Skip Main Navigation Skip To Navigation Content

State Government Finances

Skip top of page navigation
You are here: Census.govBusiness & IndustryFederal, State, & Local GovernmentsState Government Finances › About the Survey
Skip top of page navigation

About the Survey

SPONSOR

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


PURPOSE

This recurring survey primarily deals with the finances of the state governments and is also a supplement of the Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances. The survey covers the fifty state governments as well as all dependent state-level governmental entities.


CONTENT

The Annual Survey of State Government Finances provides a comprehensive summary of the annual survey findings for state governments, as well as data for individual states. The tables contain detail of revenue by source, expenditure by object and function, indebtedness by term, and assets by purpose.

Reporting of government finances by the Census Bureau involves presentation of data in terms of uniform categories. Financial items of the same kind are merged. For example, expenditure amounts for a similar purpose are combined, regardless of the number of government funds involved.

The financial data are limited to coverage of state governments and provide no measure of local government finances as such.

Use caution in attempting to draw conclusions from direct comparisons of financial amounts for individual state governments. Some states directly administer activities that elsewhere are undertaken by local governments, with or without state fiscal aid. The share of government sector financial totals contributed by a state government, therefore, differs materially from one state to another.

Financial amounts presented are statistical in nature and do not represent an accounting statement. Consequently, the Census Bureau statistics on government finance cannot be used as financial statements, or to measure a government’s fiscal condition. For instance, the difference between a government's total revenue and total expenditure cannot be construed to be a 'surplus' or 'deficit'.

The statistics reflect state government fiscal years that end on June 30, except for four states with other ending dates: Alabama and Michigan (September 30), New York (March 31), and Texas (August 31).

For further information on what is measured and how data are classified please consult the Government Finance and Employment Classification Manual.


FREQUENCY

Data have been collected annually since 1951.


PRODUCTS

The Annual Survey of State Government Finances produces a summary table for the U.S. and each individual state government, available in American FactFinder. It also produces a lottery table listing the income and apportionment of state-administered lottery funds, also available in American FactFinder. A downloadable flat data file providing detailed financial data for each of the 50 state governments is also available.


HOW THE DATA ARE USED

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
  • Policy 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


[PDF] or PDF denotes a file in Adobe’s Portable Document Format. To view the file, you will need the Adobe® Reader® Off Site available free from Adobe.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | State Government Finances | (800) 242-4523| govs.statefinance@census.gov |  Last Revised: January 23, 2014