States receiving the most federal funds

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October 31, 2020
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States receiving the most federal funds

The federal procurement process for the 50 states and the District of Columbia is a $3.2 trillion business. More than half of this is funding for social services like Medicare and Medicaid payments, federal hospital insurance, educational funding, and obligatory payments under spending bills such as the Affordable Care Act. Federal procurement also goes to non-government contractors to provide infrastructure support, back research efforts, build equipment and commodities, and offer needed services.

While the federal procurement process is often controversial and politicized, it's also a significant part of the nation's gross domestic product. Understanding how the federal government spends this money is a key part of understanding its priorities and motivations.

Stacker has looked at data provided by the federal government's USA Spending website to rank states in order of which receive the most federal funds per capita. The data is accurate as of Oct. 19, 2020; for this list, we will be focusing solely on the 2018 calendar year. Keep reading to learn which state has the most procurements and see where your state sits on the list.

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#51. Utah

- Federal contracts per capita: $5,551
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $17.8 billion (0.5% of contracts to all states)

Being mostly desert, the state of Utah is large and significantly empty, especially in the southern half. Approximately half of all the money that goes to the state comes in the form of Social Security benefits, medical assistance, and veterans' compensation—which is one of the lowest percentages in the nation. The largest private contractor in the state receiving federal money is L3 Technologies, an aerospace contractor that builds airport screening equipment, explosive detection systems, aviation trainers, holographic weapon sights, and imaging systems.

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#50. Nevada

- Federal contracts per capita: $7,104
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $21.9 billion (0.6% of contracts to all states)

A sparsely populated desert state, much of Nevada consists of federally owned land. Like Illinois, more than 61% of the state's federal awards go to social programs. Electronics systems integrator Sierra Nevada Corporation, Mission Support and Test Services, and JT4 are top grant recipients in the state.

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#49. Kansas

- Federal contracts per capita: $7,153
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $20.8 billion (0.6% of contracts to all states)

Kansas had more than half of its federally received money go to social programs, including Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and veterans' compensation. But $362 million (approximately 2%) of the state's 2018 received funds went to Cerner Government Services, which provides solutions to convert paper processes to digital formats in the health care industry.

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#48. Georgia

- Federal contracts per capita: $7,303
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $77.5 billion (2.1% of contracts to all states)

Georgia is primarily a rural state that's punctuated by its major cities. Like Utah, more than half of all federally awarded monies to the state go to social programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, community health programs, the state's Department of Education, and veterans' compensation. The largest private contractor in the state is Lockheed Martin, which focuses on aviation, avionics, and security systems.

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#47. North Carolina

- Federal contracts per capita: $7,409
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $77.7 billion (2.1% of contracts to all states)

North Carolina is increasingly emerging as a research-driven state, with significant growth in the Piedmont region. Top private grant recipients include H-Squared, McKesson Corporation, and Brasfield & Gorrie. However, more than 64% of all federal funding in 2018 was used toward social programs.

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#46. Illinois

- Federal contracts per capita: $7,417
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $94.0 billion (2.6% of contracts to all states)

Illinois received 791,615 prime awards (agreements between the U.S. government and non-federal entities to carry out federal programs) in 2018, at an average award amount of $105,480.57. Due to the state's high population, more than 55% of all federal awards went to social services. The top grants to private or commercial entities went to UChicago Argonne—which manages the Argonne National Laboratory and develops commercial opportunities for the University of Chicago—and the Fermi Research Alliance. Northrop Grumman and BP Products North America were also top grant recipients.

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#45. New Jersey

- Federal contracts per capita: $7,622
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $67.7 billion (1.9% of contracts to all states)

New Jersey is a highly populous state that exists almost entirely on the I-95 corridor from Boston to Washington D.C. About 65% of its federally received monies went to social service providers; funds that were not awarded to state government or individual recipients include $1.43 billion to Lockheed Martin and $593.66 million to the Harris Corporation.

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#44. Colorado

- Federal contracts per capita: $7,667
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $44.2 billion (1.2% of contracts to all states)

At about 50%, Colorado's social service share of its 2018 federal funding is on the low side. A major space and aeronautics industries state, it is not surprising that one of the state's largest federal contractors for 2018 was NASA at $1.36 billion. Top private-contract recipients include Lockheed Martin, United Launch Services, the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, and the Raytheon Company.

