Which States Rely the Most on Federal Aid?
January 8, 2015
Though taxes are the most common and recognizable source of state government revenues, it's important to remember that they're not the only source. In fact, state governments received 31.5 percent of their total general revenues from transfers from the federal government in the 2012 fiscal year
That number varies pretty widely for specific states, however. For example, Mississippi obtains 45.3 percent of its total state general revenues from the federal government (the largest share in the country). Also on the high end are Louisiana (44.0 percent), Tennessee (41.0 percent), South Dakota (40.8 percent), and Missouri (39.4 percent).
On the other end of the spectrum are those states who receive a much smaller share of general revenues from the federal government. The lowest federal share occurs in Alaska at 20.0 percent, followed by North Dakota (20.5 percent), Virginia (23.5 percent), Hawaii (23.5 percent), and Connecticut (23.6 percent).
For all fifty states, see the map below. Note that this measure of general revenue includes tax collections but excludes utility revenue, liquor store revenue, and insurance trust revenue.
Click on map to enlarge. (See our reposting policy here.)
Here are some useful background resources on this topic:
- The original data source from the Census Bureau's Survey of State and Local Government Finance.
- A Congressional Budget Office report from 2011 discussing where this federal funding comes from.
- A more detailed description from the Census Bureau of what goes into this category in their data.
- Analysis of what types of things federal aid to states funds from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (with descriptions and historical data).
Interested in more comparisons of state taxation? Check out Facts & Figures 2014: How does your state compare?