Red State / Blue State divorce?

Sarah M. Inoue
3 min readMar 8, 2023
Chart of Red, Purple, and Blue States difference between federal revenue and expenditure

A few weeks ago, Marjorie Taylor Greene (MTG) suggested that the blue and red states should get divorced. I had always heard that blue states contribute more to the federal government than they take out, which would mean — if no alimony payments are expected — that divorcing the red states would mean more money for federal programs in blue states, and since I live in New York, I thought, “Sure. Bye!”

To check my assumption, I did a little digging. I dug only a little, because finding exact numbers for federal taxes raised and money spent took time. I found in Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_tax_revenue_by_state) the federal revenue by state for 2019. I also found the amount spent in the last year by the federal government in each state (https://www.usaspending.gov/state). These obviously don’t go together as they come from two different years, but in order to get this blog written and to give all of us some sense of the numbers, I am using these two data sets. If you have the numbers for 2019, please send them to me and I will write a better blog. Thank you!

The first problem with MTG’s statement is that states are not red or blue. All states have Americans living in them, and each of these Americans votes in various ways in elections. I don’t know how she determines if a state is red or blue. I decided that states whose electors were for the Democratic candidate for president in every election since 2000 are blue. States whose electors were for the Republican candidate for president in every election since 2000 are red. States that mixed their electors even once or in the case of Maine in some of their electors, are purple. In this calculation, we have 19 red states, 17 purple states, and 15 blue states.

When I added everything together, the red and purple states spend far more than they send to the federal government (~$386 billion, and ~$437 billion respectively), and the blue states send slightly more to the federal government (~$66 billion). As you can see in the chart at the top of this blog post.

Not all blue states give more than they take and not all red states take more than they give. The biggest outliers are Connecticut and Texas. Connecticut was ~-$47 Billion under to the federal government and Texas gave ~$32 Billion to the government. You can see all of this in the two charts which show the states in order from lowest to highest. I also included Washington D.C.

The lowest 25 States
The next 26 states (including Washington, D.C.)

Divorce appears as if it would be better for blue states than red states. Although, MGT is from Georgia, and that was purple by my method of sorting the states. Maybe we could divorce just her district?

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