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New Mexico
$3.69
West Virginia
$3.09
Mississippi
$2.60
Alaska
$2.41
Kentucky
$1.89
Hawaii
$1.83
Alabama
$1.80
Maine
$1.72
Arizona
$1.71
South Carolina
$1.71
Montana
$1.59
Oklahoma
$1.50
Vermont
$1.50
Virginia
$1.47
District of Columbia
$1.38
Louisiana
$1.25
Idaho
$1.23
Maryland
$1.23
North Dakota
$1.12
Wyoming
$1.11
Connecticut
$1.04
Oregon
$1.01
Indiana
$0.99
Michigan
$0.99
Iowa
$0.97
New Hampshire
$0.94
Pennsylvania
$0.92
Nevada
$0.90
North Carolina
$0.89
Kansas
$0.87
Georgia
$0.85
Missouri
$0.85
Wisconsin
$0.84
Colorado
$0.83
South Dakota
$0.83
Texas
$0.83
Utah
$0.79
Arkansas
$0.78
Tennessee
$0.78
Florida
$0.77
Rhode Island
$0.77
New York
$0.74
Minnesota
$0.69
California
$0.65
Nebraska
$0.64
Washington
$0.63
Ohio
$0.62
Illinois
$0.60
New Jersey
$0.56
Massachusetts
$0.54
Delaware
$0.32

Donor States 2024

Donor States 2024

Each state collects a myriad of taxes from its residents, but the ones residents of all states pay are federal income taxes. It makes sense then that states with more residents, specifically more high earners, will pay more to the collective in income taxes than they take, and because of this, we have “donor states.”

These states are the ones who give more federal funds than they receive per capita (or per person). The Tax Foundation says that “84 percent of federal individual income taxes—which account for over 40 percent of federal revenue—are paid by those in the top 25 percent of the income distribution. The majority of these taxpayers live in wealthy, urban, politically “blue” areas like New York, California, and Massachusetts.”

Before the pandemic, there were eight of these donor states, but after? There are none. To account for this change, we included both the 2019 and the 2020 Federal Fiscal Year data sets with each state's total receipts, expenditures, and balance of payments.

In this context, receipts are what the state government receives in federal funding, expenditures are what the state contributes in income taxes, and the balance of payment is the expenditures minus the receipts. Donor states have a negative balance of payments. It should be noted that the data used is from two years previous because these are very comprehensive figures that take a long time to compile, analyze, and interpret.

Donor States

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were eight U.S. states considered donor states. The main reason that these states see a negative balance is that those states have some of the highest household incomes in the country, paying more federal taxes. This, however, does not guarantee that they would receive more federal funding for things such as Medicaid and education.

In 2019, New York was the largest donor state in the U.S., with a negative balance of payments at $22,798,000,000. For every dollar New York gave the federal government, its residents were only receiving $0.91 back. As we mentioned, this discrepancy is due to the sheer volume of high earners within the state. Additionally, due to the cost of living in New York City, most of its residents earn over 14% more than the average American.

Seven other states are donor states:

States Receiving The Most Funding

Virginia is at the opposite end of the spectrum, with the highest positive balance of payments. Virginia’s balance of payments is $111,785,000,000, and residents receive $2.24 for every dollar sent to the federal government. One of the reasons that Virginia receives so much is the proximity to the District of Columbia, where there is a lot of federal spending to support federal projects, politicians, and military efforts.

Kentucky follows with $63,229,000,000 and the highest expenditure per dollar of receipts at $2.89.

It is worth noting that just because these states are receiving funding does not mean that that money is being spent on residents. You can find out who is spending the most per dollar received by rearranging the data based on “Expenditures per Dollar of Receipts.”

The ten states with the largest positive balance of payments (the biggest takers) are:

Post-Pandemic Donor States

Due to the severity and length of the pandemic, the 2020 FFY data does not reflect any existence of donor states. This is not likely to remain the case. As economies recover and government funding changes shape, we will see how this proceeds.

Upon analyzing the data for 2020, you can see a pattern of states with more residents (and therefore a higher number of COVID-19 cases) being bigger takers and states that have a smaller population, fewer cases, or less of a cultural focus on the pandemic being the ones that received less federal funding.

