Analysis: Red States Use More Welfare Than Blue States

| by Ray Brown
A small town in MississippiA small town in Mississippi

Red states, the states that voted against President Barack Obama in the last two elections, use more federal aid than blue states, the states that voted for him, according to analysis by The Hill of data from Pew Charitable Trusts.

Out of the 23 states that voted against Obama, the average percentage of their budget that came from the federal government was 33.8 percent. Of the 27 states that voted for Obama, the average was 29.9 percent.

Overall, the average is 30.8 percent, the lowest since the 2008 recession, reported The Hill.

“During recessionary periods, the federal share [of state budgets] tends to rise because state revenue drops, and there’s sometimes federal stimulus money,” said Anne Stauffer, director of the fiscal federalism project at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The Deep South states typically vote for Republicans and have the highest rates of poverty in the country, which requires more federal aid to be sent there.

In Mississippi, the poorest state in the country, the poverty rate is 21.5 percent, according to Voice of America. And Pew found that more than 40 percent of the state's budget came from federal assistance.

Louisiana, the seventh-poorest state in the country, also relies on the federal government to pay more than 40 percent of its budget, and 1 in 5 people, 19.8 percent, are in poverty.

Like most Southern states, Mississippi and Louisiana both have low state income and property taxes. But they also have a high percentage of residents receiving Medicaid, which is what two-thirds of federal grants pay for, according to The Hill.

Some states with high taxes, like California and New Jersey, tend to be able to pay for their own programs and needs with less help from the federal government. California's state budget share paid for by the feds is 26 percent and New Jersey's is 27.3 percent, both well below the average.

The only red states that received less than the average percentage of federal aid were Utah (28.1 percent), North Dakota (16.8 percent) and Kansas (25.5 percent).

Sources: The Hill, Pew ResearchVoice of America / Photo credit: Magnolia677/Wikipedia

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