Special Analysis 18-03
November 21, 2018

This analysis uses the Census Bureau’s most recent state population estimates and the FFIS grants database to rank states on their per capita receipt of federal grants in a host of areas.

  • The District of Columbia is an outlier in federal grants per capita due to its unique status and relationship with the federal government. Among states, Alaska, New Mexico, and Wyoming hold the top rankings for fiscal year (FY) 2017.

  • Virginia received the lowest grants per capita, about 27% of the amount Alaska received. Other low-ranking states include Utah, Florida, Nebraska, and Kansas.

  • Medicaid drives the results. While average Medicaid grants per capita grew 49% between FY 2012 and FY 2017, non-Medicaid grants grew 6.6%. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased Medicaid’s impact as states that expand Medicaid see an influx of 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.

  • Health is the largest category, averaging $1,289 per capita. Federal grants average more than $100 per capita for income security and social services, education, and transportation.

  • Mineral leasing payments drive the results for a few states. While the average state received less than $10 per capita, Wyoming received $1,155, and New Mexico received $218.