie). Delaware

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 2

Top companies: DuPont, Chemours

Thanks to its business-friendly laws, the tiny First State is the legal home of more than 65% of the Fortune 500. Chemical manufacturer DuPont and its corporate spin-off Chemours are the only ones who are physically headquartered in the only state in the Union without commercial flights.

#30 (Tie). District of Columbia

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 2

Top companies: Fannie Mae, Danaher

The nation’s capital has other irons in the fire, so it can be forgiven for only luring two of the 500 corporations into city limits. Mortgage lender Fannie Mae and mega-conglomerate Danaher are both situated in the Northwestern part of the city.

#30 (Tie). Idaho

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 2

Top companies: Albertsons Companies, Micron Technology

Unlike the sacks of potatoes that are so frequently associated with the state, Idaho’s Fortune 500 companies are a mixed bag. Albertsons Companies oversees its namesake grocery chain, Safeway, Jewel-Osco and other regional markets from its headquarters in Boise. Across town, Micron builds semiconductors and other computer parts.

#30 (Tie). Kansas

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 2

Top companies: Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Seaboard

Anyone who has ever been to Kansas would not be surprised to learn that one of its two largest companies is rooted in agriculture. Seaboard keeps its eyes on the soil of the Jayhawk State while Spirit AeroSystems is focused on the sky—building fuselages and other components of passenger aircraft. 

#30 (Tie). Louisiana

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 2

Top companies: CenturyLink, Entergy

You might expect Louisiana’s most profitable companies to be oil-related, but both of the state’s entries on this list are utilities. CenturyLink, headquartered in Monroe, provides internet to over six million subscribers and Entergy powers homes throughout the Deep South.

#30 (Tie). Nevada

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 2

Top companies: Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International

Nevada’s Fortune 500 companies do exactly what you’d expect: generating money from the glitzy Las Vegas strip. Between the two, the companies operate numerous famous hotels including the Venetian and the Bellagio.

#30 (Tie). Oregon

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 2

Top companies: Nike, Lithia Motors

Oregon might be known for lumberjacks and the baristas who dress like them, but it’s their homegrown sneaker brand turned athletic-wear behemoth that stands out on this list. What started as a passion project to make a better track and field shoe for University of Oregon athletes has grown into the largest sportswear brand in the world—and the exclusive provider of the NFL’s on-field apparel.

#28 (Tie). Iowa

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 3

Top companies: Principal Financial, Casey's General Stores, Rockwell Collins

Iowa is known as a bellwether for the rest of the United States, and the way that their residents swing in political elections carries outsized weight for the rest of the country. So it makes a certain kind of sense that their three biggest companies are a cross-section of different industries: banking, retail, and manufacturing, respectively.

#28 (Tie). Kentucky

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 3

Top companies: Humana, Kindred Healthcare, Yum Brands

The Bluegrass State is a bit of a healthcare hub, with insurance provider Humana and care company Kindred operating out of Louisville. However, most people's interaction with Kentucky comes via Yum Brands, the fast-food juggernaut the operates Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken (of course).

#24 (Tie). Arizona

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 4

Top companies: Avnet, Freeport-McMoRan, Republic Services, Insight Enterprises

Most talk about Arizona is going to end up being about emptiness. The state is prized for its sprawling deserts and natural wonders. But the state is more than just the Grand Canyon, with mining companies, waste management corporations and technological components peddlers calling it home.

#24 (Tie). Maryland

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 4

Top companies: Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Discovery Communications, Host Hotels & Resorts

You won’t find any crab fishing enterprises among Maryland’s top companies, reputation aside. However, anyone curious about the Atlantic state’s most famous export can probably catch a documentary on the crustaceans via the Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications.

#24 (Tie). Nebraska

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 4

Top companies: Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific, Peter Kiewit Sons', Mutual of Omaha Insurance

Nebraska’s centrality makes it a perfect spot for railroad mega-corp Union Pacific to call home. The Cornhusker State is also where benevolent billionaire Warren Buffett lays his head, close to the headquarters of his own Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha.

