Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Military spending by state: Colorado ranked 18th

With the arrival of the presidential primaries (and especially the one in South Carolina), i'm reminded that military spending can be a major factor in state level politics. Some states owe very large portions of their state's GDP to military spending, and it's not a coincidence that Southern states are known for their pro-military voting blocs. Many states in that regions have economies intimately tied to their local economies.

To see where Colorado fits in this, we can look at a 2011 study conducted by Bloomberg that examines military spending by state. The key factor we'll look at here is the amount of  military spending in each state, compared to the overall GDP.

When mapped out, it looks like this:

This statistics is not to be confused with total military spending. California, for example, receives much more military spending, overall, than Colorado does, but proportional to their overall economy, military spending in California is smaller in California than it is in Colorado. 

In Colorado, military spending is equal to 4.3 percent of the state's total GDP. We could compare that to a top-ten state like Virginia where military spending is equal to 13.9 percent of the state's economy. In South Carolina, the percentage is 5.7 percent. 

The state least dependent on military spending is Minnesota where the percentage is 1.1 percent. 

As a region, the Rocky Mountain Region outside Arizona is not largely dependent on military spending, with both Wyoming and Idaho in the bottom ten:

All in all, Colorado ranks in the middle at number 18. The amount of military spending the the state if fairly large for a state of our size and population, but thanks to a highly productive work force and lots of non-military federal spending, the overall comparative size of military spending in the state does not put us near the top of the list.