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#43. Ohio

- Federal contracts per capita: $7,812
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $91.3 billion (2.5% of contracts to all states)

Similar to its neighbor Pennsylvania, Ohio is a former industrial state that is struggling to redefine itself during the current deindustrialization of the nation—in turn, the state has 64% of its federal payments going to social services. The largest private recipients are General Electric, Fluor-Bwxt Portsmouth, and CFM International.

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#42. Iowa

- Federal contracts per capita: $7,840
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $24.7 billion (0.7% of contracts to all states)

Iowa is a breadbasket state that is slowly working to diversify its industrial base. Among the commercial enterprises the state has supported in 2018 were aerospace firm Rockwell Collins, information management equipment manufacturer Data Link Solutions, and military ammunition provider American Ordinance.

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#41. Texas

- Federal contracts per capita: $8,096
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $234.7 billion (6.4% of contracts to all states)

At $193.3 billion received in 2018, only California and Pennsylvania received more from the federal government than Texas. The state's low ranking is misleading, due to the state having the second-highest population in the nation. With about 50% of funding going to social services, the top private recipient is Lockheed Martin.

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#40. New Hampshire

- Federal contracts per capita: $8,221
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $11.2 billion (0.3% of contracts to all states)

Nearly 60% of the federal monies New Hampshire received in 2018 went to social services programs. Of the monies that did not go to non-government contractors, the largest recipients were BAE Systems and Red River Technology. The state received private contracts for guided missile and space vehicle manufacturing, aircraft part manufacturing, lens manufacturing, and search-and-detect instruments manufacturing.

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#39. Delaware

- Federal contracts per capita: $8,241
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $8.0 billion (0.2% of contracts to all states)

Delaware is one of the nation's smallest and most densely populated states, and has received less funding from the federal government than any other states besides Vermont and Wyoming. With more than 67% of the state's federal funding going to social programs, the largest private recipients of federal money in the state are student loan provider Navient Corporation, who received $78.2 million, and Dobco, Inc. which received $47.96 million.

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#38. Washington

- Federal contracts per capita: $8,344
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $63.5 billion (1.7% of contracts to all states)

Until 2001, Washington State was the home of Boeing's headquarters; despite the move, many of the company's legacy manufacturing facilities remain in the state. In turn, 12.31% of the state's federal contracts—$7.63 billion—went to the Boeing Company.

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#37. Arkansas

- Federal contracts per capita: $8,351
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $25.2 billion (0.7% of contracts to all states)

Nearly 68% of Arkansas's federal allocation went to social services. Of the portion that did not, the largest uses of 2018 federal monies were computer system design, guided missiles and space vehicle propulsion unit manufacturing, and collection agencies.

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#36. Oklahoma

- Federal contracts per capita: $8,374
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $33.1 billion (0.9% of contracts to all states)

Oklahoma has more than 53% of its federal monies going to social services. As for the remainder, most of it went to aviation. $567 million went to aircraft manufacturing, while $503 million went to aircraft parts manufacturing. The largest private recipient, at $641.6 million, was the Boeing Company.

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#35. Idaho

- Federal contracts per capita: $8,483
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $15.2 billion (0.4% of contracts to all states)

Idaho received about $12.8 billion from the federal government in 2018, with 51% of which going to social services. Top private contractors include Battelle Energy Alliance, Fluor Idaho, and Sunshine Minting. Most of Idaho's non-governmental funding went for remediation services, nonferrous metal refinement, and petroleum refinement.

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#34. Wyoming

- Federal contracts per capita: $8,680
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $5.0 billion (0.1% of contracts to all states)

At $4.4 billion, Wyoming received the least amount of federal monies in 2018. With about 55% of the funding going to social services, the remainder went to infrastructure, particularly commercial and industrial building development and highway development. The largest private contractor in the state is Fluor Federal Services, which handles nuclear contamination cleanup and remediation.

