Actually, Red States Don't Always Get More Federal Funding

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Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

State personal income in the past six quarters has grown mostly in “red” states and states run by Republican governors, TheBlaze reported earlier this month.However, after TheBlaze noted this trend, a few readers argued that the increase could be attributed to the “fact” that “red” states typically receive the lion’s share of federal funding.

Check out the states with the most federal funding >

Do they really?

In a word: no. In fact, since 2000, solid “blue” states have received far more in federal funding than solid “red” states, a Blaze analysis finds.

First, let’s define the state colour scheme:

  • Red: Republican presidential candidates have won this state in every election since 1996
  • Pink: Republican presidential candidates have won this state three times since 1996
  • Purple: This state has been won twice by a Republican presidential candidate and twice by a Democrat presidential candidate since 1996
  • Light Blue: Democrat presidential candidates have won this state three times since 1996
  • Blue: Democrat presidential candidates have won this state in every election since 1996

A quick word on our use of 1996: Because most pre-’96 electoral maps involve different colour schemes, we felt it would be best to start with President Clinton’s second run for office, the year the “red” state/”blue” state map configuration we’re all familiar with became more or less standardized (although it would take another four years for it to become a widely used election year tool).

Now it should be pointed out that fed funds go to a whole host of things including military, infrastructure, and disaster relief. Moreover, a state’s population plays a large role in the total amount received. But the argument isn’t about which states are “more deserving” of fed aid. The argument is that “red” states receive more fed funds than anyone else.

That being said, here is a breakdown of all 50 states and the District of Columbia by electoral map colour and federal funding since 2000, according to USA.gov:

Federal funding by state bar graph

Photo: USA.gov

As you can clearly see, there’s a difference in the distribution of federal funds among the states. In fact, if you combined “strong GOP” with “likely GOP,” the amount would still be less than what “strong Dem” states have received in the last 12 years.

Now some argue that certain states spend their federal funds differently, giving more back to the “pie” than others, and that this somehow changes everything.

But, again, that’s not the argument. The original argument claims “red” states receive more federal funds than “blue” states, leading to things such as an uptick in income growth. But as the above clearly indicates, “red” states simply don’t get more in fed funds.

Now we’re sure you’re want to know which states have received the most since the turn of the new millennium. We’re glad you asked. It just so happens that we have a list prepared for you.

Here are the top 10 states that have received the most federal funding since 2000, their estimated populations in 2011 (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), the amount of federal spending per capita in 2011 (the population estimate divided by total federal spending in FY2011), and their electoral map colour (based on the last four election cycles):

10. Ohio: $828.2B

colour: Purple (Split wins between Republicans and Democrats since 1996)
Population Estimates (as of July 1, 2011): 11,544,951
Federal spending per capita in 2011: $5,907
Voting History:

  • 1996: Clinton
  • 2000: Bush
  • 2004: Bush
  • 2008: Obama

9. New Jersey: $888.6B

colour: Blue (Democrats)
Population Estimates (as of July 1, 2011): 8,821,155
Federal spending per capita in 2011: $11,132
Voting History:

  • 1996: Clinton
  • 2000: Gore
  • 2004: Kerry
  • 2008: Obama

8. Illinois: $888.7B

colour: Blue (Democrats)
Population Estimates (as of July 1, 2011): 12,869,257
Federal spending per capita in 2011: $5,781
Voting History:

  • 1996: Clinton
  • 2000: Gore
  • 2004: Kerry
  • 2008: Obama

7. Louisiana: $994.5B

colour: Pink (Three Republican wins since 1996)
Population Estimates (as of July 1, 2011): 4,574,836
Federal spending per capita in 2011: $30,099
Voting History:

  • 1996: Clinton
  • 2000: Bush
  • 2004: Bush
  • 2008: McCain

6. Virgina: $1.054T

colour: Pink (Three Republican wins since 1996)
Population Estimates (as of July 1, 2011): 8,096,604
Federal spending per capita in 2011: $14,537
Voting History:

  • 1996: Dole
  • 2000: Bush
  • 2004: Bush
  • 2008: Obama

5. Pennsylvania: $1.105T

colour: Blue (Democrats)
Population Estimates (as of July 1, 2011): 12,742,886
Federal spending per capita in 2011: $7,573
Voting History:

  • 1996: Clinton
  • 2000: Gore
  • 2004: Kerry
  • 2008: Obama

4. New York: $1.714T

colour: Blue (Democrats)
Population Estimates (as of July 1, 2011): 19,465,197
Federal spending per capita in 2011: $7,973
Voting History:

  • 1996: Clinton
  • 2000: Gore
  • 2004: Kerry
  • 2008: Obama

3. Texas: $2.387T

colour: Red (Republicans)
Population Estimates (as of July 1, 2011): 25,674,681
Federal spending per capita in 2011: $11,451
Voting History:

  • 1996: Dole
  • 2000: Bush
  • 2004: Bush
  • 2008: McCain

2. California: $2.928T

colour: Blue (Democrats)
Population Estimates (as of July 1, 2011): 37,691,912
Federal spending per capita in 2011: $7,269
Voting History:

  • 1996: Clinton
  • 2000: Gore
  • 2004: Kerry
  • 2008: Obama

1. Florida: $3.853T

colour: Purple (Split wins between Republicans and Democrats since 1996)
Population Estimates (as of July 1, 2011): 19,057,542
Federal spending per capita in 2011: $30,319
Voting History:

  • 1996: Clinton
  • 2000: Bush
  • 2004: Bush
  • 2008: Obama

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