20 U.S. States Relying Heavily on Federal Aid

Several US states depend on the federal government for financial support. These dependencies stem from various factors, such as economic structure and military presence. This exploration delves into the 20 U.S. states that heavily lean on federal support.

This list reflects WalletHub’s analysis of the 50 states’ dependency on the federal government. Their evaluation considered three key factors: how much return residents get on their federal taxes, the proportion of jobs stemming from the federal government, and the share of state revenue derived from federal funding.


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Alaska’s vast landscapes need a lot of federal support for basic services. The state benefits from money for military bases and conservation efforts. Many remote communities rely on federal funding for survival. These investments also support Alaska’s unique environmental and energy projects.

  • Total federal dependence score: 89.52

New Mexico

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New Mexico hosts pivotal national labs and military bases, bringing in federal dollars. The state has high poverty rates, increasing its reliance on government aid. The center also has lands in the state that contribute to New Mexico’s economy and identity. Education and healthcare programs also receive significant federal funding.

  • Total federal dependence score: 76.70


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Kentucky’s economy gets a boost from national funds for healthcare and military bases. The state’s transition from coal to other energy forms requires government aid. Federal dollars help support rural communities and infrastructure projects. Government programs play a crucial role in fighting poverty in Kentucky.

  • Total federal dependence score: 71.28

West Virginia

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West Virginia’s struggle with poverty makes federal support crucial. The decline of the coal industry has led to increased government aid. Federal funds support healthcare, education, and economic development projects. Natural beauty and conservation efforts also use central investments.

  • Total federal dependence score: 64.82


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Mississippi has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation, which means it needs more federal aid. Federal help is vital for healthcare, education, and disaster relief. The center also funds the state’s agriculture sector.

  • Total federal dependence score: 63.39

North Dakota

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North Dakota’s energy and agriculture sectors receive important support from the center. These investments help maintain infrastructure and provide basic services. The state’s economic stability requires central government funding. Government lands in North Dakota are crucial for energy projects and conservation.

  • Total federal dependence score: 61.64


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Louisiana relies on central aid for disaster preparedness and recovery. The state’s energy and maritime industries also use government funds. Healthcare and education in Louisiana receive significant federal support. Federal funds are essential for coastal conservation and restoration projects.

  • Total federal dependence score: 56.83


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Montana’s large federal lands need significant government funding for management. It also requires funding for the state’s agriculture and energy sectors. Conservation and outdoor recreation in Montana use federal investments. Infrastructure and basic services in rural areas depend on federal aid.

  • Total federal dependence score: 56.66

South Carolina

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South Carolina’s military bases attract considerable federal funding. Federal dollars support healthcare, education, and infrastructure in the state. The state benefits from federal aid for disaster preparedness and response. Federal investments also support South Carolina’s agriculture and tourism sectors.

  • Total federal dependence score: 54.88


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Arizona’s border location increases its reliance on federal funding for security. Healthcare and education in the state enjoy substantial federal support. Federal lands in Arizona receive funding for conservation and recreation. The state’s economy needs federal investments in technology and defense.

  • Total federal dependence score: 54.08


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Indiana receives federal funds to support its healthcare and education systems. Federal dollars also help build infrastructure and stimulate economic growth. The state’s agriculture sector benefits from federal help, and defense contracts and military bases add to Indiana’s economic stability.

  • Total federal dependence score: 49.59


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Alabama’s defense and aerospace industries attract federal investments. Federal funds are crucial for healthcare, education, and infrastructure development. The state benefits from federal aid following natural disasters. Federal support also helps maintain Alabama’s rich cultural and historical sites.

  • Total federal dependence score: 47.51


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Maine’s aging population increases its reliance on federal healthcare funding. The state’s fishing and forestry sectors receive federal support. Infrastructure in rural Maine depends on federal investments. Maine’s beautiful natural areas need government funds for conservation.

  • Total federal dependence score: 46.93

Rhode Island

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Federal funds benefit Rhode Island’s healthcare and education, support infrastructure projects and economic development, and provide significant funding to the state’s defense industry. Federal programs also help protect the State’s coastal and environmental resources.

  • Total federal dependence score: 46.53


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Wyoming’s energy sector benefits from federal support and investment. Federal lands in the state receive funding for management and conservation. Healthcare and social services in Wyoming rely on federal aid. Infrastructure projects, crucial for the state’s growth, depend on federal funding.

  • Total federal dependence score: 44.94


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Maryland’s economy uses federal spending on defense and research. Healthcare and education in Maryland enjoy significant federal investments. The state’s infrastructure projects receive federal support. Federal agencies located in Maryland contribute to its economic stability.

  • Total federal dependence score: 42.01


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Hawaii’s strategic location attracts federal defense spending. Tourism, the state’s main industry, benefits from federal conservation efforts. Federal funds support healthcare and social services in Hawaii. Infrastructure development, especially in remote areas, relies on federal aid.

  • Total federal dependence score: 37.32


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Pennsylvania’s healthcare and aging population need federal support. The state’s education system benefits from federal funding. Federal dollars help maintain Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and stimulate economic growth. The agriculture and energy sectors in Pennsylvania receive important federal help.

  • Total federal dependence score: 36.95


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Tennessee’s economy benefits from federal funds for healthcare and education. Infrastructure projects across the state rely on federal investments. Federal aid supports the state’s agriculture and disaster relief efforts. Military bases and defense contracts add to Tennessee’s federal funding.

  • Total federal dependence score: 35.12


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Georgia’s military bases contribute to its high federal funding levels. Healthcare and education systems in Georgia enjoy federal aid. Federal investments support infrastructure and economic development projects. The state also receives federal help for agriculture and disaster preparedness.

  • Total federal dependence score: 34.11
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