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#33. Louisiana

- Federal contracts per capita: $8,801
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $40.9 billion (1.1% of contracts to all states)

Largely a low-income state, Louisiana has more than 60% of its federal monies going toward social services. Of the nongovernment-allocated monies, ship and boat building, facilities support, and engineering services were top uses. The largest private contractors in 2018 were Bollinger Shipyards Lockport, Textron Inc., Fluor Federal Petroleum Operations, and Weeks Marine.

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#32. California

- Federal contracts per capita: $8,818
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $348.4 billion (9.5% of contracts to all states)

As the most populous state in the nation, California is the largest recipient of federal money. Its per capita ranking can be misleading—the Golden State received approximately $80 billion more in 2018 than the #2 state, Pennsylvania. More than 52% of the federal monies received last year went to social programs; the largest private federal contracts went to McKesson Corporation at $3.8 billion, HealthNet Federal Services at $3.16 billion, and Lockheed Martin at $2.19 billion.

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#31. Michigan

- Federal contracts per capita: $8,903
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $88.9 billion (2.4% of contracts to all states)

Michigan—particularly, the Detroit area—is heavily industrial, so it's not surprising that the state received $3 billion for military armored vehicles and tanks construction, nearly a billion dollars for automotive manufacturing, and $268 million for engineering services.

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#30. Oregon

- Federal contracts per capita: $9,076
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $38.3 billion (1.1% of contracts to all states)

Oregon has approximately 60% of its 2018 federal monies going to social services. Funds allocated for non-government contracts mainly went to forestry support, shipbuilding, commercial and industrial building construction, and petroleum refinement. The top recipients include Vigor Marine, Epic Aviation, and Action Financial.

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#29. Nebraska

- Federal contracts per capita: $9,208
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $17.8 billion (0.5% of contracts to all states)

Nebraska is another breadbasket state looking to diversify its industrial base. At just over 55%, its allocation of federal monies to social services is on par with its neighbors but low for the Midwest. Non-government monies went for computer system design, engineering services, consulting services, and commercial and industrial building construction.

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#28. Hawaii

- Federal contracts per capita: $9,485
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $13.4 billion (0.4% of contracts to all states)

Most of Hawaii's federal funding was focused on just one county—Honolulu, with 62.03%. About 48% of the monies allocated to Hawaii went for social service; non-government uses included commercial and industrial building construction, engineering services, shipbuilding, and highway and street building.

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#27. West Virginia

- Federal contracts per capita: $9,599
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $17.2 billion (0.5% of contracts to all states)

West Virginia in 2018 received slightly less than it did in 2017, with about 65% of the state's allocation going to social services. The state's largest non-government contractors in 2018 were defense contractor Leidos, national security contractor ManTech International, IT systems integrators HMS Technologies and KeyLogic Systems, and facility manager US&S.

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#26. Vermont

- Federal contracts per capita: $9,749
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $6.1 billion (0.2% of contracts to all states)

The state with the lowest total federal obligated allocations in 2018 was Vermont. 3.44% of the state's contracts went to ammunition manufacturing, while 1% went to commercial and industrial building construction. The state also received $220.66 million for highway construction.

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#25. Florida

- Federal contracts per capita: $9,766
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $209.7 billion (5.8% of contracts to all states)

Florida has the fourth-largest amount of federal allocations in 2018, ahead of New York, but behind Texas. The state allocates about 62% of its federal funds to social services programs. Of the monies not allocated to government services, $2.04 billion went to guided missiles and space vehicle manufacturing, $1.56 billion went to engineering services, and $1.18 billion went to aircraft manufacturing.

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#24. New York

- Federal contracts per capita: $9,793
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $190.5 billion (5.2% of contracts to all states)

At $173 billion, New York had the fifth-highest federal government monies allocation in 2018. This is the highest amount obligated in 10 years. 58.75% of the federal allocations went to social services, including 2.8% that went specifically to allocations under the Affordable Care Act. The largest non-government contractors include Brookhaven Science Associates, Harris Corporation, and Lockheed Martin.

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#23. Alabama

- Federal contracts per capita: $9,856
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $48.3 billion (1.3% of contracts to all states)

With low personal incomes and weak educational attainment, Alabama has less than 50% of its federal allocation going to social services. The state's largest non-government contractor is Boeing, at $2.08 billion.

