Most of the data is actual government spending as reported by the Office of Management and Budget or the United States Census Bureau. But there is also interpolated data for the years not covered by the data sources. In addition, we have included budgeted and estimated spending as well. We have used color and italics to tell you the source of each item of spending.
Here is the key:
- Actual reported government spending is shown in blue text
- Interpolated data filling in for missing years in the source records is shown in blue italic text
- Budgeted spending is shown in normal text
- Estimated spending is shown in italic text
- “Guesstimated” spending, i.e. future state and local spending projected by usgovernmentspending.com, is shown in red italic text
Data SourcesThe government spending information is obtained from several sources of data.
Federal spending since 1962 is obtained from a spreadsheet file Table 3.2 - Outlays by Function and Subfunction in Budget of the United States Government published by the Executive Office of the President of the United States. It contains actual historical federal government spending from 1962 to the fiscal year ending before the current budget, and budgeted and estimated spending the current fiscal year and out five years.
Federal revenue since 1962 is obtained from spreadsheet files Table 2.1 - Receipts by Source: 1934–2016,
Table 2.4 - Composition of Social Insurance and Retirement Receipts and of Excise Taxes: 1940–2016, and Table 2.5 - Composition of “Other Receipts”: 1940–2016.
State and local government spending from 1992 is obtained from tables of state and local government spending published annually by the United States Census Bureau. For instance, the data for fiscal year 2004 is available as a zip file: State by Level of Government - Comma Delimited.
State and local government spending from 1962 to 1991 is obtained from tables of state and local government spending in the Statistical Abstract of the United States published by the United States Census Bureau.
Federal, state, and local government spending prior to 1962 is obtained from “Series Y 605-637. Federal Government Expenditure, by Function: 1902 to 1970” and from “Series Y 682-709. State and Local Government Expenditure, by Function: 1902 to 1970.” These are tables included in Bicentennial Edition: Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970 published by the United States Census Bureau.
This information is given in tabular form in Government Spending Data: Sources by Year.
Guesstimated SpendingThe federal government provides budgetary data for the current year and the next year. It also provides estimated budgetary data for the following four years.
But the Census Bureau data on state and local spending is historical data only. It does not include any information on state and local budgets or on state and local government spending projections.
So at usgovernmentspending.com we have massaged the recent historical data to come up with a “guesstimate” of future state and local spending.
The method used is to take the average change in spending for the last four years of historical data and estimate the percentage change in spending that this represents, limiting the percentage change to plus 20 percent and zero. We then apply that percentage for each year after the last year in the Census Bureau data.
You will notice that this method has its problems. The line “All Other Spending” for states goes negative in the out years, because the rate of increase in individual programs presently exceeds the rate of increase in overall spending. That is what you call a “budget crisis.”