#24 (Tie). Rhode Island

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 4

Top companies: CVS Health, Textron, United Natural Foods, Citizens Financial Group

Rhode Island is tiny, but it packs quite a few powerhouses in its 1,200 square miles. CVS Health has its headquarters in Woonsocket, and it might be the only building that CVS ever built without a Walgreens across the street.

#23. Oklahoma

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 5

Top companies: Devon Energy, NGL Energy Partners, Oneok, Chesapeake Energy, Williams

Oklahoma sits on top of huge reserves of natural gas and oil. The Sooner State's Fortune 500 companies reflect this, with all five of them working in some corner of the energy business.

#22. Arkansas

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 6

Top companies: Walmart, Tyson Foods, Murphy USA, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Dillard's

You would never expect something out of the small state of Arkansas to reshape all of American life. But that’s exactly what happened when Sam Walton expanded his chain of discount stores out of the state of three million people on the way to becoming the largest private employer in the world.

#21. Indiana

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 7

Top companies: Anthem, Eli Lilly, Cummins, Steel Dynamics, Zimmer Biomet Holdings

Indiana has given the world more than the King of Pop. The state counts medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical giants, and engine-makers among its biggest success stories.

#20. Wisconsin

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 9

Top companies: Northwestern Mutual, ManpowerGroup, Kohl's, American Family Insurance Group, WEC Energy Group

In spite of those silly hats, Wisconsin has a lot more going for it than just its famous dairies. The Great Lakes-adjacent state is a bit of a hub for insurance providers, with several such businesses in the Fortune 500 within its borders.

#17 (Tie). Colorado

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 10

Top companies: Arrow Electronics, DaVita, DISH Network, Liberty Interactive, Ball

Remember when Colorado was known for mountains and not just being high? Despite the state’s reputation as a stoner mecca following statewide legalization of marijuana in 2014, plenty of serious business gets handled in the Centennial State.

#17 (Tie). Missouri

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 10

Top companies: Express Scripts Holding, Centence, Emerson Electric, Monsanto, Reinsurance Group of America

Missouri is the home of the anti-GMO movement's favorite bugbear, so you've no doubt heard about at least one of the state's most famous corporations. But nine other top companies reside in this barbecue-loving locale without raising nearly as much of a stink.  

#17 (Tie). Washington

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 10

Top companies:, Costco, Microsoft, Starbucks, Paccar

Washington is home to two companies that completely changed the way the world interacts with each other. Microsoft helped an entire generation wrap their heads around the idea of a personal computer, and Amazon ran with that thread so that no one would ever have to leave their homes again (barring a drone revolt).

#16. Tennessee

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 11

Top companies: FedEx, HCA Holdings, Dollar General, Community Health Systems, International Paper

Tennessee might have exported some of the saddest songs ever heard by human ears, but that doesn’t land you on the Fortune 500. Should someone want to buy a copy of a George Jones classic, though, Memphis-based FedEx can bring it right to their door. 

#15. North Carolina

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 12

Top companies: Bank of America Corp., Lowe's, Duke Energy, Nucor, Reynolds American

Some of North Carolina’s biggest corporations still carry a whiff of the old South. Tobacco giant Reynolds American and the university patrons/Gilded Age energy barons at Duke Energy make appearances on lists of the state’s biggest earners. It’s fittingly traditional for a state that would almost certainly go to war over the proper way to make a sauce

#14. Massachussets

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 13

Top companies: General Electric, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, TJX, Raytheon

The Commonwealth has had plenty of time to establish itself as a nexus point for business and industry. They even call their biggest city “The Hub.” A look around will find a scattering of companies that reflect this including defense giants like Raytheon and quintessential corporations like General Electric.

#11 (Tie). Florida

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 17

Top companies: Publix Super Markets, World Fuel Services, Tech Data, AutoNation, Jabil

You won't find many people willing to throw hands for a corporation, but Florida has always been a little... different. The cult surrounding the grocery store chain Publix and its deli subs is not to be trifled with.

