The researchers developed an index which shows how dependent individual states and counties are on the program. The index includes three factors: "the percentage of total county population receiving Social Security; the percent of a county’s total personal income derived from Social Security; and the average per capita payment in a county (that is, the total amount of Social Security received in a county divided by the total number of residents)." To measure the increase or decrease in dependency, they compared data from 2000 to data from 2009. The 10 most dependent counties are rural and in the following states: Florida, Michigan, Idaho, Missouri, Texas and Arkansas.
The researchers found that "for every dollar of Social Security payment, an additional 80 cents of economic output was created. At the national level, Social Security’s $675 billion in payments in 2009 supported a total output in the nation of $1.2 trillion. These payments supported approximately 8.4 million jobs, full and part-time. And this activity generated $157.2 billion in tax revenues, which amounted to $71.9 billion in state and local taxes and $85.2 billion in federal taxes." (Read more)