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How states rank: Federal spending driven by census data

The distribution of more than $400 billion in federal spending is determined by census data. An analysis released Tuesday looks at which states get the most money per capita.

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But it’s not just Medicaid that matters. In 2008, at least two states – Louisiana and Mississippi – received extra funding as a result of hurricane Katrina, which took place in 2005. These states received a larger share of housing, community, and redevelopment funds, which are normally census-based.

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Here are the top 10 states in Reamer’s per capita analysis (although you’ll see that the ranking of states also includes the nation’s capital):

1. The District of Columbia. The District, Reamer says, has a generous Medicaid program to help it treat a population that has a large number of very poor residents. The city gets reimbursed by the federal government for 70 percent of its Medicaid expenditures. That figure is one of the highest in the United States.

2. Vermont. The state also has a generous Medicaid program, as well as children’s healthcare coverage. While the US on average spends 60.9 percent of census-driven federal dollars on healthcare, Vermont spends 67.5 percent.

3. Alaska. The state received $1.8 billion total – with $380 million, or 20 percent, going toward highways. That is three times the national average. “There are few people [in the state], and it takes a lot of expenditures to serve a few people,” Reamer says.

4 and 5. New York and Massachusetts. Both have generous Medicaid programs, and New York has a large poor population.

6. Louisiana. It received a disproportionate share of community and redevelopment funds as part of its post-Katrina recovery.

7. Tennessee. Because it has a large poor population, it received one of the highest percentages of Medicaid reimbursement.

8. Maine. The state has one of the most generous Medicaid programs in terms of eligibility. A Maine resident that is within 206 percent of the federal poverty level is eligible for Medicaid. The national average is 63 percent of the federal poverty level.

9. New Mexico. It has a high number of poor people, so it receives a high Medicaid reimbursement rate.

10. Mississippi. The state has a large poor population and received a high proportion of federal dollars for housing, reflecting Katrina recovery.

$400 billion in federal spending is determined by census data. Keep up to speed on all things census by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

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