Study Shows West Virginia Receives Most Federal Aid

| by Paul Brown

A recent study from George Washington University shows that West Virginia receives more federal aid money per capita than any other state in the United States.

The average West Virginian receives a substantial 26.2 percent of his or her income in the form of federal government programs of various kinds. This is nearly 10% higher than the national average for income received from the federal government, which sits at a manageable 16.7 percent.

After West Virginia, the top four states in terms of federal aid received are Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky and Alabama. One cannot help but notice a regional trend developing in this list: each of these states is below the Mason Dixon line and east of Tornado Alley.

Rather ironically, each of these five states has been historically conservative, choosing to elect candidates that are generally opposed to federal aid. According to data collected by, each of these states has given its electoral votes to the Republican candidate in every election this century.

The majority of the federal aid received from these states comes in the forms of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP (formerly referred to as the Food Stamp program), unemployment insurance and so on.

The state that receives the least amount of money in the form of federal aid is North Dakota, with the average citizen there receiving only 11.8 percent of his or her income from the federal government.

Rounding out the top five states that receive the lowest amount of federal aid per capita are Wyoming, Colorado, Maryland and Virginia. All four of these states receive an average of 12.1 to 12.6 percent of their income from the federal government.

While not a state, it is worth noting that the average resident of Washington D.C. receives only 11.7 percent of his or her income from federal government programs.

Sources: PolicyMic, Stars and Stripes, George Washington University- Department of Health Policy