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What is State Government Spending?

In FY 2015, total state government spending was “guesstimated” to be $1.53 trillion. In FY 2013, the latest year reported by the Census Bureau, state government spending was $1.52 trillion.

State Government Spending Analysis   also: Revenue Charts  Debt Charts  


This page shows the current trends in US state government spending. Also see charts on US spending history.

Recent US State Government Spending

Chart S.01s: Recent State Spending

Chart S.02s: Recent State Spending as Pct GDP

State Government Spending was increasing significantly, year on year, in the mid 2000s. But since 2011 state government spending has held steady at about $1.5 trillion per year.

Viewed from a GDP perspective, state spending was steady at about 8 percent GDP in the mid 2000s and then jumped, in the Great Recession to almost 9.75 percent GDP. But in the subsequent economic recovery state spending has steadily declined as a percent of GDP down to an expected 8.5 percent in 2015.

US State Government Spending Since 1900

Chart S.03s: State Spending

At the start of the 20th century state government spending was the smallest component of government, expending less than one percent of GDP each year. But state government spending has steadily increased throughout the 20th century. It went over 1 percent of GDP in the 1920s and exploded to 3 percent of GDP in the 1930s. In the 1950s state government began a steady growth, from 3 percent of GDP in the early 1950s to over 8 percent of GDP by 2000.

Federal, State, Local Spending in 20th Century

Chart S.04t: Federal State and Local Spending
in 20th Century

At the start of the 20th century, government spending was principally local government spending. Out of a total of 7 percent of GDP, a full 4 percent was spent at the local level. Federal spending spiked in World War I, but in the 1920s, local government still represented about half of all government spending. In the 1930s this changed, and federal spending surged to about half of all government spending. After the spike of World War II the federal share increased again and state government spending also began to increase as a percent of GDP, so that by the 2010s federal spending checked in at over 20 percent of GDP, state spending amounted to 8 to 9 percent of GDP and local spending exceeded 10 percent of GDP.

State-by-State Comparison of State and Local Spending

Chart S.05c: State and Local Spending Comparison

The bubble chart shows total state and local spending for each state in dollars per capita compared against the Gross State Product (GSP) in dollars per capita. The chart shows that the overwhelming number of states show a correlation between state and local spending and GSP. Notable outliers are Texas, on the low spending side and New York, Vermont, and Alaska, on the high spending side.

Top Spending Requests:

Find DEFICIT stats and history.

Get WELFARE stats and history.

US BUDGET overview and pie chart.


See FEDERAL BUDGET breakdown and estimated vs. actual.

MILITARY SPENDING details, budget and history.


See BAR CHARTS of spending, debt.

See PIE CHARTS of total spending, federal spending.

Check STATE spending: CA NY TX FL and compare.


Take a COURSE at Spending 101.

Make your own CUSTOM CHART.

Spending Data Sources

Spending data is from official government sources.

Gross Domestic Product data comes from US Bureau of Economic Analysis and

Detailed table of spending data sources here.

Federal spending data begins in 1792.

State and local spending data begins in 1890.

State and local spending data for individual states begins in 1957.

Spending 101 Courses

Spending | Federal Debt | Revenue | Defense | Welfare | Healthcare | Education
Debt History | Entitlements | Deficits | State Spending | State Taxes | State Debt

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Next Data Update

> Federal Deficit FY15

> data update schedule.

Data Sources for 2011_2020:

Sources for 2011:

GDP, GO: GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances
'Guesstimated' by projecting the latest change in reported spending forward to future years

Sources for 2020:

GDP, GO: GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances
'Guesstimated' by projecting the latest change in reported spending forward to future years

> data sources for other years
> data update schedule.

State FY15 Tax Update

On September 27, 2015 updated FY2015 state revenue with quarterly tax data from the US Census Bureau.  Local tax data was updated by assuming that local taxes for 2015 changed by the same percent as state taxes of the same type.

Spend links

us numbersus budgetcustom chartdeficit/gdpspend/gdpdebt/gdpus gdpus real gdpstate gdpbreakdownfederalstatelocal200920102011californiatexas

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Christopher Chantrill.

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