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States receiving the most federal aid

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Action Sports Photography // Shutterstock

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

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Martin Kraft // Wikicommon

#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.

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Michael Rivera // Wikicommons

#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.

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Tony Webster // Flickr

#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.

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Brian // Wikicommons

#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.

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DXR // Wikicommons

#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.

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Amadscientist // Wikicommons

#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.

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LoneStarMike // Wikicommons

#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.

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Bz3rk // WIkicommons

#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.

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Onetwo1 // Wikicommons

#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.

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Meagaen Davis // Wikicommons

#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%.  

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JSquish // Wikicommons

#40. Idaho

Federal aid per capita: $1,585

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 33.39%

State general revenue: $8.15 billion

Federal aid revenue: $2.72 billion

2017 population estimate: 1,716,943

Although Idaho has a small population of just 1.7 million people generating $8.15 billion in state revenue, it manages to remain largely self-reliant. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that at $6,493 per capita, Iowa has the lowest local government spending in the country.

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Vijay Kumar Koulampet // Wikicommons

#39. Wisconsin

Federal aid per capita: $1,608

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 26.9%

State general revenue: $34.64 billion

Federal aid revenue: $9.32 billion

2017 population estimate: 5,795,483

The state of Wisconsin, sometimes referred to as America's Dairyland, produces 2 billion pounds of cheese every year. That amount makes up an impressive 30% of the country's total cheese production. The midwestern state was the first to develop an individual income tax in 1911.

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Florencebballer // Wikicommons

#38. South Carolina

Federal aid per capita: $1,646

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 33.22%

State general revenue: $24.90 billion

Federal aid revenue: $8.27 billion

2017 population estimate: 5,024,369

South Carolina receives $1,646 in federal aid per capita, which is significantly lower than the national average. The scenic southern state benefits from being the nation's second largest producer of peaches, cranking out 60,800 tons per year valued at $63.3 million.

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Capitolist // Wikicommons

#37. Nebraska

Federal aid per capita: $1,647

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 31.22%

State general revenue: $10.13 billion

Federal aid revenue: $3.16 billion

2017 population estimate: 1,920,076

The eight least densely populated state in the country, Nebraska devotes large swaths of its land to corn and soybean production. It is one of just 14 states that receive less than a dollar back in federal aid for each dollar residents spend on federal taxes.

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Good Free Photos

#36. Tennessee

Federal aid per capita: $1,673

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 38.78%

State general revenue: $28.98 billion

Federal aid revenue: $11.24 billion

2017 population estimate: 6,715,984

Tennessee's federal aid makes up a slightly larger percentage of its general revenue at 38.78%, yet the fact that its per-capita figure is so low (at $1,673) keeps it farther down on the list. It has the third lowest tax burden in the country, at just 6.47%.

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Jim Bowen // Flickr

#35. South Dakota

Federal aid per capita: $1,696

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 34.71%

State general revenue: $4.25 billion

Federal aid revenue: $1.48 billion

2017 population estimate: 869,666

With crops in the east and cattle in the west, South Dakota's economy relies heavily on farming and ranching. The sparsely populated state harbors less than a million people, so its tax base is modest, making its financial independence particularly notable.

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Jim Bowen // Wikicommons

#34. Missouri

Federal aid per capita: $1,797

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 38.09%

State general revenue: $28.85 billion

Federal aid revenue: $10.99 billion

2017 population estimate: 6,113,532

Missouri receives $1,797 per capita from the federal government, which is below the national average yet comprises more than 38% of its total revenue. Its statewide sales tax rate of 4.22% is among the lowest in the country, but this is offset in places by municipal levies and city or county taxes that drive it over 11% in certain areas.

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James Johnson // Wikicommons

#33. Oklahoma

Federal aid per capita: $1,843

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 34.64%

State general revenue: $20.92 billion

Federal aid revenue: $7.25 billion

2017 population estimate: 3,930,864

Oklahoma receives $1,843 in federal aid per capita, which lands it just under the national average. Nevertheless, the state reports the 11th highest rates of food stamp use, with 15.3% of its citizens receiving food benefits at a cost of roughly $73.11 million. This may partly be attributed to the increasing number of grandparents raising grandchildren on fixed incomes, possibly due to higher female incarceration rates.

