What do Americans think governmental spending priorities should be? How have their preferences changed over the last four decades? How does it vary based on their politics or demographics?

What are the Top National Priorities?

Since 1973 the General Social Surveys¬†(GSSs) conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago have asked people whether government spending in various areas from health to foreign aid is too much, too little, or about right. Graph below shows the % of respondents saying their is “too little” emphasis on an issue. Pick issue and demographic using the drop-down.


More information on the GSSs can be found here.

General Social Survey (1972–2014). Exact question asked: We are faced with many problems in this country, none of which can be solved easily or inexpensively. I’m going to name some of these problems, and for each one I’d like you to tell me whether you think we’re spending too much money on it, too little money, or about the right amount. Are we spending too much, too little, or about the right amount on (ITEM)?