The states with the least balance of payments during the federal fiscal year of 2020 include

Within the 2020 FFY, the biggest takers (states with the largest balance of payments) include

Donor States 2024

  • Return on tax dollars indicates the amount of federal funding the state receives in return for each $1.00 in taxes the state sends to the government. States with a return of less than $1.00 (such as California at $0.65) pay more to the government than they receive and are considered donor states.
  • Overall Federal Dependency Score is computed by combining the scores for Return on Tax Dollars and the Percent (%) of State Revenue from Federal Funds and converting the result to a 100-point scale.
  • Balance of Payments is the difference between the amount of funding a state receives from the federal government and the amount that state pays to the federal government (typically in the form of taxes). States with a negative balance pay more in taxes than they receive in federal government funding and are considered donor states.
  • During 2020 and 2021, the need for additional federal funding during the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily turned many donor states into recipient states.

Download Table Data

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State
Return On Tax Dollars 2022
% State Revenue From Federal Funds 2022
Overall Dependency Score
Political Affiliation
Per Capita Balance Of Payments 2021
Per Capita Balance Of Payments 2021 Without COVID
New Mexico$3.6932.06%100Blue$15,772$10,880
West Virginia$3.0934.07%89.5Red$13,655$9,194
Mississippi$2.6032.41%75Red$13,621$7,989
Alaska$2.4133.9%73Red$18,423$12,255
Kentucky$1.8932.2%57.8Red$18,743$14,134
Hawaii$1.8319.19%34.2Blue$12,846$6,998
Alabama$1.8026.61%46.2Red$13,666$9,078
Maine$1.7228.27%47.2Blue$11,132$6,267
Arizona$1.7130.07%49.8Red$10,774$6,078
South Carolina$1.7122.71%37.4Red$10,700$6,203
Montana$1.5932.13%50.8Red$9,794$4,705
Oklahoma$1.5024.19%34.9Red$11,213$6,788
Vermont$1.5035.83%54.9Blue$11,262$5,040
Virginia$1.4718.93%25.1Blue$20,078$15,854
District of Columbia$1.3827.65%38.1Blue
Louisiana$1.2533.38%44.7Red$12,743$6,721
Idaho$1.2326.94%33.2Red$7,027$3,065
Maryland$1.2322.07%24.9Blue$14,253$9,150
North Dakota$1.1225.68%28.6Red$9,572$2,955
Wyoming$1.1131.87%38.8Red$6,836$543
Connecticut$1.0420%17Blue$921-$3,863
Oregon$1.0123.19%21.6Blue$7,735$2,848
Indiana$0.9926.39%26.6Red$8,354$3,615
Michigan$0.9925.06%24.4Blue$8,876$3,265
Iowa$0.9719.88%15.1Red$7,633$2,432
New Hampshire$0.9425.17%23.3Blue$3,575-$801
Pennsylvania$0.9224.14%21Blue$9,389$3,901
Nevada$0.9018.42%10.9Blue$7,438$1,209
North Carolina$0.8921.97%16.6Red$8,543$4,262
Kansas$0.8718.26%9.9Red$7,548$3,076
Georgia$0.8518.77%10.3Red$8,548$2,561
Missouri$0.8525.5%21.7Red$9,571$4,998
Wisconsin$0.8416.09%5.5Blue$6,686$2,215
Colorado$0.8315.93%5Blue$4,612$31
South Dakota$0.8332.97%34.3Red$8,645$2,429
Texas$0.8320.49%12.6Red$6,220$1,538
Utah$0.7916.08%4.3Red$3,075-$563
Arkansas$0.7828.17%24.8Red$10,530$5,847
Tennessee$0.7822.32%14.6Red$9,649$5,081
Florida$0.7720%10.6Red$7,463$2,296
Rhode Island$0.7729.75%27.2Blue$9,272$3,246
New York$0.7421.06%11.7Blue$5,802-$1,519
Minnesota$0.6919.68%8.1Blue$5,213$105
California$0.6517.8%3.8Blue$5,155-$996
Nebraska$0.6418.81%5.4Red$6,066$1,097
Washington$0.6316%0.4Blue$3,101-$1,569
Ohio$0.6220.95%8.6Red$9,201$4,129
Illinois$0.6018.08%3.2Blue$7,392$897
New Jersey$0.5616.79%0Blue$3,925-$1,738
Massachusetts$0.5421.39%7.4Blue$3,153-$2,459
Delaware$0.3229.24%15.6Blue$9,061$3,806
showing: 51 rows

Sources