How the States, Local Governments Get Federal Money [CHART]

In 2014, about $3.3 trillion dollars went from the federal government to state governments, some of it passing through to local communities.

A new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts tracks the money, organizing the funds into five major categories, and then showing which types of federal money go to each state. The result: a snapshot of how about a fifth of a state’s economy is distributed, because that’s how much the federal money is worth to each state’s economic activity.

Courtesy of The Pew Charitable Trusts

Anne Stauffer

We talked with Anne Stauffer, director at the Pew Charitable Trusts. Here’s how that conversation went:

WDET: Can you summarize the report for us?

Listen to Stauffer’s answer: “…it’s equivalent to about one fifth of total state economic activity…”

WDET: What is the $99 million that comes to Michigan spent on?

Listen to Stauffer’s answer: “…Michigan … is sort of slightly above the national average…”

WDET: How much is the political environment responsible for where federal money goes, in other words, to what extent does the U.S. president determine the nature and amount of the spending?

Listen to Stauffer’s answer: “…a lot of these programs are negotiated on an annual basis…”

WDET: If voters are looking for indications to help them determine how a presidential candidate might decide how much and what kind of federal money could come to Michigan, what should they look for in a candidates’ platform or record?

Listen to Stauffer’s answer “…look at the categories that are really the most important to (your) state…”


Explore the 2014 data for yourself in the tables below.


This feature was produced in partnership with the Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Learn more about this special project and explore all the content here.

  • Sandra Svoboda, special assignments manager
  • Melissa Mason, research assistant and graphics designer
  • Jessica McInchak, digital architect
  • Matthew Morley, videographer and photographer

Image credit: Sandra Svoboda

This post is a part of 2016 Elections: Issues & Candidates.

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About the Author

Sandra Svoboda

Special Assignments Manager

Recovering Bankruptcy Reporter/Blogger looking forward to chronicling regional revitalization on-air, digitally and through community engagement.   Follow @WDETSandra

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