Say what?! Red states have highest concentrations of state workers

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Here’s another headline that made me look twice: “Government Workers More Prevalent in Red States.”

The study, published in Governing Magazine, found that Republican-leaning states are home to those with the highest concentration of public employees. Go figure.

“With a few exceptions, states with lower concentrations of government workers are more left-of-center politically,” the report reads. “Seven of the 10 states recording the fewest government workers per capita cast electoral votes for Obama in 2012.”

So how does this add up? Are states with high ratios of state employees self-hating? Do they have experience with big government that they are dissatisfied with?

Arizona has the lowest ratio of public employees, with 188 FTEs per every 10,000 residents. Comparably, Florida has the 20th lowest ratio of public employees per resident, at 228 per 10,000 residents, just below the national average of 237.

Florida equals the national average in its ratio of corrections employees and financial administration employees ; has the 4th highest ratio of fire protection employees in the U.S.; and has the 7th highest ratio of police protection employees in the nation.

Florida has the 7th lowest ratio of elementary and secondary education employees in the nation — but is tied with Massachusetts for having the 8th highest ratio of higher education employees.

DCF take note: Florida is tied with Indiana for having the 2nd lowest ratio of public welfare employees in the U.S., with 8 such employees per 10,000 residents. The national average is 16.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.