Government size over the years


People keep telling me “I want big government to be smaller”, “I don’t want big government sticking their nose in everything I do”.

It made me wonder ask how big has our Federal gotten over the years. I assumed the ratio of population to government employees would be a steady increase, I was pleasantly surprised at what I found, big government is not all that big.

A quick google search brought up the chart below.

Makes me now wonder what exactly are they all complaining about?

Federal Government Employment Levels Through the Years (including the U.S. Postal Service)

  Executive Branch civilians Total U.S. population Executive Branch employees per 1,000 population
1962 (Kennedy) 2.48 million 186.5 million 13.3
1964 (Johnson) 2.47 million 191.8 million 12.9
1970 (Nixon) 2.94 million* 205 million 14.4
1975 (Ford) 2.84 million 215.9 million 13.2
1978 (Carter) 2.87 million 222.5 million 12.9
1982 (Reagan) 2.77 million 232.1 million 11.9
1990 (Bush) 3.06 million* 249.6 million 12.3
1994 (Clinton) 2.9 million 263.1 million 11.1
2002 (Bush) 2.63 million 287.8 million 9.1
2010 (Obama) 2.65 million+ 310.3 million+ 8.4+

SOURCE: Office of Management and Budget. *= Figure includes temporary Census Bureau workers. += Estimates by OMB and U.S. Census Bureau.

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2 Responses to Government size over the years

  1. Dale says:

    When they say ‘size’ they mean ‘reach’. Never before has the government reached so far into the states or into the lives of people.
    You can thank software productivity and outsourcing for the shrinkage in government employees. In truth, about 14% of the working population receives compensation directly or indirectly from government operations. From contractors to outsourced operations, the reach of government and those depending upon it has never been so great.

    • Carol says:

      I don’t see them reaching into anything more than they have in the last 30 years, except for listening to phones conversations compliments of the “Patriot Act”.
      What are they doing now they didn’t do 5 years ago? or 10 years? 20?

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