#11 (Tie). Georgia

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 17

Top companies: Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Aflac

Georgia is on a lot of minds, even if it’s only in a roundabout way. Atlanta is the home of the most recognizable brand in the world; Coke’s logo can bring up thoughts of the state even in people who can’t keep their Peachtree streets straight.  

#11 (Tie). Michigan

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 17

Top companies: General Motors, Ford Motor, Dow Chemical, Whirlpool, Penske Automotive Group

While the auto industry in the United States has fallen from its post-war heyday, General Motors and Ford still reside within the confines of the Wolverine State. Michigan is still a place that builds and makes things, with many of its 17 Fortune 500 companies involved in manufacturing.


#9 (Tie). Connecticut

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 18

Top companies: Aetna, United Technologies, Cigna, Charter Communications, Hartford Financial Services Group

Not everyone has been to Connecticut, but plenty people probably carry the name of their larger corporations around in their pocket. The former whaling hotspot has shifted into the somewhat more tenable business of health insurance in the last few centuries.

#9 (Tie). Minnesota

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 18

Top companies: UnitedHealth Group, Target, Best Buy, CHS, 3M

If you’re a fan of water, Minnesota is out to give you more than you bargained for. And so it goes with its famous department store chain Target, the undisputed king of leaving shoppers with a cart full of impulse purchases.

#7 (Tie). New Jersey

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 21

Top companies: Johnson & Johnson, Prudential Financial, Merck, Honeywell International, PBF Energy

The densest state in the Union also packs its successful businesses in tight. The geographically small state of commuters and beach-lovers has 21 Fortune 500 companies to call its own.

#7 (Tie). Pennsylvania

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 21

Top companies: AmerisourceBergen, Comcast, Rite Aid, Kraft Heinz, PNC Financial Services Group

Pennsylvania is a state divided, quite literally. The Appalachian mountains cut the state in half, leaving distinct dialects and cultural traditions contained within the same state. While Philadelphia might have the history and cultural cachet, Pittsburgh has many of the states most famous brands. 

#6. Virginia

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 23

Top companies: Freddie Mac, General Dynamics, Capital One Financial, Northrop Grumman, Dollar Tree

Virginia splits the difference between the Deep South and the cosmopolitan DC suburbs. Its largest companies reflect this by running the gamut from global financial operations like Capital One to discount chains like Dollar Tree.

#5. Ohio

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 25

Top companies: Cardinal Health, Kroger, Procter & Gamble, Marathon Petroleum, Nationwide

Don’t let those hastily made tourism videos fool you. The Buckeye State is a magnet for massive companies with insurance providers, grocery chains, and energy companies setting up shop in the home of airplane innovators and astronauts.

#4. Illinois

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 36

Top companies: Walgreens Boots Alliance, Boeing, State Farm Insurance Companies, Archer Daniels Midland, Caterpillar

Chicago is the place where the rest of the Midwest comes to do business, or make a way for themselves. So it only makes sense that Illinois would play host to so many of the nation’s biggest corporations.

#3. Texas

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 50

Top companies: Exxon Mobil, AT&T, Phillips 66, Valero Energy, Dell Technologies

Everything's bigger in Texas and that includes their economy. The state has the second-largest economy in the country (boosted by the oil industry, unsurprisingly) and a solid 50 Fortune 500 companies within its ultra-expansive borders.

#2. California

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 53

Top companies: Apple, McKesson, Chevron, Wells Fargo, Alphabet

It’s pretty well impossible to foster a region like Silicon Valley and not end up with some of the most profitable companies in the country. California is home to tech-world big fish like Apple and Google's parent company Alphabet.

#1. New York

Number of Fortune 500 companies: 54

Top companies: Verizon Communications, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, IBM, MetLife

No surprises here. New York City is the largest metro in the country and (arguably) the Capital of the World. Someone looking to find  movers and shakers in any industry would be safe starting there. So, the state it somewhat contentiously bears the name of is bound to have the largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies on this list.

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