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China Tariff Costs by Congressional District

Container trucks arrive at the Port of Long Beach in Long Beach, California, August, 2019.

See also: The Trump Administration’s Trade Agenda: Rigged to Benefit Corporations at the Expense of Everyday Americans” by Daniella Zessoules

The Trump administration’s decision to impose tariffs on goods from China has proven to be an expensive sacrifice for families and businesses while accomplishing virtually nothing for working people in the United States. According to estimates from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average American household will pay $831 per year to cover the China tariffs that are already in effect. Others have predicted even greater effects of the tariffs so far, including JPMorgan, which estimates the tariffs’ annual cost at $1,000 per household. However, since the release of both studies, the administration has substantially escalated its so-called trade war, likely putting even more of a pinch on consumers in the United States. As is the case with the rest of the its economic policies, the administration has put business interests over working people.

Daniella Zessoules is a research assistant for Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress.

Author’s note: The total annual cost to consumers is an undercount. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s estimate was derived under the assumption of 127.6 million households in the United States in 2018. However, the best available data at the district level only identify 121.3 million households.


Tariff costs for congressional districts are calculated by multiplying the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s estimate for the total annual cost of the China tariffs to the typical household—$831—by the number of households in each congressional district, as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Since this study’s release, President Donald Trump has imposed new tariffs at a higher rate on a variety of Chinese goods, and the Chinese have responded with additional retaliatory tariffs. The latest round of tariffs, which will partially go into effect on September 1, with a second wave hitting on December 15, will further these harms on working people and consumers. Therefore, this calculator likely underestimates the total effect of the tariffs on congressional districts.