Federal Grants (FAADS)


Source U.S. Census Bureau
File Size 997 MB
Dates Covered Fiscal year 2008 (contact NICAR for data from 1983-2007)
Cost Snapshot

  • Nonmembers $150
  • Members $50
Categories: ,


This purchase includes only the latest fiscal year of the Federal Assistance Award Data System (2008). Fiscal years 1983-2007 can be found in our archives.The Federal Assistance Award Data System, or FAADS, is maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau. It contains records of federal assistance awarded to state and local governments as well as all major programs giving transfer payments to individuals, loans, or insurance. More than 1,000 federal assistance programs are covered under FAADS. The data is based upon the fiscal year calendar and collected quarterly by the Census Bureau under mandates of Title 31, Section 6102(a) of the United States Code.

Each standard record is identified as being one of two possible types: county aggregate and action-by-action. Each action-by-action record contains such items as the name and location of the recipient (but not the address), the amount of the awarded or amended federal assistance (usually on the basis of the obligated amount), the program under which the award was made, and the project description.

Record layouts and samples of this database

Sample data (Faads.xls) 86.2 KB
FAADS data elements descriptions (FAADS_Data_Elements.DOC) 67.5 KB
Record layout (LAYOUT.XLS) 17.5 KB
Main documentation (readme.txt) 5.2 KB

Related Tipsheets

  • Homeland security: The stories we are missing
    Sherman summarizes several investigations for reporters to pursue involving homeland security, such as tracking federal grants, assessing hospital preparedness and examining transportation and cargo concerns. She notes 13 Web site resources and provides a sample public information request for fund records.
  • Following the Money after a Disaster
    Buettner walks us through how story about the federal money given to New York after 9/11. He discusses the agencies he investigated and the sorts of data he analyzed to find out where the money was going. The data he discusses includes contract data, grant data, SBA Disaster Loans, and FEMA grants. Buettner discusses how he found and used each type of data. At the end of the tipsheet, he shares the results of his investigation.
  • Using CAR for Homeland Security on the Local Beat
    Nancy Amons takes reporters through the process of finding a story on local government spending of federal allocated grant money for Homeland Security. Amons did this story in Tennessee and found examples of misspending and not-spending in general.
  • Following the Money: Federal Spending
    Moulton explains the process of examining federal spending, beginning with the Federal Procurement Data System and continuing to federal assistance such as loans, grants, direct payments, insurance, etc. The tipsheet also includes questions that should be asked when examining federal money, including queries regarding amounts being spent and what the money is being spent on. The tipsheet also features pages from the Web site fedspending.org.

Related Stories

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    Common Cause Magazine reports on the growing trend among congressional hopefuls of accumulating large campaign debts and then repaying the debt while in office; finds that debts and loans are the least-regulated phase of campaign finance.
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    The Gazette Telegraph examines the “large government presence in Bent County, population 5,048… Federal spending in Bent County in 1993 came to $59.9 million, or $11,858 per person — the highest per-capita amount in the state.” The three-part series investigates the effects a proposed decrease in federal spending would have on Bent County and other areas in Colorado.
  • “Millions Pledged to Fight Terrorism Unused” “Cities Grumble About Terror Money.” “Report Questions Terror Spending.”
    “Federal homeland-security grants to first-responders are being spread so thinly that many small cities don’t know how to spend it, while larger cities are going woefully underfunded. Our analysis showed that Des Moines, which is larger than any of Iowa’s 98 outlying counties, got just $250,000 out of the first $28 million provided to the state. Some of the state’s smallest counties – with the fewest critically important resources – are spending thousands of dollars on traffic cones and are getting equipment like ballistic helmets that Des Moines can’t afford.”
  • Following the Money: Veil of Secrecy Cloaking Homeland Security Spending
    This story discusses how the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department and Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office tried to deny the Herald News’ requests for copies of letters awarding grants, to track how homeland security money was being spent.
  • Tribes pull in profits, grants
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