Governments at the federal, state, and local levels contribute to the nation's economy when they provide services to the public and when they invest in capital. They also provide social benefits, such as Social Security and Medicare, to households.
Data about governments' receipts, spending, and assets are used to assess the fiscal health of different levels of government, see trends over time, and analyze the effects of government activities on the economy.
Government consumption expenditures include spending by governments to produce and provide services to the public, such as national defense and education. Government gross investment consists of spending on fixed assets that directly benefit the public, such as highway construction, or that assist government agencies in doing their jobs, such as military hardware. Consumption expenditures and gross investment are the measures of government spending included in calculations of gross domestic product, or GDP.
Government current expenditures include consumption expenditures, plus spending on social benefits and other transfers, interest payments, and subsidies to businesses.
Government current receipts include revenues from taxes, employer and employee contributions to government social insurance; transfers, such as fines; and various types of income, such as rent or royalties.
Additional government data are found in BEA's fixed asset statistics. Governments' fixed assets include buildings, roads, vehicles, computers and software, and other assets that they use for at least a year. In addition to investment, the data include governments' net stock of fixed assets, depreciation, and average age.
What can you do with government statistics?
Answer questions like:
- How does government activity at the federal, state, and local levels affect the economy?
- How much are governments spending to provide social benefits?
- How much are governments borrowing or saving?
Where do you find government data?
Find the latest numbers and more info here:
Government Receipts and Expenditures
Tax receipts, spending, and other transactions data for state and local governments combined and for the U.S. government.
Found in Section 3 of the National Income and Product Account tables in BEA's Interactive Data.
Government Fixed Assets
Statistics on fixed assets, such as buildings, roads, computers, and research and development owned by the U.S. government, or by state and local governments combined.
Found in Section 7 of the Fixed Assets tables in BEA's Interactive Data.
More data and historical trends are available in BEA's Interactive Data tables for government receipts and expenditures (Section 3 of the GDP tables) and government fixed assets (Section 7 of the fixed assets tables).
- BEA seems to have several different measures of government spending. What are they for and what do they measure?
- A Primer on BEA’s Government Accounts
- For more about fixed assets, see the Investment in Fixed Assets learning center page.