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Bluedisk // Wikicommons

#32. Washington

Federal aid per capita: $1,851

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 31.16%

State general revenue: $43.98 billion

Federal aid revenue: $13.70 billion

2017 population estimate: 7,405,743

Only 31.16% of Washington's total revenue comes from federal aid, which is low even though its aid per capita hovers just below the national average. Washington is one of only seven states in the country that has no income tax; its sales taxes, however, are the fifth highest in the country.

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AlexiusHoratius // Wikicommons

#31. New Hampshire

Federal aid per capita: $1,943

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 37.29%

State general revenue: $7.00 billion

Federal aid revenue: $2.61 billion

2017 population estimate: 1,342,795

New Hampshire lands at number 31 on the list with roughly $2.61 of its $7 billion of state revenue originating from federal aid dollars. The Granite State, which goes by a ”Live Free Or Die" motto, is one of only five states nationwide without a sales tax and one of just three that also prohibits localities from levying sales taxes.

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Eric Hunt // Wikicommons

#30. Alabama

Federal aid per capita: $1,953

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 37.65%

State general revenue: $25.29 billion

Federal aid revenue: $9.52 billion

2017 population estimate: 4,874,747

With $9.52 billion of its total state revenue derived from federal aid, Alabama's percentage is roughly 37.65%. Although its poverty rates are among the highest in the country (with conditions that the United Nations called the worst in the developed world), it remains fairly independent due to its extremely low cost of living—which is the second lowest in the nation.  

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Coy St. Clair // Shutterstock

#29. Indiana

Federal aid per capita: $1,956

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 35.97%

State general revenue: $36.26 billion

Federal aid revenue: $13.04 billion

2017 population estimate: 6,666,818

At number 29 on the list, Indiana receives $1,956 in federal aid per capita, which is precisely the same figure as the national average. It's one of only eight states that enjoys a flat rate individual income tax at the low rate of 3.23%. The Hoosier State has lost some of its tax base in recent years as its population dwindles, particularly in rural areas.

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Smallbones // Wikicommons

#28. New Jersey

Federal aid per capita: $1,996

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 29.49%

State general revenue: $60.95 billion

Federal aid revenue: $17.98 billion

2017 population estimate: 9,005,644

New Jersey is the first state on the list to surpass the national average, with $1,996 in federal aid per capita. Part of this relatively large number can be attributed to the fact that the Garden State has the third highest cost of living in the country, at 13.4% more than the countrywide average.

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Michael Hicks // Flickr

#27. Minnesota

Federal aid per capita: $2,030

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 27.47%

State general revenue: $41.21 billion

Federal aid revenue: $11.32 billion

2017 population estimate: 5,576,606

Although Minnesota's per-capita federal aid figure is higher than average at $2,030, its percentage of aid as state revenue is only 27.47%, placing it right in the middle independence-wise.

The midwestern state, which is full of flour mills and scenic lakes, is one of only 14 states in the country that receives less than a dollar back in federal aid for each dollar its taxpayers pay to the federal government.

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Martin Falbisoner // Wikicommons

#26. Maryland

Federal aid per capita: $2,031

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 31.38%

State general revenue: $39.16 billion

Federal aid revenue: $12.29 billion

2017 population estimate: 6,052,177

Maryland receives $12.29 billion of its total revenue from federal aid, for a share of 31.38%. It distinguishes itself as one of only a handful of states in the country where counties can levy taxes on personal income, ranging from 1.75% to 3.2%, on top of the statewide income tax.

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IIP Photo Archive // Flickr

#25. Connecticut

Federal aid per capita: $2,040

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 27.97%

State general revenue: $26.17 billion

Federal aid revenue: $7.32 billion

2017 population estimate: 3,588,184

Smack dab in the middle of the list, Connecticut receives $2,040 in federal aid per capita, comprising about 27.97% of the total revenue. Although the wealthy New England state ranks third highest nationwide in real GDP per capita, it suffers fiscal challenges including underfunded pensions and a deficit of more than $2 billion.
 

