Besides its historical importance, the district has occupied an important place in the industrial map of Andhra Pradesh with its valuable mineral resources.
The Gross District Domestic Product (GDDP) of the district is ₹26,342 crore and it contributes 5.0% to the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). For the FY 2013–14, the per capita income at current prices was ₹70,821. The primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of the district contribute ₹6,204 crore, ₹6,935 crore and ₹13,203 crore respectively.
Black corson soil lands are 24%, black soil 19%, sandy soil lands 4%, red soil lands 25%. The first variety lands are very fertile, sand soil lands less so. ‘Korra’, orange, lime and betel leaf are the special crops. They are cultivated near river beds. Starting at Sunkesula Dam on Tungabadra river K. C. Canal flows through Kadapa and Kurnool districts providing water to 40 km² of cultivable land. The main source of drinking water to this district is Galeru Nagari Sujala Sravanthi Project Canal.
This district is the repository of mineral wealth. As per the 1983 survey of geological survey of India 3 million tons of lead, 74,000,000 tons of barytes, and 27000 tons of asbestos deposits are there. It is estimated that 70 million tons of barytes deposits might be in Mangampet. There are clay deposits in Rajampet. This is used to make stone implements. Limestone is available in Yerraguntla. National Mineral Development Corporation is extracting asbestos in Brahman palli and barytes in Mangampet. Kadapa is also famous for its stone called “kadapa stone” used in building construction and for slabs especially in south India. In Tummalapalle, there are 49,000 tonnes of confirmed uranium deposits which are mined and processed locally. Apart from these minerals and industries Agriculture also forms a part district economy.
In 2006 the Indian government named Kadapa district as one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the thirteen districts in Andhra Pradesh currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).