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#22. Mississippi

- Federal contracts per capita: $9,881
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $29.4 billion (0.8% of contracts to all states)

Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the country by both personal income per capita and standard of living. Despite this, only 50% of the federal allocation for the state went to social services. The state's largest federal contract industry in 2018 was shipbuilding, with $5.06 billion obligated.

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#21. South Dakota

- Federal contracts per capita: $9,962
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $8.8 billion (0.2% of contracts to all states)

At about 44%, South Dakota has one of the smallest allocations of federal funds to social programs. In fact, the money South Dakota spent on highway planning exceeded the amount spent on Social Security or veterans' compensation. This may be in part due to the state using promises of road infrastructure development to bring in new industry.

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#20. Montana

- Federal contracts per capita: $9,983
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $10.7 billion (0.3% of contracts to all states)

Montana is a large and sparsely populated state. 4.75% of the state's allocated federal funds—$424.7 million—went to highway construction. The state has more than 55% of its federal monies dedicated to social services, with the remainder going to industrial and commercial building construction, forestry support, and non-scheduled air flights.

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#19. Rhode Island

- Federal contracts per capita: $10,032
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $10.6 billion (0.3% of contracts to all states)

About 60% of Rhode Island's federal allocations went to social services, with 44.77% of all monies going to Providence County. The largest non-government contractors in the state include Raytheon Company, Systems Engineering Associates Corporation, BAE Systems, and McLaughlin Research Corporation.

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#18. Missouri

- Federal contracts per capita: $10,062
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $61.8 billion (1.7% of contracts to all states)

Boeing is a major producer in Missouri, with the company establishing a major construction facility near St. Louis. In 2018, the St. Louis plant won a $9.2 billion contract to build the Air Force's new training jet—hence, the state's largest private contract in 2018 was $5.18 billion to Boeing.

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#17. Massachusetts

- Federal contracts per capita: $10,614
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $73.2 billion (2.0% of contracts to all states)

Massachusetts is a highly affluent state with a well-defined research and advanced technology core. Less than 50% of its federal allocation went to social services in 2018. The largest contractors in the state include the Raytheon Company and General Electric.

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#16. Maine

- Federal contracts per capita: $10,632
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $14.3 billion (0.4% of contracts to all states)

In 2018, Maine was obligated about a billion dollars less than it did in 2017. The state allocated about 53% of its federal allocation to social service; its largest non-government contract in 2018 was to Bath Iron Works Corporation, followed by Martin's Point Health Care.

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#15. Arizona

- Federal contracts per capita: $12,194
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $88.8 billion (2.4% of contracts to all states)

Since 58% of Arizona's federal monies go to social services, the state has a larger non-private allocation than other states. $2.84 billion of the state's non-government contracts went to guided missile and space vehicle manufacturing, with $2.54 billion going to aircraft manufacturing and $2.37 billion going to physicians' offices.

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#14. Maryland

- Federal contracts per capita: $12,811
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $77.5 billion (2.1% of contracts to all states)

In 2018, Maryland reached a 10-year high for federal contract obligations. At less than 40%, the state has one of the lowest percentages of federal monies to social services on the list—however, it received $7.62 billion for its Department of Health. Lockheed Martin was the state's largest private contractor.

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#13. Tennessee

- Federal contracts per capita: $12,893
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $88.1 billion (2.4% of contracts to all states)

Tennessee is the home of several high-profile federal research facilities, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Despite this, over 72%—one of the highest percentages on this list—of the state's federal monies go to social services. Among the uses of the state's non-government contracts in 2018 were nuclear remediation, nonscheduled chartered air travel, and facilities support.

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#12. Virginia

- Federal contracts per capita: $13,167
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $112.4 billion (3.1% of contracts to all states)

Virginia benefits from its proximity to Washington D.C. with one of the highest concentrations of military and government facilities of any state. Most of the state's contract allocations were granted in the D.C. metropolitan area in 2018, and less than 35% of the state's allocations went to social services. The state's largest private contractors included Huntington Ingalls Inc., Atlantic Diving Supply, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

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#11. New Mexico

- Federal contracts per capita: $13,851
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $29.0 billion (0.8% of contracts to all states)

Like Tennessee, New Mexico has a significant federal research presence: Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory are both located in the state. But unlike Tennessee, the state only has about 42% of its federal funds allocated to social services. The largest contract use in the state was facilities support, at 28.06% of the state's total contracts, or $7.33 billion.

