America in Facts 2023: A Data-driven Report for Congress

Latest update on September 11, 2023

In creating this report, USAFacts interviewed Congressional staff to understand topics of interest to their offices and the challenges that arise when using data. These interviews spanned the House of Representatives and the Senate and included Republican and Democratic offices. These conversations identified several topics that we used to structure this report. We hope that members of Congress and their staff can use the metrics and data visualizations in this report as starting points for debates on policy and areas of interest.

Explore the findings and interact with the data shared with Congress below. To learn more about these topics, download the report or visit the topics pages linked at the top of each section.

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  • Federal revenue and spending: In 2022, federal revenue was $5.0 trillion. Spending was $6.4 trillion. Revenue increased 14% in both 2021 and 2022, while spending was down from 2020 but $1.3 trillion higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • Combined government revenue and spending: In 2020, federal, state, and local governments collected $6.4 trillion in revenue and spent a combined total of $9.8 trillion.
  • Fiscal trends: The federal government has run a budget deficit in every year from 1980 to 2022, except 1998 to 2001, contributing to a national debt of $30.9 trillion in 2022.
  • Government employment: In 2021, federal, state, and local governments employed a combined 20.7 million people.
  • Population growth: As of July 1, 2022, the US population was 333.3 million, up 47% since 1980. Growth has slowed recently, with an increase of just 1.3 million people in 2022—the lowest in any year since 1940, except for 2020 and 2021.
  • Deaths and births: The death rate rose 18% in 2020 and 2% in 2021 before dropping 5% in 2022. Meanwhile, the birth rate in 2021 increased for the first time since 2014.
  • Demographic shifts: The US population is aging, with 17% of people over 65 in 2022, up from 11% in 1980. Households are also changing: married, two-parent households have decreased to 18% of households in 2022 from 44% in 1960. The white population decreased from 76% in 1990 to 59% in 2022.
  • Inflation and monetary policy: Inflation reached a 40-year-high mid-2022. It has since declined but as of September 2023 remains above the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates 11 times since 2022 to bring down inflation.
  • GDP and economic growth: GDP reached nearly $25.5 trillion in 2022, up 2.1% from 2021. Real GDP increased in all but six states between 2021 and 2022.
  • Labor market trends: The unemployment rate has been below 4% since February 2022, although rates vary by state. While nearly 4.8 million more people were employed at the end of 2022 compared to the previous year, the labor force participation rate remains below pre-pandemic levels.
  • Trade: The nation’s top trading partners are Canada, Mexico, and China. The trade deficit hit $951.2 billion in 2022, with the largest deficit being with China.
  • Federal infrastructure spending: In 2022, federal spending on transportation and infrastructure fell from the previous year but was 21% higher than in 2019. More than half of this spending went toward highways and rail. FEMA has thus far allocated $295.8 million for infrastructure repairs due to natural disasters that occurred in 2022.
  • Infrastructure usage: Americans drove fewer miles and took fewer flights and urban rail trips in 2022 compared to before the pandemic. Nearly 80% of US households had a broadband subscription in 2021, with variations by state, race, and income.
  • Infrastructure performance: As of 2022, 5% of US bridges and 19% of roads were in poor condition, with state-level variations. On-time flight performance last year was the lowest since 2010.
  • Mortality: Life expectancy fell for the second year in a row, reaching to 76.4 years in 2021. Leading causes of death in 2022 varied by age, with accidental fentanyl poisoning topping the list for adults ages 18 to 44.
  • Mental health: In 2021, nearly one in four US adults had a mental illness. Children were more frequently affected by major depressive episodes compared to adults.
  • Health insurance coverage and costs: In 2021, approximately 8.3% of Americans, or 27.2 million people, were without health insurance. Private health insurance covered two-thirds of people despite a 2.0 percentage point decline since 2019. Private insurance costs per enrollee are rising faster than Medicare and Medicaid per enrollee costs.
  • Income, taxes, and government assistance: In 2021, the average middle-class family earned $59,600, paid $18,800 in taxes, and received $33,200 in government aid. Average family income grew by 17% between 2000 and 2021. Tax burdens generally decreased and government aid increased.