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Jim Bowen // Flickr

#24. Pennsylvania

Federal aid per capita: $2,049

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 32.91%

State general revenue: $79.74 billion

Federal aid revenue: $26.24 billion

2017 population estimate: 12,805,537

With a mid-sized population of about 12.8 million, Pennsylvania receives $26.24 of its $79.74 billion total revenue from federal aid. The Keystone State benefits from the second highest gambling revenue in the country which brought in $3.16 billion in 2012. Nearly $1.5 billion of that was tax revenue.

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Xpixupload // Wikicommons

#23. Hawaii

Federal aid per capita: $2,062

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 22.78%

State general revenue: $12.92 billion

Federal aid revenue: $2.94 billion

2017 population estimate: 1,427,538

The Aloha State, which has a modest population of just 1.4 million people, receives $2,062 in federal aid per capita while its percentage of general revenue is notably low at just 22.78%. After New York, it has the highest tax burden in the country at 11.57%, but it's tied with Wyoming for the lowest sales tax among states that have it.

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Wars // Wikicommons

#22. Arizona

Federal aid per capita: $2,072

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 42.05%

State general revenue: $34.58 billion

Federal aid revenue: $14.54 billion

2017 population estimate: 7,016,270

Arizona derives 42.05% of state revenue from federal aid, but its relatively low per-capita figure keeps it in the middle of the list. The large percentage can be partly attributed to its big swaths of federal land (the Grand Canyon is just one), as well as a number of Native American reservations including the Navajo Nation—the largest in the country.

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Jim Bowen // Flickr

#21. Ohio

Federal aid per capita: $2,081

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 35.96%

State general revenue: $67.47 billion

Federal aid revenue: $24.26 billion

2017 population estimate: 11,658,609

Home to 14 million acres of farmland as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ohio is a diverse state that rakes in $67.47 billion in state revenue, about 35.96% of which comes from federal aid. Earlier this month, the midwestern state became the first in the union to allow residents to pay their taxes with cryptocurrency.

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Brian Charles Watson // Wikicommons

#20. Michigan

Federal aid per capita: $2,099

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 34.14%

State general revenue: $61.25 billion

Federal aid revenue: $20.91 billion

2017 population estimate: 9,962,311

Landing at number 20 on the list, Michigan is not a state that's grossly dependent on federal aid but nevertheless comes in above the national average. Home to the Great Lakes, it's another flat income tax state where income earnings have been taxed at the same rate of 4.25% for all income brackets since 2012.

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Carol M. Highsmith // Wikicommons

#19. Iowa

Federal aid per capita: $2,113

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 31.53%

State general revenue: $21.07 billion

Federal aid revenue: $6.65 billion

2017 population estimate: 3,145,711

Iowa receives $2,113 in federal aid per capita, translating to a 31.53% share of state revenue. The deeply agricultural state was the second largest recipient of farm subsidies in 2011, with $1.3 billion in subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Albany NY // Wikicommons

#18. Maine

Federal aid per capita: $2,166

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 34.82%

State general revenue: $8.31 billion

Federal aid revenue: $2.89 billion

2017 population estimate: 1,335,907

Maine, which has a small population of just 1.35 million people, receives $2,166 per capita in federal aid. Its small tax base has the third highest tax burden in the country, but the state also grapples with relatively high poverty rates that make it more dependent on larger shares of federal money.

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikicommons

#17. North Dakota

Federal aid per capita: $2,173

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 24.5%

State general revenue: $6.70 billion

Federal aid revenue: $1.64 billion

2017 population estimate: 755,393

Of the $6.7 billion that North Dakota generates in state revenue, roughly $1.64 billion—about  24.5%—originates from federal aid. The state only has 755,393 residents, a small tax base, and the lowest unemployment rate in the country—all of which certainly help keep overall demand for federal aid dollars way down.

