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Data Definitions

We have coded the variables so that they appear in an order that roughly corresponds to the summary tables provided by Census. All variable names begin with a two- or three-digit code that starts with R, E, or D for Revenue, Expenditure, or Debt. The R, E, and D numbers are not official Census codes.

Census codes, where applicable, are in parentheses after the variable name. For example, for "(R06) Property Tax (T01)" "T01" is the official Census code. Either the variable name or the Census code can be used to look up the definition of the variable in the Classification Manual.

If a variable does not have a code in parenthesis after its name (e.g., "(R26) Total Income Taxes"), then it is a summary variable. Summary variables are composed of two or more individual variables. In this case, R26 is the sum of R27 (Individual Income Tax) and R28 (Corporate Income Tax) (or T40 and T41 under Census codes). For more information on summary methodology, see Methodology for Summary Tabulations: State and Local Government Finance

The following tables provide a guide to the variables. The tables can be used either as an index for finding variables by variable code or as an accounting guide to see which variables belong to which categories.

Revenue Variables

Expenditure Variables

Debt Variables

Data Availability

Not all variables are available or valid for every level and every state. For example, "(R34) Total State IG Revenue" and "(R35) Tot Local IG Rev" are not available at the "State and Local" level because that analysis level treats all state and local governments as one observation. The table on "Code Validity, by Level and Type of Government" in the Classification Manual conveys the availability of each functional code (the last two digits in Census code) for each level of government.

Individual variables that have historically been drawn from the Annual Survey of Public Pensions (ASPP) have been discontinued for FY 2017 and beyond, following changes in ASPP methodology. The technical appendix for this tool provides a detailed list of discontinued individual variables, as well as a list of summary variables affected by this discontinuity.

Technical Notes

These variables are the same as those found in the Census Bureau's State and Local Government Finances historical files, available at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/gov-finances/data/historical-data.html.

See the Classification Manual for more information.


  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. Individual State Descriptions: 2017, https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2019/econ/2017isd.html.