Federal Grants Per Capita, FY 2015

Special Analysis 16-02
May 13, 2016

Summary 

The Census Bureau released state population estimates for July 1, 2015, at the end of December 2015. Using those estimates and FFIS grants database figures, states were ranked on their fiscal year (FY) 2015 per capita receipt of federal funds in a host of areas. Among the major findings are the following:

  •  Due to its unique relationship with the federal government, the District of Columbia ranked #1 in federal grants per capita. It was followed by Alaska, Wyoming, and New Mexico.
  • Virginia received the lowest federal grants per capita, about one-third the amount received by the highest-ranking state. Other states ranking low included Utah, Florida, Kansas, and New Hampshire.
  • Medicaid drives most results. Outside of Medicaid, federal grants declined between FY 2010 and FY 2015.
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased Medicaid’s role, as states that expand Medicaid see an influx of new federal funds.
  • Puerto Rico ranks near the top of many grants allocated by income and poverty, but ranks last in Medicaid because of a federal cap.

The following areas also play an important role in state results:

  • Income security and social services, education, and transportation are the only other categories where federal grants average more than $100 per capita.
  • General government is a small category, but one program drives results for a few states: mineral leasing payments. While the average state received less than $10 per capita, Wyoming received more than $1,500, and New Mexico received $260.

This analysis is accompanied by detailed spreadsheets available to full database subscribers.