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Help for Select Levels

Overview

DQS allows you to view aggregate data by state for one of eight different levels of government, where data is available. State, all local, and all state and local government aggregate data are available for every state. Additionally, aggregate data are available for five types of local governments - county, municipal, township, special district, and school district. Not all types of local government exist in every state.


Notes for Use

Example: When "School District" is selected on this page, Property Tax revenues (or whichever variable is selected on the "Select Series" page) for all independent school districts are totaled and presented for the selected state(s).

Important: For inter-state comparisons, we highly recommend using the "State and Local" analysis level. The distribution of activity between state and local governments varies greatly from state to state: only the "State and Local" analysis level will fully capture government activity within a state. The "State and Local" series treats state and all local governments in a state as one observation; accordingly, transfers between state and local governments are not available at this level.

Additionally, we recommend combining the municipality and township level numbers for inter-state comparisons. Townships are only found in about half of all states. In addition, in some states school districts are dependent on a different level of government so school district revenues will be zero. See Hoo, Murray and Rueben (2006).


Data Availability

Finance data for some levels are not available for every year. These tables show which analysis levels are available for which years.

Availability of US Totals, by year and level
Years State and Local State Local Local Government Detail
2018 X X X  
2017 X X X X
2013-2016 X X X  
2012 X X X X
2008-2011 X X X  
2007 X X X X
2004-2006 X X X  
2003 X X X X
2002 X X X X
2001 X X X X
2000-1998 X X X  
1997 X X X X
1996-1993 X X X  
1992-1977 X X X X

Availability of State Totals, by year and level
Years State and Local State Local Local Government Detail
2018 X X X  
2017 X X X X
2013-2016 X X X  
2012 X X X X
2008-2011 X X X  
2007 X X X X
2004-2006 X X X  
2003   X    
2002 X X X X
2001   X    
2000-1998 X X X  
1997 X X X X
1996-1993 X X X  
1992-1977 X X X X

Note: Except for Census of Governments years (i.e., years ending in "2" and "7"), the local government statistics in this data are based in part on a sample of local governments. Therefore, they are subject to sampling variability. Estimates of statistical errors for 1993 and later years are available from the Census Bureau. For earlier years, contact the Census staff directly.

WARNING: FY 2003 and 2001 data for US Total of municipalities also includes townships.

Availability of Variables from Annual Survey of Public Pensions, by year and level
YearsState and LocalStateLocalLocal Government Detail
2018Pensions variables* discontinued, summary variables not affectedn/a
2017Pensions variables* discontinued, summary variables not affectedPension variables* and summary variables** missing
2016-1977Refer to tables above

Note: The Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances includes data on state and local public pensions drawn from the Annual Survey of Public Pensions (ASPP). Following changes to the methodology of the ASPP, pension-related variables in the State and Local Finance Data Tool have been discontinued for fiscal year 2017 and beyond.

*The following pension variables are no longer available for FY 2017 and beyond: R72, R73, E135, E136, D50, D51, D52, D53, and D54.

**The following summary variables calculated with the above mentioned pension variables are unavailable at detailed local government levels for FY 2017 and beyond: R1, R2, R70, R71, E1, E3, E4, E11, E134, D42, D48, and D49.

In order to match data published by the Census Bureau, these summary variables are obtained from Table 1, “State and Local Government Finances by Level of Government and by State,” for other government levels in FY 2017 and beyond.

All other data in the State and Local Finance Data Tool are tabulated using the State Type Public Use File (…statetypepu.txt)


Technical Notes

The Census Bureau provides definitions for the different local governments in its Individual State Descriptions: 2017 Census of Governments.

In addition to the Federal Government and the 50 state governments, the Census Bureau recognizes five basic types of local governments: county governments, municipal governments, township governments, special district governments, and school district governments.

Information on the definition of a government entity and types of governments is available in the Census Bureau's Government Units Survey, or can be found in the introduction and appendix of Individual State Descriptions: 2017.


Sources

  1. Government Finance and Employment Classification Manual, http://www2.census.gov/govs/pubs/classification/2006_classification_manual.pdf.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances and Census of Governments (1977-2020).
  3. Hoo, S., Murray, S., Rueben, K. "Education Spending and Changing Revenue Sources." Tax Notes. April 10, 2006. https://www.urban.org/research/publication/education-spending-and-changing-revenue-sources.
  4. Individual State Descriptions: 2017, https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2019/econ/2017isd.html.


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