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What are the biggest federal programs?

The three biggest federal programs are health care (including Medicare and Medicaid), pensions (including Social Security), and Defense.

US Federal Budget Analyst

FY10 Federal Budget Spending Estimates
for Fiscal Years 2009 - 2014

2009   2010   2011   2012   2013   2014  

Units: By default, values are displayed in billions of nominal dollars. By using a dropdown control in the table heading you can select millions of dollars, percent of GDP, percent of federal total, percent of overall total, dollars per capita of population, and thousand dollars per capita of population.
US Budget Year: By default, the table displays budgeted and estimated numbers from the most recent US Federal Budget submitted to the Congress by the president. But you can look at numbers from other US Federal Budgets using this dropdown control.
US Budget Year: By default, the table displays budgeted and estimated numbers from the most recent US Federal Budget submitted to the Congress by the president. But you can look at numbers from other US Federal Budgets using this dropdown control.
full screen
US Federal Government FY 10 Budget
Estimated Outlays in $ billion nominal
-5yr -1yr   as of Winter 2009   +1yr +5yr
Estimated Outlays from US Federal FY 10 Budget
View: people old functions radical census programs altprog oldprog COFOG
Change Data View: The default view of spending data is by function. But you can also view data by program or the UN COFOG classification system.
FY 2009
FY 2010
FY 2011
FY 2012
FY 2013
FY 2014
[+]  Pensions736.2754.1779.8808.1849.9899.9
[+]  Health Care784.2846.8874.4894.5976.41,062.8
[+]  Education91.7149.5148.6138.6138.7145.8
Charts: Click on a to display a bar of data in a row or column of this table.
Click on to display a time-series chart of data in a row.
[+] Drill-down: Click on the [+] to drill down to more detailed numbers. For federal spending line items (but not revenue) you can drill down three levels to view about 4,000 items of spending at the “agency code” level.
Defense:  Start chart821.7871.9830.9807.1822.4842.0
[+]  Military defense690.3712.9658.7634.1635.8644.8
[+]  Civil defense0.
[+]  Veterans96.7108.9118.2116.4126.3132.7
[+]  Foreign military aid10.09.910.712.012.713.1
[+]  Foreign economic aid24.740.243.344.647.751.3
[+]  R and D Defence0.
[+]  Defence n.e.c.
[+]  Welfare395.4419.6409.7387.2376.8373.2
[+]  Protection35.137.636.636.336.436.6
[+]  Transportation94.3106.988.986.583.979.3
[+]  General Government41.343.743.745.045.044.7
[+]  Other Spending855.2225.2147.680.876.371.7
[+]  Interest142.7135.9254.5348.8411.6460.1
[+]  Balance0.
[+]  Total Spending3,997.83,591.13,614.83,632.83,817.54,016.0
[+]  Federal Deficit1,841.21,258.4929.4557.4512.3535.9
[+]  Gross Public Debt12,867.514,456.315,673.916,565.717,440.118,350.1
[+]  Other Borrowing0.
[+]  Agency/GSE Debt0.
Pie Chart: Select a pie chart you wish to display. You can create a pie chart for federal, state and local, and overall spending/revenue.

b - budgeted estimate in US FY10 budget
e - estimated by

Data Sources for 2009:
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1

Data Sources for 2014:
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1

The table shows overall budgeted federal outlays for major functions for the next five years, as estimated in the historical tables in the current presidential budget.

You can change the budget to be analyzed or drill down to view more detailed spending information.

But. For the “default” and “programs” views, we have extracted data from the Public Budget Database to expand Social Security and Medicare beyond the single line item each gets in Table 3.2. The Public Budget Database starts publishing six years of estimated outlays with the FY10 budget, so this page will only provide a full six years of estimated outlays starting with the FY10 budget.


Data Sources: Federal spending from Budget of the United States Government.

For a discussion of the sources of the government spending data used here read How We Got the Data for

Budget Updates: The president’s budget is typically published each year in February.

Download Federal Budget Data for 2009-2014

You can download budget data as a CSV file or directly as a tab-delimited table.

Download Data as CSV File

 Click button to download CSV file of data in table

Tab-delimited Table

Here is the budget table with columns tab-delimited. You can cut and paste directly into a spreadsheet:

You can copy all the text in the textbox by clicking your cursor in the box. Then press Ctrl-A and Ctrl-C and paste the text into your spreadsheet.

Top Spending Requests:

Find DEFICIT stats and history.

Get WELFARE stats and history.

US BUDGET overview and pie chart.


DOWNLOAD spending data or debt data.

See FEDERAL BUDGET breakdown and estimated vs. actual.

MILITARY SPENDING details, budget and history.


See BAR CHARTS of spending, debt.

Check STATE spending: CA NY TX FL and compare.



Take a COURSE at Spending 101.

Make your own CUSTOM CHART.

Spending Data Sources

Spending data is from official government sources.

Gross Domestic Product data comes from US Bureau of Economic Analysis and

Detailed table of spending data sources here.

Federal spending data begins in 1792.

State and local spending data begins in 1820.

State and local spending data for individual states begins in 1957.

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Next Data Update

> State GDP CY16

> data update schedule.

Data Sources for 2009_2014:

Sources for 2009:

GDP, GO: GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances

Sources for 2014:

GDP, GO: GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances

> data sources for other years
> data update schedule.

Local Government Finances from 1992 to Present

On May 16, 2018 added access to the spending and revenues of the tens of thousands of local governments -- counties, cities, special districts and school districts -- in the United States.

Local government finance data for individual local government units is published by the US Census Bureau in so-called "Individual Unit Files" and is available from 1992 to the present, with gaps from 1993-94 and 2007-11. Data for the missing years has been estimated by

Users can access this local government finance data in three ways.

  1. Local Rank page, that lists the top local governments by spending or by revenue.
  2. Local Detail page, that lists spending or revenue details for each local government.
  3. Local Chart page, that provides a multi-year chart of spending or revenue for each local government.
Given that there are tens of thousands of local governments in the US, the question is how to access a particular city, or county, or special district. There are two ways:
  1. Go to the Local Rank page. Then switch to the rank you want: city, county, district or school. If the government is on the list then click on the "chart" or "detail" link. If the government is not on the list then go to the bottom of the list and select the state the government is in. Then select the government using the drop downs.
  2. Go to the Local Detail or Local Chart page. Then select the state and the city/county/district/school.

Spend links

us numbersus budgetcustom chartdeficit/gdpspend/gdpdebt/gdpus gdpus real gdpstate gdpbreakdownfederalstatelocal201620172018californiatexas

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Christopher Chantrill.

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