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Stuart Seeger // Flickr

#16. Louisiana

Federal aid per capita: $2,212

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 42.98%

State general revenue: $24.11 billion

Federal aid revenue: $10.36 billion

2017 population estimate: 4,684,333

Louisiana receives an above-average amount of federal aid per capita at $2,212, but it's the state's share of revenue from federal aid—42.98%—that's most striking. The biggest factor is likely the state's large poverty rates, which, at 19.9% are the third highest in the country. The southern state is also vulnerable to regular hurricanes and natural disasters, which add to its federal aid tallies.

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Joshua Daniel Franklin // Wikicommons

#15. Delaware

Federal aid per capita: $2,320

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 28.02%

State general revenue: $7.96 billion

Federal aid revenue: $2.23 billion

2017 population estimate: 961,939

With less than a million people living in the state, Delaware has a small tax base to pull from. It doesn't charge sales tax and offers its residents the second lowest tax burden in the country. Given all of those factors, it's perhaps not surprising that our nation's first state ranks number 15 countrywide for being most dependent of federal aid.

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Martin Kraft // Wikicommons

#14. Montana

Federal aid per capita: $2,328

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 40.68%

State general revenue: $6.01 billion

Federal aid revenue: $2.45 billion

2017 population estimate: 1,050,493

Montana is another state with a small tax base and no sales taxes to rely on. It receives $2,328 in federal aid per capita, which makes up 40.68% of state revenue. This combination of metrics helps explain why it ranks number 14 on the list.

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Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikicommons

#13. Rhode Island

Federal aid per capita: $2,376

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 33.89%

State general revenue: $7.43 billion

Federal aid revenue: $2.52 billion

2017 population estimate: 1,059,639

Rhode Island generates about $7.43 billion in state revenue and receives $2.52 billion of that—about 33.89%—from federal aid. A key part of its reliance on federal aid dollars can be attributed to its sizable unemployment rate, which in 2014 was the third highest in the country.

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Asilvero // Wikicommons

#12. California

Federal aid per capita: $2,386

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 33.35%

State general revenue: $282.91 billion

Federal aid revenue: $94.34 billion

2017 population estimate: 39,536,653

California has a giant population (39.5 million people) that pulls in huge revenue figures at $282.91 billion—which sees 33.35% coming from federal aid. A key challenge is that the cost of living in the western state is 13.4% more than the national average, making it the third highest in the country. It also has the highest total public welfare expenditures.

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Fcb981 // Wikicommons

#11. Massachusetts

Federal aid per capita: $2,391

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 29.98%

State general revenue: $54.70 billion

Federal aid revenue: $16.40 billion

2017 population estimate: 6,859,819

Ranking number 11 on the list, Massachusetts gets $16.4 billion of its state revenue from federal aid dollars. The Bay State, which is known for its codfish and baked beans, charges all of its residents a flat income tax rate of 5.1%.

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M. O. Stevens // Wikicommons

#10. Oregon

Federal aid per capita: $2,420

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 35.67%

State general revenue: $28.11 billion

Federal aid revenue: $10.03 billion

2017 population estimate: 4,142,776

Known for its evergreen forests and rocky coastlines, Oregon gets $2,420 in federal aid per capita which amounts to 35.67% of its total state revenue. In addition to its lack of statewide sales tax, another reason it may rely so heavily on federal dollars is the large amount of federal lands is has, each of which require sizable spending.

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Taylor Fennell // Wikicommons

#9. Arkansas

Federal aid per capita: $2,474

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 36.53%

State general revenue: $20.35 billion

Federal aid revenue: $7.43 billion

2017 population estimate: 3,004,279

With a population hovering just over 3 million people, Arkansas draws 36.53% of its total state revenue dollars from federal aid. Although the state has the third lowest cost of living in the country—12.6% less than the nationwide average—it also suffers from significant poverty.

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Peter Fitzgerald // Wikicommons

#8. Kentucky

Federal aid per capita: $2,596

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 41.01%

State general revenue: $28.20 billion

Federal aid revenue: $11.56 billion

2017 population estimate: 4,454,189

A striking 41.01% of Kentucky's state revenue depends on federal aid, totaling about $11.56 billion. It experiences high poverty levels, particularly in rural areas where there has been a significant degree of unemployment and job loss.

