State Forfeiture Revenue Trends

State-level trends are more difficult to identify, largely due to reporting changes over time, both within and across states. One thing that is apparent is that states vary in their use of forfeiture under state law.

Looking at 2018, the year for which we have data from the most states, Florida, Texas, Illinois, California and New York used forfeiture most extensively (see Figure 4). This is perhaps unsurprising given these are five of the most populous states and therefore likely to see more law enforcement activity—and consequently more forfeiture activity—than smaller states. To get a sense of which states might make greater use of forfeiture than one would expect given their size, we standardized the states’ forfeitures by their populations. 1 Holding the population steady, Florida’s and Illinois’ forfeiture use still outpaced that of other states, while Tennessee, Rhode Island and Nebraska also generated particularly large amounts of forfeiture revenue.

Figure 4: State Forfeiture Revenues and Revenues Per 1,000 Population, 2018

Note: See data notes in State Profiles for source details and more information about what each state’s revenues represent. Data may not cover the same 12-month period for all states. We do not have data for Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio or Vermont.