In BEA's National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs), the domestic economy of the United States encompasses the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. military installations, embassies, and consulates abroad; Puerto Rico and other islands in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea that are designated as commonwealths or territories of the United States are excluded. Data for these commonwealths and territories are generally not included in the Census Bureau surveys which are the basis for the GDP estimates.
Note that the geographic coverage of the United States differs between the NIPAs and BEA's International Transaction Accounts (ITAs). The NIPAs treat U.S. commonwealths and territories as part of the rest of the world, so the flows of goods and services between them and the United States are included in exports and imports. In the ITAs, U.S. commonwealths and territories are included as part of the domestic economy, so the flows of goods and services between them and the United States are excluded from exports and imports, but the flows of goods and services between them and the rest of the world are included in exports and imports. Because the ITAs are the principal data source for the NIPA international transactions estimates, BEA makes an adjustment to the ITAs to make the geographical coverage of the data reflect that of the NIPAs.
BEA's long-run goal is to make the geographic coverage in the NIPAs consistent with the treatment in the ITAs. BEA has prepared separate GDP estimates for American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands for the years beginning with 2002. Although these estimates are not currently integrated with the GDP estimates for the United States, they represent an important first step toward consistency. For more information, go to www.bea.gov/data/gdp/gdp-us-territories.