Federal Grant Applicant Demographics
To assess the ethnic and/or racial breakdown among applicants of US federal grants, primary grant programs in the education, healthcare, and income security spaces were analyzed. By taking a look at the ethnic and/or racial breakdown among the participants in these federal or state grant programs, it is evident that overall, white individuals received the most federal grant funding, followed by Black and Hispanic populations.
Breakdown of US Federal Grant Outlays
- Rather than providing grants to individuals, the federal government typically awards grants to state and local governments, universities, organizations, and institutions that plan programs that benefit specific parts of the population or the community as a whole.
- The Congressional Research Service (CRS) projected that in FY2019, total outlays for federal grants to state and local governments would be broken down into the following: health care (61%), income security (15%), education, training, employment, and social services (9%), transportation (9%), community and regional development (3%) and all other (3%).
- To derive an estimated breakdown of demographics for federal grant applicants, we analyzed the primary programs that received federal funding and the participants in the respective programs. The grants that were projected to have the highest federal outlays in 2019 and that are relevant to the research request were Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Fund, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and State Children and Families Services Programs.
- Excluded programs like Federal-Aid Highways, Child Nutrition, Accelerating Achievement and Ensuring Equity, and Urban Mass Transportation Grants were directed towards supporting state and local governments directly, rather than individual applicants.
- Approximately 70% of federal grants to state and local governments were for health programs in the US. Health programs included funding for Medicaid, as well as funding for children's health insurance, funding for federal health centers, vaccines, prevention and treatment of substance abuse, and funding for HIV/AIDS services.
- More specifically, 65% of federal grants to state and local governments were for Medicaid in FY2018. Other health program funding made up 5% of federal grants to state governments.
- The 2018 distribution of the non-elderly with Medicaid coverage (includes Medicaid, Medical Assistance, and Children's Health Insurance Plan) by race/ethnicity is as follows: White (41%), Black (20%), Hispanic (30%), Asian/Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (4%), American Indian/Alaska Native (1%), and Multiple Races (4%).
- The 2017 distribution of the elderly (age 65 or older) with Medicaid coverage by race/ethnicity is as follows: White, non-Hispanic (40%), Black, non-Hispanic (19%), Hispanic (25%), Other non-White, non-Hispanic (16%).
- Children and Families Services Programs that are funded by US federal grants include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program), child welfare, workforce, veterans’, fatherhood, domestic violence, and prisoner re-entry programs.
- The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program grants funds to provide families with financial assistance and related support services in various forms. The 2018 distribution of TANF recipients is as follows: White (27.2%), Black (28.9%), Hispanic (37.8%), Asian/Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (2.5%), American Indian/Alaska Native (1.5%), and Multiple Races (2.1%).
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides credit to low-income individuals and families for purchasing food in authorized retail stores. The 2018 distribution of SNAP participants is as follows: White (35.7%), African American (25.1%), Hispanic (16.7%), Asian (3.0%), Native American(1.5%), Multiple Races (0.8%), and Unknown (17.4%).
- The Department of Education offers three types of federal grants for individuals: discretionary grants, student loans and grants, and formula grants.
- Based on latest available data from 2015-16, the breakdown of Pell Grant recipients by race/ethnicity is as follows: White (42.4%), Black (22.7%), Hispanic (24.2%), Asian (5.7%), American Indian (1.1%), Pacific Islander (0.4%), Other or Two or more races (3.7%).
- In the same school year, the percentages of federal grant funding (as opposed to state, institutional, employer, or private funding) full-time undergraduate students received were as follows: White (11.6%), Black (30.5%), Hispanic (29.6%), Asian (20.2%), American Indian/Alaskan Native (30.0%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (29.7%), and More than One Race (17.0%).
- Tenant-Based Rental Assistance is a subsidy that helps make up the difference between what a renter can afford to pay and the actual rent for a home. Under this program as of 2020, at least 48% of Housing Choice Voucher recipients are Black and 18% are Hispanic. The breakdown of the other races are not provided.
- The Research Project Grant (R01) provides support for health-related research and development, and is granted by the National Institute of Health. The grant is awarded to a specified project to be performed by the awarded investigator or researcher. In 2018, nearly 94% of R01 grants were awarded to White/Asian applicants, while 2% were awarded to Black/African American applicants and 4% to Hispanic/LatinX applicants.
Given the limited, publicly available data for the breakdown of race and/or ethnicity among applicants for US federal grants, we provided demographic breakdowns using what was available. For example, demographic breakdown for Medicaid was provided for individuals who were receiving coverage, rather than Medicaid applicants. Therefore, there may be slight discrepancies between the number of people receiving coverage and the number of applicants. This logic applies for all the other demographic breakdowns provided in the report.
Additionally, we did not provide a breakdown of race and/or ethnicity for all available US federal grants, as there are over 2,900 available programs.