Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

States receiving the most federal aid

  • States receiving the most federal aid

    From its urban centers to rural plains, America is home to a wide range of political views regarding self-sufficiency. Opinions differ from state to state on how welfare and government assistance should be used and distributed. While folks in some regions believe providing social services is an essential role of government, others would rather do away with them altogether.

    Interestingly, there isn't always a correlation between a state's political views on governmental assistance and the amount of federal aid it receives. For this story, Stacker took a deep dive into the numbers, evaluating data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine which states are most dependent on federal aid. The numbers, pulled from the 2016 fiscal year, paint a diverse picture showing varying degrees of independence and self-sufficiency.

    We've ranked each state according to how much federal aid it receives per capita (with the national average of $1,956). The percentage of federal aid comprising each state's general revenue is also listed in the data. The latter metric is calculated by dividing each state's intergovernmental revenue (funding that flows from the federal government to the state government) into its general revenue. The general revenue includes all tax revenue but excludes utility revenue, liquor store revenue, and insurance trust revenue. Read on to see how your state stacks up.

    RELATED: States spending the most and least per student on education

  • #50. Virginia

    Federal aid per capita: $1,208

    Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 22.52%

    State general revenue: $45.43 billion

    Federal aid revenue: $10.23 billion

    2017 population estimate: 8,470,020

    A virtual model of self-sufficiency, Virginia only receives $1,208 in federal aid per capita. Its large farming population produces a robust $70 billion agriculture industry that provides more than 334,000 jobs while its citizens enjoy being in the top ten for lowest tax burdens in the country.

  • #49. Florida

    Federal aid per capita: $1,305

    Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 34.13%

    State general revenue: $80.26 billion

    Federal aid revenue: $27.39 billion

    2017 population estimate: 20,984,400

    Coming in as the second least dependent state in the union, Florida is another highly self-sufficient state that uses a mere $1,305 in federal aid per capita. It's the eighth most densely populated state in the country, so it benefits from a large tax base whose residents also enjoy of the fourth lowest tax burden in the country—less even than Virginia.

  • #48. Kansas

    Federal aid per capita: $1,314

    Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 23.26%

    State general revenue: $16.46 billion

    Federal aid revenue: $3.83 billion

    2017 population estimate: 2,913,123

    The Sunflower State, known for its sweeping plains and wide open prairies, grows more wheat than any other state in the country. Although it's the 10th least dense state in the nation—a factor that normally spells dependency on federal aid—the breadbasket state ranks higher than all four of its neighbors including Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Colorado.

  • #47. Utah

    Federal aid per capita: $1,365

    Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 25.75%

    State general revenue: $16.44 billion

    Federal aid revenue: $4.23 billion

    2017 population estimate: 3,101,833

    Ranking fourth lowest on the list, Utah generates a modest $16.44 billion in state revenue each year, only 25.75% of which comes from federal aid. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 State and Local Government Expenditures data, Utah boasts the 10th lowest government spending rate in the country at just $7,961 per capita. It ties with South Dakota as spending the least on health and welfare specifically.

  • #46. Georgia

    Federal aid per capita: $1,397

    Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 34.47%

    State general revenue: $42.28 billion

    Federal aid revenue: $14.57 billion

    2017 population estimate: 10,429,379

    This southern state also ranks in the bottom 10 with regard to its percentage of revenue derived from federal aid at just 34.47%. Nationwide, the only state spending less per-capita than the Peach State is Idaho.

  • #45. Nevada

    Federal aid per capita: $1,520

    Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 32.78%

    State general revenue: $13.90 billion

    Federal aid revenue: $4.56 billion

    2017 population estimate: 2,998,039

    Nevada is another state ranking in the bottom 10 for population density that, like Kansas, nevertheless manages to avoid being heavily reliant on federal aid. The fact can partly be attributed to its casino dollars, which in 2012 generated $10.86 billion in commercial gambling tax revenue—more than any other state.

  • #44. Texas

    Federal aid per capita: $1,546

    Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 35.63%

    State general revenue: $122.79 billion

    Federal aid revenue: $43.75 billion

    2017 population estimate: 28,304,596

    With just 35.63% of its sizable $122.79 billion general revenue originating from federal aid, Texas is not a place relying heavily on the federal government. It's perhaps no surprise, then, the state that was once an independent republic remains a region where self-sufficient attitudes prevail.

  • #43. North Carolina

    Federal aid per capita: $1,549

    Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 31.13%

    State general revenue: $51.11 billion

    Federal aid revenue: $15.91 billion

    2017 population estimate: 10,273,419

    About $15.91 billion of North Carolina's general revenue is derived from federal aid, landing it number 42 on the list as one of the least dependent states in America. North Carolina puts a lot of its aid toward public welfare spending, with a 76.3% share from the federal government.

  • #42. Colorado

    Federal aid per capita: $1,552

    Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 31.59%

    State general revenue: $27.55 billion

    Federal aid revenue: $8.70 billion

    2017 population estimate: 5,607,154

    Colorado receives $1,552 in federal aid per capita, which constitutes 31.59% of its total state revenue. The Centennial State is one of only eight states in the U.S. with a flat rate income tax (which was 4.63% as of 2016), where the rate is the same regardless of how much one earns.

  • #41. Illinois

    Federal aid per capita: $1,583

    Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 29.43%

    State general revenue: $68.85 billion

    Federal aid revenue: $20.26 billion

    2017 population estimate: 12,802,023

    With $20.26 billion of its total state general revenue coming from federal aid, Illinois lands number 10th for least dependent states. Like Colorado, it also has a flat rate income tax that increased in 2017 from 3.75% to 4.95%.  

2018 All rights reserved.