Welfare Spending by State

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a report on welfare by state called the “Public Assistance Receipt in the Past 12 Months for Households: 2009 and 2010” (pdf) More specifically:

Public assistance income provides cash payments to poor families and includes General Assistance and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), which replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997. Public assistance income does not include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), noncash benefits such as Food Stamps/SNAP, or separate payments received for hospital or other medical care. To qualify for public assistance benefits, the income and assets of an individual or family must fall below specified thresholds. However, unlike AFDC benefits, TANF benefits are time-limited, require most adult recipients to work, and give states increased flexibility in program design.

The top welfare providing states, aka, “hammock” states, are Maine, Vermont, Michigan, Alaska, Washington and California.

On the flip side, the least welfare providing states are Texas (Gov. Perry anyone?), Wyoming, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia.

Check out the map below to see where  your state falls on the “hammock” scale . . .

 Map Showing Percentage Receiving Public Assistance for Households by States 2010

Why I’m Not Worried About China

There are a lot of folks out there that seriously believe that China is not only a rising superpower, but that they will dethrone the U.S. as the global leader. While there are many home-grown reasons for why the U.S. may tumble from the throne, I’m pretty sure it won’t be because of China’s ascendance.

The chart below shows why–Demographic Winter. New population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that China’s population will peak at 1,395,015,000 in 2026 and will go into a free-fall shortly thereafter.

By 2050, China’s population will have already fallen by 100 million people. More troubling, the annual population decline will be averaging 6 million people per year with the drop accelerating by 300,000 per year.

In contrast, the U.S. population is forecast to grow continuously reaching 422,554,000 by 2050. This also means the U.S. will have a more balanced age pyramid than China. Both are good for economic growth.

Of course, forecasts can be wrong. If China’s forcast is wrong, it’s most likely because the Census Bureau is understating the demographic cliff the country is facing. I recently came across a story in The Telegraph by Xue Xinran which stated:

Today, more than half the number of divorces are between people in their twenties and thirties, most of them from the first generation of the single-child policy. Many of this generation don’t even want children. Some don’t like the idea of being ousted from their position within the family; others say they simply don’t have the time to care for a child. At least they know their limitations. In the last five years, there have been numerous cases of two and three year-olds who have suffocated to death in family cars. Why? Because their distracted parents entrusted them to the care of drivers who left them locked in airless cars while running errands. It’s hard to take in, but it’s happening.

A one-child policy is bad enough, but a no-child policy is societal suicide. This is compounded by the skewed gender imbalance towards males which means, by definition, fewer women and babies. China will simply be crushed by a dramatically aging society before it ever reaches super-power status.

That’s not to say we should ignore China. They could still wreck havoc both economically and militarily before their demographic crisis hits. In short, I’m less concerned about China overtaking us as I am worried about China taking us down with them–say via WWIII.

Chart Showing China versus American Population Growth 2011 to 2050

Fiscal Federalism 14: Federal Expenditures by State

Today the U.S. Census Bureau released the latest Consolidated Federal Funds Reports (CFFR) for Fiscal Year 2010. The CFFR is the most comprehensive analysis of federal spending by state available. A few weeks ago I blogged on Federal Aid to the States which is one of many components included in the CFFR.

Overall, the major moocher states off of Uncle Sam include Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, North Dakota and New Mexico with per capita federal spending topping over $12,000. On the flip side, the states that receive the least (ranging from $0 to $8,999 per person) from Uncle Sam include New Hampshire (Yes!), Texas (Gov. Perry anyone?), Illinois, Minnesota, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and California.

Check out the map below to see where your state falls on the moocher scale . . .

Chart Showing Per Capita Federal Expenditures by State for Fiscal Year 2010

Fiscal Federalism 11: Federal Aid to the States

I’ve always found the phrase “Federal Aid to the States” to be rather demeaning to states–does Uncle Sam think the states need aid the same way international aid is given to basket-cases across the globe?  In most cases, this so-called “aid” is more about scoring political points than it is anything else, but I digress.

At any rate, the U.S. Census Bureau produces this series of reports–“Federal Aid to the States”–(pdf) that is a companion piece to the series of reports I’ve been discussing previously known as the “Consolidated Federal Funds Report.”  The FAS delves into more specific detail pertaining to the grants that Uncle Sam sends down to the states.

As part of a study I’m working on for the good folks at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, I’ve been going through these reports.  What I have found will amaze you–or horrify you depending on your ideological persuasion.

The chart below comes from the most recent FAS report and it shows per capita federal grants to state and local governments by state.  The dark green indicates the states with the highest degree of federal aid while the light green indicates the states with the lowest degree of federal aid.

What I found interesting was that there are two low aid states that are stuck in a region of high aid states–New Hampshire in the Northeast and Texas in the south.  We all know that New Hampshire and Texas stand out for their small(er) government policies at the state level, but how does that translate into less federal aid?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post as I delve into specific grant programs that will help answer that question–as well as providing its own shocking data.  If you want to venture an guess, please weigh-in in the comment section.

Chart of Federal Aid to State and Local Governments Fiscal Year 2009


Interactive Census Population Map

The U.S. Census Bureau has a cool new interactive population map.  It is not fully functional yet because the data has not been released, but as the new data is released this map will updated.  I can’t wait to get the data at the sub-state level . . . only a data wonk like myself would make such a statement with a straight face 🙂