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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

Census Bureau Reports New Highs for State and Local Government Revenue in 2011

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that total revenue for state and local governments reached an all-time high of $3.4 trillion in 2011, up 8.4 percent from 2010, according to new statistics released today. Individual income tax revenue increased 9.5 percent to $284.9 billion, while corporate income tax revenue increased 10.7 percent to $48.5 billion. Overall, tax revenue also reached a record high in 2011, increasing 5.3 percent to $1.3 trillion collected.

Revenues tied to investment assets showed the largest percentage increase for state and local governments. Employee contributions, which include amounts withheld for retirement plans plus any accrued interest, increased 33.3 percent to $553.1 billion. The figures are not adjusted for inflation.

These findings come from the 2011 Annual Surveys of State and Local Government Finances, which include the most recent statistics available on revenues (including taxes), expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) for state and local governments.

On the expenditure side, state and local governments spent $3.2 trillion in 2011, a 1.5 percent increase from $3.1 trillion in 2010. Education continued to be the largest single expense ($861.1 billion) for 2011, followed by public welfare spending ($492.0 billion) and insurance trust expenses ($361.4 billion).

"State and local government revenues were up for the second consecutive year in 2011," said Lisa Blumerman, chief of the Census Bureau's Governments Division. "The statistics produced from this release provide the only comprehensive insight into the finances of nearly 90,000 state and local governments."

Spending on education accounted for more than one-third of expenditures in four states: Arkansas, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia. Overall spending on higher education increased 3.9 percent to $252.3 billion, while spending on elementary and secondary education continued to decrease, falling 1.3 percent to $564.9 billion.

Other highlights for state and local government finances:

  • Public welfare spending increased 7.7 percent, up to $492.0 billion.
  • Unemployment compensation expenditures decreased 10.0 percent, from $135.4 billion in 2010 to $121.9 billion.
  • Total outstanding debt was $2.9 trillion for 2011, up 2.3 percent from 2010. (Long-term debt comprises 98.8 percent of all outstanding debt.)
  • Governments collectively had $5.2 trillion in cash and security holdings for 2011, up 8.3 percent from 2010.
  • Insurance trust revenue increased to $663.6 billion.
  • For local governments, property tax receipts as a percentage of general revenue was highest in Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
  • Maine led the nation in state and local government spending on public welfare as a percentage of total spending at 23.2 percent.
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Data in this report are subject to sampling variability as well as nonsampling errors. Sources of nonsampling errors include errors of response, nonreporting and coverage. More details covering the design methodology are available online at <http://www2.census.gov/govs/local/2011_local_finance_methodology.pdf>. All comparative statements in this report have undergone statistical testing, and unless otherwise noted, all comparisons are statistically significant at the 10 percent significance level.
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: July 15, 2014