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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

FY16 Federal Budget Spending Estimates
for Fiscal Years 2015 - 2020

2015   2016   2017   2018   2019   2020  

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 16 Budget
Estimated Outlays in $ billion nominal
-5yr -1yr   as of Winter 2015   +1yr +3yr
Estimated Outlays from US Federal FY 16 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 2015
FY 2016
FY 2017
FY 2018
FY 2019
FY 2020
[–]  Pensions:  Start chart951.41,005.41,055.81,112.81,183.01,252.3
[+]  Sickness and disability0.
[+]  Old age951.41,005.41,055.81,112.81,183.01,252.3
[–]  Health Care:  Start chart1,017.71,107.41,134.11,175.01,272.61,338.1
[+]  Medical service (Seniors)536.4589.7590.6592.3652.2696.8
[+]  Medical service0.
[+]  Public health services5.
[+]  R and D Health32.632.634.033.634.734.0
[+]  Health n.e.c.
[+]  Vendor Payments (Welfare)443.6480.2504.4543.8580.5602.1
[–]  Education:  Start chart149.0119.2130.0138.9146.9152.9
[+]  Pre primary thru secondary education43.439.742.746.049.451.7
[+]  Tertiary education60.830.234.240.945.149.3
[+]  Education not definable by level44.849.253.151.952.451.8
[+]  Subsidiary services to education0.
[+]  R and D Education0.
[+]  Education n.e.c.
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 chart813.9851.8840.4822.7835.4851.3
[+]  Military defense597.5615.5603.9592.0590.4598.0
[+]  Civil defense0.
[+]  Veterans161.4180.3181.3178.3193.2201.5
[+]  Foreign military aid12.514.414.112.812.211.7
[+]  Foreign economic aid42.441.541.139.639.640.1
[+]  R and D Defence0.
[+]  Defence n.e.c.
[–]  Welfare:  Start chart383.5399.4409.0407.4420.0425.1
[+]  Family and children284.1297.9307.3307.2316.5318.9
[+]  Unemployment42.243.743.143.746.749.4
[+]  Unemployment trust0.
[+]  Workers compensation7.
[+]  Housing49.551.652.051.351.350.7
[+]  Social exclusion n.e.c.
[+]  R and D Social protection0.
[+]  Social protection n.e.c.
[–]  Protection:  Start chart58.758.562.361.262.064.3
[+]  Police services28.630.631.832.132.432.7
[+]  Fire protection services0.
[+]  Law courts23.220.623.121.521.923.8
[+]  Prisons6.
[+]  R and D Public order and safety0.
[+]  Public order and safety n.e.c.
[–]  Transportation:  Start chart92.998.7103.8107.2108.1109.8
[+]  Transport92.998.7103.8107.2108.1109.8
[+]  Transit0.
[–]  General Government:  Start chart25.029.327.728.029.130.3
[+]  Executive and legislative organs, financ15.719.519.119.320.321.2
[+]  General services9.
[–]  Other Spending:  Start chart37.346.793.4145.9112.0118.5
[+]  Basic research17.618.118.318.618.919.1
[+]  General economic, commercial and labour -7.9-8.5-9.7-8.4-6.6-3.7
[+]  Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunti29.030.634.632.928.227.1
[+]  Fuel and energy3.5-1.3-2.2-4.1-4.2-2.2
[+]  Mining, manufacturing and construction0.
[+]  Communication-0.5-1.6-1.4-2.0-3.0-3.0
[+]  Other industries0.
[+]  R and D Economic affairs0.
[+]  Economic affairs n.e.c.-
[+]  Waste management0.
[+]  Waste water management0.
[+]  Pollution abatement8.
[+]  Protection of biodiversity and landscape13.213.814.014.814.814.8
[+]  R and D Environmental protection0.
[+]  Environmental protection n.e.c.
[+]  Housing development-34.1-31.3-32.3-32.4-29.9-29.3
[+]  Community development27.221.821.220.717.514.4
[+]  Water supply9.
[+]  Street lighting0.
[+]  R and D Housing and community amenities0.
[+]  Housing and community amenities n.e.c.
[+]  Recreational and sporting services3.
[+]  Cultural services0.
[+]  Broadcasting and publishing services0.
[+]  Religious and other community services0.
[+]  R and D Recreation, culture and religion0.
[+]  Recreation, culture and religion n.e.c.
[+]  R and D General public services0.
[+]  General public services n.e.c.-0.4-26.418.464.934.536.4
[+]  Transfers of a general character between0.
[–]  Interest:  Start chart229.2283.0361.3424.2483.5543.8
[+]  Public debt transactions229.2283.0361.3424.2483.5543.8
[+]  Balance0.
[+]  Total Spending3,758.63,999.54,217.84,423.34,652.64,886.4
[+]  Federal Deficit582.5474.3462.8478.9517.7554.1
[–]  Gross Public Debt:  Start chart18,627.619,333.820,095.120,870.321,640.322,413.2
[+]  Debt held by public (except monetized)11,054.611,656.712,253.212,863.213,507.414,183.0
[+]  Debt held by government5,121.35,225.35,390.25,555.45,681.15,778.4
[+]  Monetized debt2,451.72,451.72,451.72,451.72,451.72,451.7
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 FY16 budget
e - estimated by

Data Sources for 2015:
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1

Data Sources for 2020:
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 2015-2020

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

> Federal Budget FY18

> data update schedule.

Data Sources for 2015_2020:

Sources for 2015:

GDP, GO: GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances
'Guesstimated' by projecting the latest change in reported spending forward to future years

Sources for 2020:

GDP, GO: GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances
'Guesstimated' by projecting the latest change in reported spending forward to future years

> data sources for other years
> data update schedule.

Agency Debt Update for 2017

On March 15, 2018, has updated its data for agency debt from the Federal Reserve Board database. Data is now available for the period 1945-2017. You can see our Agency Debt page here, and a comparison with the official "on-the-books" debt here.

For the period 2018 to 2023 has "guesstimated" the agency debt, assuming that it increases at the same rate as it did in 2016 to 2017.

See "Federal 'Agency Debt' Added" for explanation of  data derivation.

Data is downloaded from the FRB data download page for "Financial Accounts of the United States (Z.1)" as follows.
  1. Select a preformatted data package: "L.211 (A) Agency- and GSE-Backed Securities, n.s.a."
  2. Click: Format package.
  3. Select: 100 years.
  4. Click: Go to Download.
  5. Click: Download File.

Spend links

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