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#10. Alaska

- Federal contracts per capita: $16,196
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $11.8 billion (0.3% of contracts to all states)

Alaska is the largest state by area, yet one of the smallest by population. Approximately 40% of the state's federal allocations went to social services in 2018. Slightly more than 8% or $746 million went to self-governance compacts for the state's Native American tribes. Of the contract monies that did not go to government agencies, the most funds went to commercial and industrial building projects, facilities support, power and communication lines construction, and petroleum refinery operations.

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#9. Pennsylvania

- Federal contracts per capita: $17,360
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $222.2 billion (6.1% of contracts to all states)

Pennsylvania is another state with a large social service allocation, with approximately 76% of its federal allocations going toward public health and benefits programs. The largest non-government contractor in 2018 for Pennsylvania was Fluor Marine Propulsion, followed by Bechtel Plant Machinery.

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#8. Wisconsin

- Federal contracts per capita: $17,856
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $104.0 billion (2.9% of contracts to all states)

Over 80% of Wisconsin's 2018 monies went to social services, including 30.55% ($27.72 billion) going to Medicare hospital insurance. The largest private contract recipient in the state was Oshkosh Defense.

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#7. South Carolina

- Federal contracts per capita: $22,229
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $114.5 billion (3.1% of contracts to all states)

At over 83%, South Carolina has the largest allocation of federal monies to social services in the South. Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, a nuclear power plant operator, is the state's largest non-government federal contractor.

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#6. Minnesota

- Federal contracts per capita: $22,281
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $125.7 billion (3.4% of contracts to all states)

Minnesota is enjoying significant job growth, particularly in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Over 84% of the state's federal allocation went to social programs in 2018. While Minnesota is known for electronics and chemical manufacturing (home of 3M), as well as food manufacturing (home of General Mills), the largest use of the state's non-government contracts went to ammunition and small arms manufacturing.

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#5. Indiana

- Federal contracts per capita: $23,226
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $156.4 billion (4.3% of contracts to all states)

Indiana, once a breadbasket state, has since emerged as one of the nation's most densely industrial states. Although 86% of the state's federal allocation going to social services, the state also has a notable amount of federal contract spending. The state's largest non-government contractor in 2018 was the Rolls-Royce Corporation.

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#4. Kentucky

- Federal contracts per capita: $23,506
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $105.0 billion (2.9% of contracts to all states)

The state of Kentucky faced a scandal in 2019 surrounding the state's federal allocation. Politico reported that U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has allegedly designated a staffer specifically to direct federal grants for transportation projects to the state, which is represented by her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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#3. Connecticut

- Federal contracts per capita: $24,020
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $85.6 billion (2.4% of contracts to all states)

Connecticut has one of the highest per capita incomes in the nation, but it also has the second-highest rate of wealth disparity—the state allocated over 72% of its federal funding to social programs. Of its non-government contracts, shipbuilding represents the largest number of contracts, followed by aircraft manufacturing, aircraft parts manufacturing, and engineering services.

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#2. Washington D.C.

- Federal contracts per capita: $52,987
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $37.4 billion (1.0% of contracts to all states)

The nation's capital, which by constitutional decree is under the jurisdiction of Congress, has one of the highest rates of government contracts. Besides the district's high concentration of military and government facilities, many contractors set up shop in or near D.C. to make it easier to lobby and gain access to decision-makers. The top agencies receiving funding are the Government of the District of Columbia and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation—also known as Amtrak.

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#1. North Dakota

- Federal contracts per capita: $106,337
- Federal contracts in last 12 months: $81.0 billion (2.2% of contracts to all states)

North Dakota has emerged as the leader of the shale oil extraction movement, which redefined the energy fate of the nation. Sparsely populated, the state's 2018 federal allocations is 17 times its 2014 allocation. This may be fueled by its increase in workforce, as more than 96% of the federal allocation—the most of any state—went to social services such as Medicare Supplementary Medical Insurance, which accounts for more than half of the state's federal monies.

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