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 2014 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 2015.
  • Shares of Total Federal Spending. This is outlay data from the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015.
  • Federal Spending as a Share of Gross Domestic Product. This is outlay data from the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015.
  • Government Spending as a Share of Gross Domestic Product. Data for 1900 from the Bureau of the Census. All other data from the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015.
  • Federal Spending Under Current Policies. See Congressional Budget Office, “Long-Term Budget Outlook,” September 2013. This is the “extended 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 2015.
  • 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 aid 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 by department on employee pay, purchases, and aid other than state aid is available in the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015, 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 2015.