Open Data and Methodology
The data collected over the past year is made available for to fulfill the promise of open data and transparency.
Additionally, the data FPWA collected, organized, and analyzed over the past two years is available to the public. We hope the Tracker’s open data features will complement efforts by advocates, policymakers, and researchers to demystify the impact of the federal budget and to advocate on behalf of their communities. Download the data sets here, or visit our Tableau page to share charts on social media and embed them into your digital media.
The Federal Funds Tracker relies on a number of data sources, requires certain assumptions, normalizes data to reflect intent, and categorizes grant data for uniformity and analysis. Data will be updated each year when new budget documents are released.
- Current Year Data: For FY 2019 figures, we rely on the New York City’s Office of Management and Budget’s Budget Function Analysis (BFA) report from the FY 2019 Adopted Budget. The BFA details the expense budget of certain agencies by major functional areas and are updated for the Preliminary, Executive, and Adopted Budgets. Each year, we will update the Federal Funds Tracker with data from the Preliminary Budget, which reflects the most up to date estimates of the current fiscal year. The disadvantage of the BFA is that expenses are estimates. The advantage is that the BFA provides a level of detail not available elsewhere by detailing federal grants by program area, which is simply a way to categorize an agency’s spending into program areas.
- Historical Data: For FY 2010 through FY 2018 trend analyses, we rely on data from the New York City Comptroller’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). These reports are published in October of each year and report on “actual” spending during the previous fiscal year — that is, what the city actually spent versus the estimated spending in current year budget documents. These data are adjusted for inflation. Each year, we will update the trends in actual spending when the CAFR is released. We use 2010 as a baseline for our analysis because that is the year before the Budget Control Act passed Congress that called for automatic cuts in spending if Congress could not curtail spending on its own.
- Exclusions: Historical data excludes one-time funding sources from the economic stimulus provided by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) following the Great Recession, and Disaster Relief aid, such as for Hurricane Sandy. ARRA was effective in creating jobs, and keeping families out of poverty keeping families out of poverty in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and Disaster Recovery funds are critical for emergency-preparedness and infrastructure investments, but one-time fiscal boosts do not reflect Congresses longer-term spending intent.
- Primary Federal Grants and City-Wide Federal Grants: Because city officials have discretion in how grants are allocated among agencies, and do not have the same flexibility in other cases, we categorize agency grants as “primary” grants if they exclusively and consistently supported an agency since FY 2010 (24 percent of the four agencies’ federal grants) or “city-wide” grants if they have consistently but not exclusively supported one or more of the Federal Funds Tracker’s four agencies since FY 2010 (76 percent of the four agencies’ federal grants).