North America Economics and Business


North America is rich in resources of various kinds. Extensive mineral resources are found in the Canadian Shield, the Appalachians and the Cordillarians. The United States, Canada and Mexico have large amounts of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, coal), and water energy is available in many places. The climate, the soil provides the conditions for a significant food production, and large parts of it are covered by rich forests. Conditions in North America, of course, vary, and the opportunities for exploitation and economic development have also been utilized in very varied ways. The United States is the world’s leading nation with a production that is twice as large as all other North American states together.

The agricultural industry in Anglo America is often conducted within large and capital-intensive companies, where, through the help of high mechanization and large efforts of fertilizers and pesticides, it is possible to produce huge quantities of food for sale. Although similar in the rest of North America, agriculture is dominated by production for local consumption on small cultivation units and with great effort.

North America’s rich resources were first utilized in the United States, where extensive industrial development took place as early as the 19th century. In Canada, industrialization was delayed until the 20th century, and the country’s prosperity has to some extent been based on the export of raw materials and partially processed products. In Mexico, industrial expansion and economic development have come a long way in certain sectors and regions. However, conditions in most areas are more reminiscent of North America’s less developed countries, whose economies are often based on exports of raw materials and products from agriculture and mining. Major industrial regions are the “Industrial Belt” in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, parts of California, northern Mexico, and the Mexico City area. Otherwise, the industry is often located in the metropolitan areas.

The rapid and partly uncontrolled development has not been possible without significant environmental impacts. The industry, not least in the oil sector, has given rise to large emissions, which have caused both acid rain and direct destruction of water areas. The development of agriculture and the growth of the metropolitan area, with consequent air and water pollution, also pose major environmental problems.

From the view of, the United States and Canada are primarily post-industrial societies, where various service industries, financial operations and trade dominate. In many places, especially in the Caribbean, tourism is the main source of income. Financial assistance is also of great importance here. This also applies to Central America, where the US contribution has been extensive. Transportation conditions within North America vary. Pan-American Highway runs from Alaska to southern Panama. The importance of air connections is increasing both at long distances and, for example, between the islands of the Caribbean. The United States is the dominant trading partner for most states in North America. The United States and Canada initiated a transition to free trade in 1989, and in 1994 an agreement entered into between these states and Mexico, which in the long run will remove all barriers to trade. This is also expected to intensify economic cooperation in Central America and the Caribbean.

Country GDP growth (percent) GDP per person (US dollar)
Antigua and Barbuda 4.7 (2019) 16 864 (2018)
Bahamas 1.8 (2019) 31 858 (2017)
Barbados -0.1 (2019) 16 328 (2017)
Belize 0.3 (2019) 5,025 (2018)
Costa Rica 2.1 (2019) 12 027 (2018)
Dominica 5.7 (2019) 7 032 (2018)
Dominican Republic 5.1 (2019) 7 650 (2018)
El Salvador 2.4 (2019) 4 058 (2018)
Grenada 3.1 (2019) 10,834 (2018)
Guatemala 3.8 (2019) 4 549 (2018)
Haiti -0.9 (2019) 868 (2018)
Honduras 2.7 (2019) 2 483 (2018)
Jamaica 0.7 (2019) 5,356 (2018)
Canada 1.7 (2019) 46 211 (2018)
Cuba 2.2 (2018) 8 541 (2017)
Mexico -0.1 (2019) 9 698 (2018)
Nicaragua -3.9 (2019) 2 029 (2018)
Panama 3.0 (2019) 15,575 (2018)
Saint Kitts & Nevis 2.5 (2019) 19 829 (2018)
Saint Lucia 1.7 (2019) 10,315 (2018)
St. Vincent & the Grenadines 0.3 (2019) 7 378 (2018)
Trinidad & Tobago 0.0 (2019) 16 844 (2018)
USA 2.3 (2019) 62 641 (2018)

Central American Economy

Central American countries grow various agricultural products to sell to other countries. Coffee, bananas and sugar cane are the most important crops. Many small farmers plant corn, beans and squash to supply local markets.

Central American industries produce food, beverages and tobacco. They also manufacture clothes, shoes, medicines, chemicals, cement, paper and wood products. Tourism and other services are also important for Central American economies.


According to Countryaah, North America continent has an area of 24,709,000 km2, accounting for 16.5% of world’s total land area. The Caribbean and the Central America mainland bridge together form Central America, located between North and South America. The Caribbean includes the Central American island world, which delimits the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to the Atlantic (Fig. 1).

The island world consists essentially of the Caribbean or West Indies, which have a total area of approximately 240,000 km², which corresponds to that of Great Britain. They extend in a wide, almost 4000 km long arch between the North American peninsula Florida and the north coast of South America on the delta of the Orinoco.

There are three island groups: the Greater Antilles with the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola (with the Dominican Republic and Haiti), Jamaica and Puerto Rico, the Lesser Antilles and the Bahamas. The Lesser Antilles in turn include the islands above the wind (Virgin Islands/Trinidad) and the islands below the wind (Aruba to the Isla de Margarita).

The Caribbean Sea forms the southern part of the American Mediterranean and is almost completely enclosed by Central America and the West Indies. Only in the northwest is it connected to the Gulf of Mexico by the 190 km wide Yucatan road. While the average depth is around 2000 m, it reaches its deepest point in the Cayman Trench at a considerable 7680 m.

North America Economics and Business

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