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About Us

Principles

USAFacts is a new data-driven portrait of the American population, our government’s finances, and government’s impact on society. We are a non-partisan, 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.

We rely exclusively on publicly available government data sources. We don’t make judgments or prescribe specific policies. Whether government money is spent wisely or not, whether our quality of life is improving or getting worse – that’s for you to decide. We hope to spur serious, reasoned, and informed debate on the purpose and functions of government. Such debate is vital to our democracy. We hope that USAFacts will make a modest contribution toward building consensus and finding solutions.

There’s more to USAFacts than this website. We also offer an annual report, a summary report, and a “10-K” modeled on the document public companies submit annually to the SEC for transparency and accountability to their investors.

What makes USAFacts different:

Comprehensive

USAFacts offers a holistic view of government impact and finances at all levels, from the White House to the local Town Hall.

Comprehensible

We give you information in a format that’s easy to understand and navigate.

Factual and Unbiased

We rely exclusively on data from government agencies. We present that information in a way that’s neutral, giving you the tools to see information about the country without telling you what to think.

Contextual

We have built a platform that shows you the big picture in one place, rather than through many different sources.

People-centric

We provide, wherever possible, a look at the experience of different groups of citizens. We have included detail on different races and ethnicities and have used a statistical matching process with government surveys to provide profiles of individuals earning different incomes and living in different family structures.

What inspired us

USAFacts was inspired by a conversation Steve Ballmer had with his wife, Connie. She wanted him to get more involved in philanthropic work. He thought it made sense to first find out what government does with the money it raises. Where does the money come from and where is it spent? Whom does it serve? And most importantly, what are the outcomes?

With his business background, Steve searched for solid, reliable, impartial numbers to tell the story… but eventually realized he wasn’t going to find them. He put together a small team of people – economists, writers, researchers – and got to work.

We soon discovered that dealing with something as big and complex as government – with its more than 90,000 jurisdictions and 23 million employees – required an organizing framework. What better place to look than the Constitution, and, more specifically, the preamble to the Constitution? It lays out four missions: “Establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; promote the general welfare; and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” While we don’t make judgments about policy, we all agree on the broad purposes of government as laid out in the preamble to the Constitution.

Who We Are

Our team is composed of dedicated people who are passionate about making information available to the public. Our work includes partnerships with academic institutions and experts who help keep our data accurate and unbiased. Our partners include the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), the Penn Wharton Budget Model, and Lynchburg College.

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We have begun documenting the processes and related controls we use to obtain, store, and present our ​government’​s revenue, expenditures, and metrics​ ​​​data. Once the documentation is complete, we intend to engage a prominent accounting firm to confirm that our processes and controls are suitably designed and operate effectively ​to completely and accurately obtain and publish our data set.

Contact

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For media inquiries, please contact [email protected]