State & Local Government Finance

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About the Survey


U.S. Census Bureau as authorized by Title 13, United States Code, Section 182.


To provide periodic and comprehensive statistics about governments and governmental financial activities.


Revenue data include taxes (i.e., property, sales, tobacco, motor vehicle, licensing and permit), charges, interest, and other earnings. Expenditure data include total by function (i.e., education, highways, airports, water and sewerage, health, hospitals, corrections, fire and police protection), and by accounting category (i.e., current operations and capital outlays). Debt data include issuance, retirement, and amounts outstanding. Financial assets data include securities and other holdings, by type.


A census is conducted every five years (years ending in '2' and '7'). A sample of state and local governments is used to collect data in the intervening years. A new sample is selected every five years (years ending in '4' and '9').


The U.S. Congress, federal agencies, state and local governments, educational and research organizations, and the general public employ these results. Some major uses include the following:

  • Development of the government component of the gross domestic product estimates
  • Development of the national income accounts
  • Development of personal income figures for state and county areas
  • Allocation of certain federal grant funds
  • Legislative research
  • Comparative studies of state and local government finances
  • Public and fiscal policy analysis/research

Additional information on our methodology – the population of interest, data collection, data processing, and data quality – are available at How the Data are Collected

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | State & Local Government Finance | 1 (800) 242-4523| |  Last Revised: September 08, 2015