The Size and Shape of America's Government

(May 2002) There were 130 million people employed in the United States in 2000, not counting military personnel. Data from the Census 2000 Supplementary Survey show that 14 percent of the country’s workforce reported that they were government employees at the local, state, or federal level (about 18 million people). Local governments employed the most people, 9.7 million, while state governments and the federal government employed approximately 5.4 million and 3.2 million people respectively.

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Although men accounted for a greater share of the total civilian work force (54 percent), women accounted for more than half of the employees in the public sector (55 percent). At the local level, almost 60 percent of government employees were women, while men outnumbered women in the federal government.

In 2000, California had the largest total work force and the largest number of government employees (2.1 million). But in relative terms, Alaska had the largest public sector: More than 25 percent of Alaska’s workers were government employees in 2000. Pennsylvania employed the smallest share of government workers — less than 11 percent of its total work force.

U.S. Census Bureau: Census 2000 Supplementary Survey