More than half of Americans receive more money in various types of government transfer payments (Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Social Security) than they pay in federal taxes.
According to a report released this year by the Congressional Budget Office, only the top two income quintiles in the United States pay more in taxes than they receive in government transfers.
Not surprisingly, the lowest income quintiles receive far more in transfers than they pay in taxes:
In the lowest quintile, households pay only $400 in taxes (as of 2014, the most recent data available) while receiving more than $16,000 in various types of tax-funded transfer payments.
The end result is households in the bottom three quintiles have higher incomes after taxes and transfers than they do before taxes and transfers: