Contents and Abstract:
- 4.1 Background
- 4.2 Primary vs Secondary Function
- 4.21 Public Institutions
- 4.3 Data Crossing Functional Lines
- 4.4 Relation to Federal and State Government Programs
- 4.5 Unique Special District Function Codes
- 4-1: Cross-Classification of Revenue, Expenditure,
and Debt Codes by Function
- 4-A: Detailed Categories for Reporting Functional Expenditures
and Employment, by Functional Grouping
- 4-B: Detailed Categories for Reporting Functional Expenditures
and Employment, by Function Code
Expenditure Code Definition Pages
Viewed as a group, governments are multi-functional organizations, providing a wide range of services to a broad group of
people. In recognition of this diversity, the Census Bureau has
created a detailed classification scheme for reporting government
activities according to their purpose.
To illustrate the functional interrelationship among different
types of data, Table 4-1 provides a cross-classification of
revenue, expenditure, and debt codes by function. Note that not
every finance code is shown in this table; some codes are not
functional per se (e.g., taxes and insurance trust data) while
others are too broad to list (e.g., "all other" codes).
Also included in this chapter are two charts providing listings
of all current function codes. Chart 4-A arranges
these codes according to the functional groupings used for publication
purposes ("Education," "Social Insurance and Income Maintenance,"
etc.) while Chart 4-B lists them in numerical
order (01, 02, 03,etc.).
Completing this chapter are the Expenditure Code Definition Pages that provide
detailed, one-page definitions of each function, including
coverage of data collection information.
Currently, the Census Bureau has identified nearly 70 major
functions of government, several of which are used solely for the
Federal Government. Others apply solely to state government data
while a few pertain only to local government activities. Each of
these functions falls into one of the four sectors of government
described in Chapter 3: General Government, Liquor Stores,
Utilities, and Insurance Trust. No function, however, spans
more than one sector of government.
This classification schema is so pervasive that virtually all
data on governments collected by the Bureau is categorized in
part along functional lines. The few activities not classified
by function are:
Government agencies often provide services that encompass more
than one function. For instance, airports may have their own
police force, schools their own libraries, and large correctional
institutions their own water supply or sewerage systems.
- Interest on general debt is excluded from functional
expenditures (but not interest on utility debt, which is
included in utility expenditures). Retirement of debt is
excluded also because it is reported in debt statistics
rather than expenditure data.
- Contributions to insurance trust systems administered by the
same government are excluded from functional expenditures
(and reported as insurance trust expenditures when disbursed
to beneficiaries). Payments to systems administered by
another government, on the other hand, are reported in
- Many administrative activities that support others are
reported either in one of the government administration
functions (e.g., Financial Administration) or in the Other
and Unallocable category.
- Some activities are too broad or multi-purpose to be included
in a single-purpose function, such as lump sum contributions
for employee fringe benefits, economic development, government-wide insurance policies, etc. These generally are
classed in Other and Unallocable.
- Some items defy being categorized by function, such as taxes
and most cash and securities data.
In these instances, the Census Bureau categorizes the entire
activity according to its primary function rather than breaking
it down into its smaller component or secondary parts. Using the
examples cited above, the secondary activities would be classified along with their primary function--i.e., air transportation,
education, and corrections, respectively.
Public institutions comprise such facilities as hospitals,
colleges and universities, adult and juvenile correctional
facilities, welfare homes, and special schools for the
The functional classification of these institutions for Census
Bureau purposes is not done on an ad hoc basis, however. Rather,
a separate unit within Governments Division identifies and
categorizes them. For state and large local governments, these
findings are reported in "Checklists of Institutions for
Governments Division Surveys." Compilers of finance and
employment data use these checklists to assign institutions to
their proper function.
The boundaries created by this classification system are not so
rigid that they prevent activities from crossing functional
lines. To illustrate, the receipt of Federal aid for medical
care assistance to the needy (Medicaid) is classified as a public
welfare intergovernmental revenue. These money often are spent,
however, by public hospitals. By definition, all outlays of a
public hospital are classified at a hospital function, so the
transaction necessarily crosses over into the hospital category
on the expenditure side. Payments to private vendors for
medical care, in contrast, remain within the public welfare
These functions, created for general statistical purposes, cannot
be equated with any specific Federal or state government program.
They are generally broader than even the most widely-based
Federal or state programs. Major Federal and state programs may
even cross over into more than one Census Bureau function, as
illustrated above with the Medicaid program.
Instead, these functions represent broad activities of govern-
ments that have remained virtually unchanged for years, thereby
preserving their usefulness for analytical purposes even while
specific Federal and state programs expand or contract.
Some, but not all, of the functional categories described in this
chapter are used to classify not only government finances and
employment, but also government organization. In conjunction
with the regular function codes, the organization phase employs a
set of function codes expressly for special district governments.
These codes are limited to the organization area because, even
though numerous special districts may exist for them (e.g., the
1,655 cemetery districts classified during the 1997 Census of
Governments), their finances or employment are too small, they
are concentrated in just a few states, or their activities are
Finance and employment data for special district organization
codes are converted into the regular functions for reporting
purposes, as shown by the table below.