New Report: Louisiana Ranks 8th Highest Per Person Among States for Federal Funding

Posted by: Steve Spires

Louisiana ranked 8th highest in per capita funding received from the federal government last year, according to a new report from the Census Bureau. In FY2010, Louisiana’s state and local governments received $13.4 billion in grants from the federal government, totaling around $3,000 per person.  The U.S. average was $2,011 per person. This does not include any federal money or benefits that went directly to individuals or to other non-governmental entities, such as Social Security, Medicare benefits, college grants, contracts, or tax credits.

The report shows that federal aid supported programs vital to Louisiana, including health care, education, disaster recovery, and transportation (see table).

Federal payments for Louisiana’s Medicaid and LaCHIP programs made up the largest single source of federal funds for Louisiana at $5.5 billion, or over 40 percent of total funds received. Medicaid and LaCHIP provided health care to 1.3 Louisianans in 2010, primarily low-income children, pregnant women, the disabled and the elderly, at a cost to the state of only $1.1 billion.

The state also received $1.4 billion in grants in 2010 for education programs, including funding for Pell Grants, preparing students for college or careers, special education, and grants to improve teacher quality and turnaround failing schools.

Another major source of federal money for the state was the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Louisiana received $1.32 billion in the form of disaster relief money, more than any other state in 2010. In fact, the state received 30 percent of all federal disaster aid money last year as it continued to recover from last decade’s devastating hurricanes.


Federal Funds to Louisiana State and Local Governments For Selected Programs




As % Total

Medicaid and LaCHIP



Elementary, Secondary, & Post-Secondary Education Programs



FEMA (including all disaster relief money)



Transportation funding



Food and Nutrition programs (school lunches, food stamps, etc.)



Low rent housing assistance



TANF/FITAP (welfare)



Head Start (preschool education and development)



State unemployment insurance and workforce investment



Child care and development programs



Foster care and adoption assistance



Mental health and substance abuse programs



All other programs and funds




Total Federal Funds to State and Local Governments




The state also received over a billion dollars for transportation funding, $555 million for food and nutrition programs (including school lunches and food assistance), and  hundreds of millions more in funding for housing assistance, the Head Start program, unemployment insurance, child care and development, foster care assistance, and more.

The amount of federal funds distributed to the states in FY2010 was higher than in previous years due to extra assistance provided by Congress during the recession. Regardless, it is clear that federal money plays an important role in state budgets, especially for poorer states like Louisiana. Federal funds comprised approximately 47 percent of the entire state budget, supporting health care, education, and transportation programs that are critical to the Louisiana’s well-being and future development. Additionally, disaster relief money provides a crucial lifeline during times of emergency and helps with the arduous, years-long process of rebuilding.

If anything, these numbers should cause those who advocate for wholesale reductions in federal spending to consider the negative effects that major cuts would have on the states, particularly Louisiana. As the state continues to struggle with its own budget difficulties, the loss of federal funding would be devastating.

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