State government employees in Kansas


Kansas has more state government employees per resident than most states, and the trend is rising.

Each year the United States Census Bureau surveys federal, state, and local government civilian employees. (1)United States Census Bureau. Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll (ASPEP). Available at The amount of payroll for a single month (March) is also recorded. In this case, I’ve made the data for state government employees available in an interactive visualization.

In the visualization, I’ve multiplied the March payroll number by 12 to produce an approximation of annual payroll. Using each state’s population for each year, I’ve also computed the annual payroll on a per-resident basis and the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees per thousand residents.

Of note, the data is gathered in March, specifically for the pay period that includes March 12. This means that the pandemic probably had little effect on the figures for 2020.

For 2020, Kansas had 52.1 full-time equivalent state government employees per thousand residents. This ranked 14th among the states. These employees resulted in payroll cost of $1,155 per resident, which is 17th among the states.

Nearby is an example from the visualization showing state government employment count (full-time equivalent) per thousand residents for Kansas and some nearby states. It shows total employment, and in addition, education employment and hospital employment. (Since nearly all employees in Kansas elementary and secondary schools are employees of local government, not the state, the employees shown are working in higher education. See below for visualizations of local government employees.)

Click charts and tables for larger versions.

Two things are evident: The level of employment in Kansas is generally higher than the other states, and the trend in Kansas is rising when many states are level or declining. This data counters the story often told, which is that state government employment has been slashed.

If we look at data for state and local government employees, the conclusions are nearly the same.

Click here to learn more and access the visualization. There are separate visualizations for local government employees only, and also for state and local government employees together. Click on state and local government employment or local government employment by state and function.

The source of this data is United States Census Bureau, Local Government Employment and Payroll Data. The program’s page is Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll (ASPEP).

Click here to learn more about the data and to access the visualization.


1 United States Census Bureau. Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll (ASPEP). Available at


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