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What is the Total US Government Spending?

In FY 2015, total US government spending, federal, state, and local, was “guesstimated” to be $6.16 trillion, with federal $3.69 trillion; state $1.53 trillion; local $1.58 trillion.

National Spending Analysis   also: Revenue Charts  Debt Charts  Deficit Charts  


This page shows the current trends in US national spending. Also see charts on US spending history. See also: Social Security Spending and Medicare Spending

Recent US Total Government Spending

Chart S.01t: Recent Total Government Spending

Chart S.02t: Recent Total Spending as Pct GDP

Total US Government Spending, federal, state and local, was increasing briskly, year on year, in the mid 2000s from $4.4 trillion in 2005 to $6 trillion in the depths of the Great Recession in 2009. But since the end of the recession total government spending has leveled out at $6 trillion per year.

Viewed from a GDP perspective, total government spending was steady at about 33 percent GDP in the mid 2000s and then jumped, in the Great Recession, to 41 percent GDP. But in the subsequent economic recovery total government spending has stead declined as a percent of GDP down to about 34 percent GDP in 2015.

US Total Government Spending Since 1900

Chart S.03t: Total Spending as Percent GDP

Government spending at the start of the 20th century was less than 7 percent of GDP. It vaulted to almost 30 percent of GDP by the end of World War I, and then settled down to 10 percent of GDP in the 1920s. In the 1930s spending doubled to 20 percent of GDP. Defense spending in World War II drove overall government spending over 50 percent of GDP before declining to 22 percent of GDP in the late 1940s. The 1950s began a steady spending increase to about 36 percent of GDP by 1982. In the 1990s and 2000s government spending stayed about constant at 33-35 percent of GDP, but in the aftermath of the Crash of 2008 spending has jogged up to 40 percent of GDP.

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.

Top Spending Requests:

Find DEFICIT stats and history.

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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

> State Finances FY13

> 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.

Federal Deficit and Outlay Actuals for FY15

On October 15, 2015, the US Treasury reported in its Monthly Treasury Statement (and xls) for September that the federal deficit for FY15 ending September 30 was $439 billion. Here are the numbers, including total receipts, total outlays, and deficit compared with the numbers projected in the FY 16 federal budget published in February 2015:

Federal Finances
FY15 Outcomes
Receipts $3,176$3,249
Deficit$583$439 now shows the new numbers for total FY15 outlays and receipts on its Estimate vs. Actual page.

The Monthly Treasury Statement includes ""Table 4: Receipts of the United States Government, September 2015 and Other Periods." This table of receipts by source is used for to post federal receipt actuals for FY2015.

The Monthly Treasury Statement includes "Table 9. Summary of Receipts by Source, and Outlays by Function of the U.S. Government, September 2015 and Other Periods".   This table of outlays by function makes it possible for to estimate actual outlays by "subfunction" for FY2015 by factoring budgeted amounts by the difference between budgeted and actual "function" amounts where actual outlays by subfunction cannot be gleaned from the Monthly Treasury Statement.

Final detailed FY2015 numbers will not appear until the FY2016 federal budget is published in February 2015 with the actual outlays for FY15 in Historical Table 3.2--Outlays by Function and Subfunction.

Spend links

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