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O Palsson // Wikicommons

#7. West Virginia

Federal aid per capita: $2,669

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 37.72%

State general revenue: $12.85 billion

Federal aid revenue: $4.85 billion

2017 population estimate: 1,815,857

West Virginia receives about $4.85 billion in federal aid, which constitutes roughly 37.72% of its total state revenue and $2,669 per capita. The impoverished state, which has been deeply affected by the opioid crisis, had the fourth highest unemployment rate in 2017 and the fourth lowest GDP per capita of $42,770. It was also named the unhappiest state in the country earlier this year.  

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AllStarEcho // Wikicommons

#6. Mississippi

Federal aid per capita: $2,781

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 43.79%

State general revenue: $18.95 billion

Federal aid revenue: $8.30 billion

2017 population estimate: 2,984,100

Like West Virginia, Mississippi is another state that suffers from high poverty rates and challenging socioeconomic conditions. Although the southern state enjoys the lowest cost of living in the country (13.8% less than the national average), that boon is largely offset by the fact that Mississippi also has the second lowest personal income per capita in the country which has led to widespread dependence on government assistance.

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Matt Wade // Wikicommons

#5. New York

Federal aid per capita: $2,863

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 34.56%

State general revenue: $164.40 billion

Federal aid revenue: $56.82 billion

2017 population estimate: 19,849,399

The Empire State has an enormous tax base, with almost 20 million people generating $164.40 billion in total state revenue. A full 34.56% of that comes from federal aid to the tune of $2,863 per capita. The large number can be almost wholly attributed to the state's huge tax burden and soaring cost of living, which rank first and second highest in the country, respectively. In addition to receiving more federal aid dollars, New York spends an enormous amount of money on welfare.

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Ken Lund // Flickr

#4. New Mexico

Federal aid per capita: $3,367

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 42.51%

State general revenue: $16.54 billion

Federal aid revenue: $7.03 billion

2017 population estimate: 2,088,070

New Mexico receives $3,367 per capita in federal aid that constitutes a huge percentage of the state revenue at 42.51%—a fact that can be almost entirely explained by the state's spiraling poverty levels. The so-called Land of Enchantment grapples with enormous economic hardship with the lowest personal income per capita in the country and nearly 30% of the state's children living in poverty—roughly 40% more than the national average. It has disproportionately large high school dropout rates, as well as numbers of eighth-graders not proficient in math.

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Jonathanking // Wikicommons

#3. Vermont

Federal aid per capita: $3,430

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 34.95%

State general revenue: $6.12 billion

Federal aid revenue: $2.14 billion

2017 population estimate: 623,657

Although the percentage of Vermont revenue that come from federal aid is only 34.95%—high but not astronomical—the federal aid per-capita rate is $3,430, bringing the state up to number three on the list. The New England state has the country's fourth highest tax burden, which includes a 16% estate tax. With just 623,657 people, it has a small tax base, too.

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Bradlyons // Wikicommons

#2. Wyoming

Federal aid per capita: $3,700

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 42.1%

State general revenue: $5.09 billion

Federal aid revenue: $2.14 billion

2017 population estimate: 579,315

Wyoming is one of the wealthiest states in the country with a personal income per capita average of $53,512—the fourth highest in the nation. Still, it manages to draw $3,700 per capita in federal aid, making up 42.1% of the state revenue. The fact that the state receives more in federal aid than it pays in taxes can be attributed to its fairly light tax burden combined with a strikingly low population of 579,315 residents who are widely distributed along long highways that are expensive to maintain.

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Jay Galvin // Wikicommons

#1. Alaska

Federal aid per capita: $3,857

Federal aid as a percentage of state general revenue: 37.4%

State general revenue: $7.63 billion

Federal aid revenue: $2.85 billion

2017 population estimate: 739,795

Alaska, often dubbed ”The Last Frontier," is low in population numbers and spread out widely with tons of highways, national parks, and federal lands to maintain. It's no surprise given these factors that the sparsely populated state requires $3,857 in federal aid per capita to maintain—more than any other state in the country. In addition to those challenges, Alaska has no sales tax, offers residents the lowest tax burden in the country, and is rife with poverty and socioeconomic challenges.

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