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Contact:  Brian Lavin
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Census Bureau Reports Increased State Government Revenues and General Expenditures for 2011

Total state government revenue increased to $2.3 trillion in 2011, up 11.3 percent from $2.0 trillion in 2010, according to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Total state government revenue includes general revenues (mainly tax revenue), utility revenue, liquor store revenue and insurance trust revenue. General revenues were $1.7 trillion in 2011, a 5.7 percent increase from 2010. General expenditures by state governments rose 3.7 percent in 2011 to $1.7 trillion.

The findings are from the 2011 Annual Survey of State Government Finances, which shows revenues, expenditures, debt, and cash and security holdings for each state as well as a national summary of state government finances.

The increase in state government revenue in 2011 was mainly because of a $141.0 billion increase in social insurance trust revenue. Social insurance trust revenue includes employee retirement investments, which had gains in 2011. There was also an increase in tax revenue as government taxes collected in 2011 ($757.9 billion) grew 8.0 percent over 2010 ($701.7 billion) and accounted for 45.9 percent of general revenue.

Expenditures for education ($592.3 billion), public welfare ($496.8 billion) and health and hospitals ($125.7 billion) represented the top three expenditures in state government budgets.

State government budgets depend mostly on revenue from general sources: taxes, federal grants, service charges and other miscellaneous revenues. General revenues fund most state programs and in general comprise the bulk of state government revenue (72.9 percent in 2011).

Highlights of General Revenues

Social insurance trust systems showed revenues of $591.7 billion in 2011, a gain of 31.3 percent over the year before. Two major sources make up the state trust systems: state employee retirement systems and state social insurance trust systems including the unemployment compensation system, state government workers' compensation programs and other insurance trust systems.

Individual income tax revenue ($259.1 billion) grew 9.8 percent in 2011 over 2010 ($236.0 billion). General sales taxes revenue grew 5.4 percent to $234.5 billion in 2011.

Federal grants increased 3.4 percent from 2010 to 2011 to $574.1 billion and accounted for 34.7 percent of general revenue. Federal grants for welfare programs comprised 57.9 percent of all federal grants received in 2011, increasing 5.3 percent to $332.6 billion.

Service charges (excluding those for utilities) collected rose by 6.6 percent from $169.9 billion in 2010 to $181.1 billion in 2011. Service charges accounted for 11.0 percent of general revenue.

Highlights of State Government Expenditures

State government spending on public welfare was greater than 30 percent of general expenditures in 14 states, led by Tennessee (39.0 percent), Rhode Island (37.5 percent) and Maine (36.3 percent). (See Table 1.)

Unemployment compensation spending was $121.4 billion in 2011; this represented a 10 percent decrease from 2010, when it was $134.9 billion. (See Figure 1.)

State government spending on education totaled more than 40 percent of general expenditures in 13 states, led by Georgia (46.6 percent), Indiana (45.5 percent) and Alabama (45.0 percent). The accompanying table shows general expenditures and education expenditures and their shares of total spending for each of the 50 states for 2011 and 2010. (See Table 2.)

The leading states in highway spending, measured as a percentage of general expenditures, were South Dakota (14.9 percent), North Dakota (14.2 percent) and Alaska (14.2 percent). (See Figure 2.)

The leading states in spending on public health and hospitals, measured as a percentage of general expenditures, were Hawaii (12.9 percent), Missouri (11.2 percent) and Connecticut (10.8 percent).

For the 43 states with lotteries, ticket sales totaled $54.7 billion in 2011, compared with $53.1 billion in 2010. Lottery prizes awarded totaled $33.8 billion in 2011 and lottery proceeds were $18.3 billion in 2011. The top three states in lottery ticket sales were New York ($7.0 billion), Massachusetts ($4.2 billion) and Florida ($3.8 billion). The same states also ranked highest in prizes awarded: New York ($4.0 billion), Massachusetts ($3.2 billion) and Florida ($2.5 billion).


The data on state government finances for fiscal year 2011 and past years are available on the Internet in viewable and downloadable files at <https://www.census.gov/govs/state/>.

The data in these tables are from a census of governments, therefore they are not subject to sampling variability but are subject to coverage, response and processing errors as well as errors of nonresponse.

For more information on the data limitations, definitions and methodology, see <https://www.census.gov/govs/state/how_data_collected.html>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: May 19, 2016