A look at the states may better illustrate how the census matters. Here’s one part of that analysis: The largest state program that relies on federal census statistics is Medicaid, the program for individuals who are not covered by private health-insurance programs and have low incomes. Medicaid represents about 58 percent of the federal census-driven dollars.
However, it’s not just a large population that matters for Medicaid. Instead, each state determines income-level eligibility, plus what health issues will be covered. What this means is that California, America’s most populous state, ranks 20th in terms of per capita federal spending based on census numbers. Vermont, meanwhile, has a generous Medicaid program, meaning that the rural state ranks second.
But it’s not just Medicaid that matters. In 2008, at least two states – Louisiana and Mississippi – received extra funding as a result of hurricane Katrina, which took place in 2005. These states received a larger share of housing, community, and redevelopment funds, which are normally census-based.
Here are the top 10 states in Reamer’s per capita analysis (although you’ll see that the ranking of states also includes the nation’s capital):
1. The District of Columbia. The District, Reamer says, has a generous Medicaid program to help it treat a population that has a large number of very poor residents. The city gets reimbursed by the federal government for 70 percent of its Medicaid expenditures. That figure is one of the highest in the United States.