Your Share of State and Local Government Debt


Wednesday March 9th, 2016   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 5:07pm PDT   •  

How much does your state or local government’s debt add to your personal share of government debt?

With so many different jurisdictions and debt-issuing governments, getting a precise answer to that can be extraordinarily difficult to determine, but thanks to the following map produced by the Tax Foundation, we can get you a somewhat reasonable estimate of how much extra debt you need to add to the results provided by the MyGovCost calculator to account for that additional share of all government debt issued within the U.S.

State-Local Debt per Capita-01

The Tax Foundation provides the following discussion of the five most indebted and least indebted states:

States with the highest amount of state and local debt per capita in the 2012 fiscal year (the most recent data available from the Census Bureau) were New York ($17,405 per person), Massachusetts ($14,517 per person), Alaska ($13,066 per person), Connecticut ($11,928 per person), and New Jersey ($11,623 per person).

On the other end of the spectrum, states with the lowest state and local debt per capita were Idaho ($3,930 per person), Wyoming ($4,191 per person), Arkansas ($4,742 per person), Mississippi ($4,891 per person), and Oklahoma ($4,944 per person).

The Tax Foundation cautions that the debt per capita figures shown in the map above are based upon the total amount of money that was borrowed through bonds issued by each state government and all local governments within each state, which was then divided by each state’s population to arrive at the per capita figures. These figures do not include other kinds of liabilities, such as pensions for state and local government employees, which would considerably inflate the indicated figures.

Featured Image:
Tax Foundation



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