Data Sources

Spending

Unless otherwise noted, all federal spending data on this website are fiscal year outlays from the federal budget available at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget. Data for 2013 are the administration’s estimates.

Charts on the Home Page

Here are the data sources for the six charts on the home page of this website:

  • Total Federal Spending. This is outlay data from the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2014.
  • Shares of Total Federal Spending. This is outlay data from the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2014.
  • Federal Spending as a Share of Gross Domestic Product. This is outlay data from the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2014.
  • Government Spending as a Share of Gross Domestic Product. Data for 1900 from the Bureau of the Census. Other federal data from the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2014. Other state data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts. Federal data for 1950 is the average of 1949 to 1951 because 1950 was an unusual year.
  • Federal Spending Under Current Policies. See Congressional Budget Office, “Long-Term Budget Outlook,” June 2012. This is the “alternative fiscal scenario.”
  • Number of Federal Subsidy Programs. Program count from the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, current and past editions. See www.cfda.gov.

Charts for Each Department

Here are the data sources for the three charts presented for each department:

  • Spending in Constant Dollars. These figures are calculated from data in the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2014.
  • Shares of Spending by Type of Activity. Aside from interest, all federal spending falls into one of four categories: employee wages and benefits, purchases or procurement, aid to the states, and subsidies or benefits paid to individuals, businesses, and nonprofit groups. Data in the pie charts are rough estimates based on budget data measured in “outlays” and other budget data measured in “obligations.” Spending on employee pay, purchases, and benefits by department are available in the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2014, Federal Spending by Object Class.
  • Spending by Program Area. These figures are calculated from data in the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2014.