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What is the Federal Government Revenue?

In FY 2016, federal government revenue was $3.27 trillion according to the Office of Management and Budget. Budgeted revenue for FY 2017 is $3.64 trillion.

Federal Revenue Analysis  

 

This page shows the current trends in US Federal revenue. There are also charts on US Federal revenue history.

Recent US Federal Revenue

Chart R.01f: Recent Federal Revenue

Chart R.02f: Recent Federal Revenue as Pct GDP

Federal Revenue was increasing strongly, year on year, in the mid 2000s from $2.1 trillion to $2.6 trillion in 2007. But federal revenues cratered in the Great Recession, down to a little over $2 trillion in 2009. In the subsequent recovery federal revenues increased slowly in 2010 thru 2012, but has increased more strongly since 2013.

Viewed from a GDP perspective, federal revenue was increasing steadily as a percent of GDP from 2005 to reach 18 percent in 2007. In the Great Recession federal revenues plunged down to 14.6 percent GDP in 2009 and then remained at about 15 percent GDP through 2012. Since then federal revenues have increased as a percent of GDP up to 18 percent of GDP in 2015.

US Federal Revenue Since 1900

Chart R.03f: Federal Revenue in 20th Century

Federal revenue began the 20th century at about 3 percent of GDP per year. It jerked above 13 percent as a result of World War I and then declined in the 1920s below 5 percent of GDP in the 1920s. Federal revenue started to increase steadily in the 1930s reaching 7 to 8 percent of GDP just before World War II.

Federal revenue exploded during World War II to nearly 24 percent of GDP, and then declined to about 15 percent in the late 1940s.

In the Korean War of the early 1950s federal revenue increased to 20 percent of GDP. From the mid-1950s to the early 1990s federal revenues oscillated at about 17 to 18 percent.

In the 1990s federal revenue increased steadily to about 20 percent of GDP It collapsed to 16 percent of GDP in the recession of 2000-01 and 15 percent of GDP in the Great Recession of 2007-09.

US Federal Revenue since the Founding

Chart R.04f: Federal Revenue since the Founding


Federal revenue in the first half of the 19th century varied typically between 2 and 3 percent of GDP except in wartime. In the 1840s, after the national debt had been pretty well paid off, revenues declined to 2 percent of GDP. In the Civil War, federal revenue doubled to 7 percent of GDP.

After the Civil War revenue gradually declined to about 2.5 percent of GDP at the outbreak of World War I. Federal revenue in World War I peaked at 7 percent of GDP and declined below 5 percent in the 1920s. Federal revenue reached 7 percent of GDP in the 1930s before rocketing to 24 percent of GDP at the end of World War II. From the end of World War II to the mid 1990s federal revenue fluctuated between 17 and 18 percent of GDP, peaking at 20 percent of GDP in 2000. The Great Recession of 2007-09 caused a significant decline in revenue to 15 percent of GDP.

Top Revenue Requests:

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Revenue Data Sources

Revenue data is from official government sources.

Gross Domestic Product data comes from US Bureau of Economic Analysis and measuringworth.com.

Detailed table of revenue data sources here.

Federal revenue data begins in 1792.

State and local revenue data begins in 1890.

State and local revenue data for individual states begins in 1957.

Spending 101 Courses

Spending | Federal Debt | Revenue | Defense | Welfare | Healthcare | Education
Debt History | Entitlements | Deficits | State Spending | State Taxes | State Debt


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Next Data Update

> Federal Budget FY18

> data update schedule.

Data Sources for 2012_2021:

Sources for 2012:

GDP, GO: GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 2.1, 2.4, 2.5, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances
'Guesstimated' by projecting the latest change in reported revenue forward to future years

Sources for 2021:

GDP, GO: GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 2.1, 2.4, 2.5, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances
'Guesstimated' by projecting the latest change in reported revenue forward to future years

> data sources for other years
> data update schedule.

FY18 Budget Blueprint Released

On March 16, 2018 the Trump administration issued a Budget Blueprint outlining proposed changes to "discretionary" spending for Fiscal Year 2018. The following table shows the major changes to Budget Authority in excess of $2 billion per agency.

AgencyFY18 Change
in $ billion
Agriculture-4.7
Defense+52.4
Education-9.2
Health and
Human Services
-12.6
Homeland
Security
+2.8
HUD-6.2
Justice-4.0
Labor-2.5
State and Intl Aid-10.9
Veterans+4.4
EPA-2.6

Because usgovernmentspending spending data is based on Historical Table 3.2, it shows spending by function rather than by agency. Until Table 3.2 is published in the final version of the FY18 budget we cannot exactly predict how the Table 3.2 numbers will change at the subfunction level.

But we have applied the Budget Blueprint budget authority changes into the budgeted FY18 outlays by guessing the application of agency level changes to subfunction changes to give a rough feeling of what the Trump changes look like. You can check out what is going on here or here.

The numbers will change when the final FY18 federal budget numbers come out.

Tax links

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