Data File: The Proximity Effect

It pays to be near the nation's capital.

The US Census Bureau reported this week that Virginia and Maryland ranked No. 2 and 3, just behind Alaska, among states in per capita federal spending for fiscal 2005.

According to the Census: "Per capita federal spending among states was highest in Alaska ($13,916), Virginia ($12,572), Maryland ($11,936), New Mexico ($10,698) and North Dakota ($10,413)."

(The report includes DC, but doesn't count it in the state rankings...as nation headquarters it just wouldn't be fair. DC had a whopping $65,040 in total per capita federal spending.)

The data include direct payments, grants, procurement awards, and salaries and wages by federal agencies and programs. The report does not include expenditures for selected intelligence agencies (which could boost the local totals even more), international payments, foreign aid and interest on the federal debt.

Not only does the region have an abundance of federal workers (and federal salaries), but the report shows billions also went to the multitude of federal contractors who have taken up residence around Washington.

"Defense Department spending totaled $374 billion in 2005, an 8 percent increase over 2004, and was highest in California, Virginia, Texas, Florida and Maryland," the bureau said.

In total dollars, the region trailed other big states. The bureau said five states - California, New York, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania - received one-third of all federal funds in 2005.

By Dan Beyers  |  October 10, 2007; 3:06 PM ET
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