Data Lab is realigning to better serve you! You may notice some content being redirected to  and Beginning Fall 2022, you can expect all Data Lab content to redirect to our sister websites. Be sure to update your bookmarks.
An official website of the U.S. government
Data Lab Logo of an abstract American flag referencing a bar chart
Data Lab Logo of an abstract American flag referencing a bar chart

Data Sources and Methodologies

Data Sources

We conducted this analysis using agency contract award data for FY 2017, which agencies report to (and which is publicly available). Each reported contract includes information about the agency and sub-agency that awarded the contract, the contract recipient, and a Product and Service Code, which indicates the goods or services delivered as a result of the contract.


We added up obligation amounts for every combination of contractor, sub-agency, and agency so that we could show the total dollars awarded to a particular contractor depending on the awarding agency, or for a government-wide view of the contractor regardless of awarding agency. To reduce the number of smaller contractors displayed in the visualization, we grouped contracts under $1 million into an "Other" category. We also added state data to indicate the recipient's location. By summarizing the contract award data using these attributes, we created a nested dataset that drives the information in the visualization above. The data used in this tool was updated as of January 2018.

In order to address a discrepancy in how contractors were named in the data, we removed special characters using regular expressions, and matched contractors by their base names. We then identified contractors with different names but the same "Parent DUNS" and matched them again. Finally, we manually made changes to some of the largest contractors in government, to ensure that different variants of name and "Parent DUNS" which properly represented the same company were joined together.


The total amount represents the dollar value awarded during the specified period, including adjustments made by contract modifications.