  • Wages and poverty: The median wage in 2022 was $46,367, down 7% from 2021 when accounting for inflation. Poverty increased to 11.6% of the population in 2021 but stayed below the Great Recession peak of 15.1%. State-level differences were evident in both wages and poverty rates.
  • Housing and food insecurity: Over half of US renters and 22% of homeowners spent more than 30% of their income on housing in 2021. Food insecurity affected 1 in 10 households, with Southern states facing higher rates. An average of 41.2 million people received SNAP benefits each month of 2022, with an average benefit of $230.39 per recipient.
  • Wealth distribution: In 2022, middle-class wealth totaled $10.3 trillion, a 13% increase since 2019. The top 20% of earners held 71% of the nation’s wealth, which amounts to approximately $98.8 trillion — up 14.5% compared to 2019.
  • Retirement and social programs: Access to defined contributions accounts (such as 401ks) has increased while defined benefit accounts (like pensions) participation has declined. In 2022, around 56.8 million people received Social Security retirement benefits, and 8.9 million received Disability Insurance. Medicare enrollment surpassed 65 million people.
  • Savings and financial inclusion: The personal savings rate fell below 5% in 2022, the lowest rate since 2009. About 6% of US adults are unbanked, with lower-income individuals more likely to lack traditional banking access.
  • Flow of immigration: About 1.5 million authorized immigrants entered the US in 2021, a 40% decline from pre-pandemic levels. Work and education are the most common reasons for immigration. Refugee admissions have declined compared to 2016, while asylee admissions are below the previous decade’s average.
  • Demographics and status: Approximately 45 million foreign-born people live in the US, making up 13.6% of the population. Over half are naturalized citizens. The Department of Homeland Security recently estimated there are 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants in the US.
  • Enforcement and workforce: Border enforcement actions peaked in 2022 with over 2.7 million apprehensions and entry refusals. Work visas reached a 25-year high in 2022, and the foreign-born labor force has exceeded pre-pandemic levels.
  • US defense spending: In 2022, the largest portion of the US defense budget, $298.3 billion, was allocated for personnel compensation. The defense sector employed approximately 2.1 million active-duty troops and civilian personnel.
  • US foreign aid: In 2021, the US committed $56.5 billion to foreign aid, 88% of which was for economic assistance. Notable recipients included Israel, Jordan, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia. Preliminary and partial data for FY2022 show an obligation of $12.1 billion to Ukraine.
  • Educational attainment: Approximately 48% of the US population holds an associate or bachelor’s degree as of 2022. Asian Americans have the highest levels of education, with two-thirds holding at least an associate degree.
  • Higher education: Student loan debt has risen over the past three decades, with the median outstanding loan per family exceeding $25,000 in 2019. On average, individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn 68% more per week compared to those with a high school diploma.
  • Natural disasters: The federal government declared 4,473 natural disasters between 1953 and 2022, most commonly fires and severe storms. Over one-third of 2022’s 90 disaster declarations were for fires.
  • Cost of natural disasters: Over 80% of the cost of declared natural disasters comes from billion-dollar disasters. Since 1980, these events have resulted in nearly 16,000 deaths and cost $2.5 trillion after adjusting for inflation.
  • Energy consumption: US energy use has more than tripled since 1949, although per capita consumption has decreased by 16% since peaking in 1979.
  • Energy production: Over the past decade, energy production in the US has increased, primarily due to natural gas and crude oil production growth. Renewable energy sources like biomass, wind, and solar comprised about 11% of total production in 2022, while coal production declined.
  • Air pollution: US air quality has improved from a ”moderate” level of concern in 1980 to “good” in 2021. Greenhouse gas emissions peaked in 2007 but were down 16% by 2021.
  • Environmental footprint: Americans generated an average of 4.9 pounds of trash per day in 2018, a 34% increase since 1980. Meanwhile, water use declined to 322 billion gallons per day in 2015 due to less water use in thermoelectric power production.
  • Crime rates: Both property and violent crime rates have decreased by more than 45% from 1990 to 2020. Despite a spike in violent crime in 2020, overall rates declined in 2021. Larceny and aggravated assault are the most common types of property and violent crimes, respectively.
  • Correctional population: The number of people in the correctional system has decreased since peaking in 2007. As of 2021, for every 100,000 US residents, 363 were in prison, 192 were in jail, and 1,128 were on probation or parole.