Should the U.S. government shut down Sunday, millions of employees and their families will be impacted as the effects of halting operations ripple across the country.
The four-plus million people employed by the federal government include more than two and a half million employees in the civilian government workforce: workers who deliver the mail, forecast the weather and provide care for veterans of the armed forces.
Stacked up against the nation as a whole, this is how the federal workforce compares. Not included in these numbers are the ranks of government contractors, which accounted for nearly $700 billion in contracts during the 2022 federal fiscal year.
By race and ethnicity, Latinos are underrepresented in the government — while nearly 20% of the U.S. is Latino, 10% of the federal workforce is.
Predictably, tens of thousands of federal employees live near the nation’s capital. Nearly 1 in 10 of them live in Washington, D.C. — and in the city itself, more than 4 in 10 work for the government.
Federal employees have greater rates of higher education compared to the overall U.S. workforce: More than half have at least a bachelor’s degree and 1 in 5 have a master’s degree or higher.
While most American workers earn less than $50,000 a year, most federal workers earn more than that. A full 78% earn more than the $56,000 median income for a full-time worker in the U.S.
Government employees are also significantly more likely to be veterans: More than 600,000 workers also served in the military.