NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Federal Government Spent $3.1 Trillion in the States in 2013

December 5, 2014

How much is the federal government spending on the states? According to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the national government spent $3.1 trillion in the states in 2013, up from $2.5 trillion in 2004.

That $3.1 trillion is equal to 19 percent of state economic activity last year on average, though it equaled 32.9 percent of Mississippi's economic activity and just 11.6 percent of Wyoming's economic activity. Most spending was on benefits to individuals:

  • Spending in all categories increased, with the exception of federal grants for various state and local programs, which saw a 5 percent drop in spending.
  • Since 2004, federal spending on retirement benefits (such as Social Security, veterans benefits and disability payments) increased 37 percent, while spending on nonretirement benefits (including Medicare, food stamps and unemployment insurance) increased a whopping 62 percent.
  • In 2013, retirement benefits constituted 34 percent of federal spending to the states, while nonretirement benefits were 27 percent of that spending.

Other spending included grants (16 percent of spending), contracts (13 percent of spending) and salaries and wages (10 percent of spending).

Source: "Federal Spending in the States 2004 to 2013," Pew Charitable Trusts, December 2, 2014.


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