- Using data from the US Census Bureau, we found the share of employed people in each state and DC who work for their local, state, or federal government.
- DC and its surrounding states had relatively high shares of government employment, while Midwestern states saw smaller shares.
The federal government shutdown is now in its second month, with no clear end in sight.
The American Community Survey is an annual survey run by the Census Bureau to allow the government, corporate and academic researchers, and anyone who is curious about demographics to better understand the US population. Among many other subjects, the ACS includes questions about people’s employment status.
Using ACS data from 2017, we looked at the share of employed people over age 16 in each state who work for their local, state, or federal government, as shown in the map above.
The District of Columbia and its neighbouring states of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia all have very high shares of government workers, as one might expect from the many federal government agencies headquartered in and around the nation’s capital.
DC and Alaska were tied for the highest share of government workers, with 25.0% of employed people working for the government in both jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, Midwestern states had smaller shares of employment coming from government. Michigan had the smallest share in the country, with just 10.1% of employed Michiganians working in government, followed closely by Indiana and Pennsylvania at 10.2% each.
Within each state, the distribution of government employment across towns and places also varies. This map shows the town in each state with the highest share of government employees:
- Read more about demographics and economics in the US:
- The economy of every state and DC, ranked from worst to best
- The most and least expensive places to live in America
- The most disproportionately high-paying job in every state
- Here’s how many people in each state were born outside the US
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