Federal Spending in States
Federal grants to states increased by 3.1 percent in the 2011 fiscal year, according to the Federal Funds Information for States, which tracks more than 200 federal grant-in-aid programs. The $587 billion in grants amounts to $1,861 for every U.S. citizen. The District of Columbia held the top per capita rank in 2011 at $5,017 per resident, while Nevada received the least per resident at $1,111; both held the same position in 2010. The grants include everything from Medicaid to transportation to community and regional development.
Medicaid and other mandatory spending drives the total per capita funding provided to states, according to the report, “FY 2011 Per Capita Federal Spending on Major Grants.” Federal grants often have small-state minimums, which benefit states with relatively small populations on a per capita basis. Many of the programs are driven by federal formulas, so demographics and economic well-being play a significant role in the amount of funding received.