Per Capita Federal Welfare Expenditures by State

Audacious Epigone, Audacious Epigone, April 02, 2009

Commenter Jesuswarehouse helpfully dug up several links, including federal expenditures by state on a host of things. Sifting through them, I’ve figured total per capita federal welfare spending–defined here as childhood nutrition programs, food stamp programs, WIC benefits, and TANF benefits–by state. Such a table does not appear to be floating around anywhere else on the web. For that reason, it is presented here. The latest year all necessary figures appear to be available from is 2005. Consequently, all data are from that year:


Vermont’s high take stands out, as the state generally fares well on quality-of-life measures. I would have expected it to show similarity to New Hampshire. However, per capita expenditures only weakly correlate* with the usual suspects–with the poverty rate at .33 (p=.02), with the non-Asian minority (NAM) percentage of the population at .22 (p=.13), and inversely with estimated average IQ at .22 (p=.13). Blue states receive a little more than red states do, but a state’s political persuasion doesn’t reveal much–federal welfare expenditures correlate inversely with Bush’s ’04 share of the vote at .24 (p=.09).

Not surprisingly, there are factors other than ‘need’ at work in determining how much the federal government doles out to its tributaries.

A visualization of the table appears below. Data are here.

* All correlations exclude the District of Columbia.

[Editor’s Note: the “helpful links” referred to in the story are given here.]


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