Book of the States

The Council of State Governments continues a long tradition of “sharing capitol ideas” with the publication of the 2018 edition of The Book of the States. Since 1933, CSG has served as a resource for state leaders and a catalyst for innovation and excellence in state governance. The Book of the States has been the reference tool of choice since 1935, providing relevant, accurate and timely information, answers and comparisons for all 56 states, commonwealths and territories of the United States.  

The 2018 volume includes 186 in-depth tables, figures and infographics illustrating how state government operates.Staff members mined more than 500 sources to obtain the information shared in The Book of the States

  The 2017 edition of The Book of the States is now available! 

 Archive: 1935-2012

The 75th anniversary of The Book of the States inspires a look back at the first 1935 edition to determine what we can learn about state legislatures in the 1930s compared to the 2000s, and to recount the history of change in these institutions. Most of the story of change relates to the strengthening of legislatures—the process by which they have increased their ability to make decisions independently of the executive branch and lobbyists.

Severe weaknesses in the financial health of the nation’s public retirement systems rank as yet another force currently buffeting state and local government finances. Further compounding the problems faced by these public retirement funds are the following developments: the precarious financial position of private sector pensions and the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation; the looming shortfalls expected in the Social Security and Medicare programs in coming decades; and the low personal savings rates of most Americans, coupled with the high rates of consumer and household debt. Given that the baby boomer generation is rapidly nearing retirement age and that America’s senior population is growing faster than the number of younger workers needed to cover their retirement needs, policy-makers across the country are paying a great deal of attention to this unfortunate confluence of events.

Chapter 2 of the 2000-01 Book of the States contains the following tables:

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