About USAFacts

USAFacts is a new data-driven portrait of the American population, our government’s finances, and government’s impact on society. We are a nonpartisan, not-for-profit civic initiative and have no political agenda or commercial motive. We provide this information as a free public service and are committed to maintaining and expanding it in the future.

Principles

USAFacts is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan civic initiative providing the most comprehensive and understandable source of government data available. We standardize assorted data and present it in plain language with helpful visualizations so you can understand trends in US spending, revenue, population and demographics, and policy outcomes. We do all of this to give Americans the tools to ground public debates in facts. Serious, reasoned, and informed debate on the purpose and functions of government is vital to our democracy.

USAFacts exists because, prior to us, nothing else like it existed in all of the United States. We exclusively use publicly available government data sources. We don’t make judgments or prescribe specific policies. Whether government money is spent wisely or not, whether the quality of life is improving or getting worse — that’s for you to decide. We provide this information as a free public service and are committed to maintaining and expanding it in the future.

USAFacts presents metrics on the US government at all levels, from federal records to a growing collection of state and county numbers. We also produce an annual report snapshotting American life, and a 10-K modeled on the document public companies submit annually to the SEC for transparency and accountability to their investors.

We are also heavily invested in how Americans interact and interpret facts themselves and conduct a yearly poll on the state of the facts in America.

What makes USAFacts different:

Comprehensive

We offer a complete view of government impact and finances, from the White House to the county where you live. We’re constantly collecting and adding metrics from government entities of all sizes.

Comprehensible

We give you information in a format that’s easy to understand and navigate. There is no overarching set of parameters for how, or even if governments report data. We gather metrics from government sources and do the work so that they’re standardized and easy to grasp.

Factual and Unbiased

We rely exclusively on figures from government agencies. We present them neutrally, and without bias, so you have the tools to judge the country’s direction for yourself. We don’t answer to a board or any political group and have no agenda other than improving American debates — and, by extension, American democracy — with government data.

Contextual

USAFacts shows you the big picture in one place, rather than through many different sources. Our metrics provide years of data so you can make your own comparisons.

People-centric

Wherever possible, we include detail on different races and ethnicities and use a statistical matching process with government surveys to provide details for various incomes and family structures.

Our Inspiration

The concept of USAFacts started when Steve Ballmer was urged by his wife, Connie, to become more involved in philanthropy. To determine the best place to make an impact, he wanted first to see what government does with the money it raises and who it helps. Where does the money come from and where is it spent? Whom does it serve? Most importantly, what are the outcomes?

With his business background, Steve searched for solid, reliable, impartial numbers to tell the story. Turns out, those numbers weren’t even available. He assembled a small team of economists, writers, and researchers and started a search for the data.

The result was a first-of-its-kind report he felt the rest of the American public deserved to see. After all, everyone pays taxes for these programs and government departments; they too should see how their money is spent. The result of all that is this civic initiative.

Who We Are

We are a team passionate about making information available to the public. We partner with academic institutions and experts who help keep our data accurate and unbiased. Our partners include the Penn Wharton Budget Model and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR).

Penn Wharton Budget Model’s (PWBM) data store powers USAFacts. PWBM is responsible for expanding and maintaining the data used by USAFacts, as described more here.