Data Assistance

Meaningful Data at the Local, State, and National Levels

National Priorities Project makes information about the federal budget accessible to citizens, journalists, and developers. We have several unique resources that breakdown federal budget data into categories and datasets that are meaningful at the local, state, and national levels.

Please contact Becky Sweger, Director of Data and Technology, with questions about how to use any of these tools or with requests for additional information about the data.

Data Tools


Cost of War Cost of National Security

What counts as national security depends on your perspective. Some people consider wars overseas to be national security. Others consider the U.S. military, fighter aircraft, and the American nuclear weapon stockpile to be national security. Some people consider giving weapons to other countries to be national security. After Sept. 11, 2001, we created the Department of Homeland Security and poured hundreds of billions of dollars into it, and some people consider that to be national security. Others think of national security as having enough to eat, a place to live, plus health care, clean air to breathe and water to drink, and access to an education. Whatever your perspective, we have running counters for you, tracking the cost of your national security.


Cost of Tax Breaks (Data and Visualization) Cost of Tax Breaks (Data and Visualization)

NPP’s Cost of Tax Breaks is a one-of-a-kind, open-source dataset that contains the cost of every U.S. tax break from 1974 to the present. The data show total, corporate, and individual tax breaks in both current and inflation-adjusted dollars. Other normalizations like percent change and percent of GDP are also included. This file is updated annually and powers our corresponding Big Money in Tax Breaks visualization.


Federal Priorities Database Federal Priorities Database

NPP's Federal Priorities Database breaks down state and county-level federal spending data into several easy-to-use budget categories. Using the database’s search function, you can see how federal program dollars flow to your state and county, and find key demographic indicators from an array of government agencies. Search results can be mapped or downloaded in table format for further exploration.


Federal Spending in Your State Federal Spending in Your State

State spending tables, part of our annual President’s Budget publication, show projected spending on federal grants to the 50 states, along with the percent change from the previous year. These state tables are organized by program and include grants for Head Start, Medicaid, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, and the School Lunch program.


Personal Income Tax Receipt Personal Income Tax Receipt

Each year prior to Tax Day, NPP breaks down your income tax dollar into 13 easy-to-understand spending categories. We then show you how each one of your income tax dollars was spent, to the penny, by the federal government. Our analysis includes how much of your income taxes were spent on nuclear weapons, the postal service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and many more federal programs. This information can be downloaded and shared as a tax receipt.


President’s Budget Request President’s Budget Request

Our annual President’s Budget publication breaks down the president’s budget proposal into 13 easy-to-understand spending categories. Included are charts that track spending and deficits over time and a comparison of mandatory, discretionary, and total spending.


State Smart State Smart

State Smart tracks how all 50 states (and Washington, DC) receive money from the federal government and how they contribute back to the budget in the form of taxes. Data include information about federal compensation, contracts, grants, aid going directly to individuals, and federal taxes paid. The federal government stopped publishing these numbers, so NPP recreated them and is committed to keeping them updated.


Trade-Offs Trade-Offs

NPP's Trade-Offs tool illustrates the local impact of the federal budget by quantifying federal spending in terms of real numbers that make sense to readers – such as number of teachers, number of households with renewable energy, or number of Head Start slots for children. This unique tool allows you to see how much money your state, county, city, or congressional district contributes to certain federal programs, and find out what you could buy instead if those dollars were allocated differently.