(NPN) -- South Dakota and most Northern Plains states spend less on welfare than the national average but are above, below and at national averages for education spending, according to a recent government study.

Welfare Spending

South Dakota and nearly all Northern Plains States spend a lower percentage of their state budgets on welfare than the national average. In North Dakota’s and Wyoming’s cases, it is drastically less.

Nationally, according to a recent study by the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011 and 2012, states spent an average of nearly 30 percent of their state budgets on welfare expenditures. In contrast, Wyoming was 50th in welfare as a percentage of state expenditures at 15.2 percent in 2011 and 15.1 in 2012. North Dakota was not far behind in 49th place, with 15.6 percent in 2011 and 18.1 percent in 2012.

South Dakota came in at 23.5 percent in 2011 and 23.8 percent in 2012.

Only Minnesota was the outlier in the Northern Plains, spending 36.1 percent of its state budget on welfare in 2011 and 33.3 percent in 2012, both above the national averages.

Nationally, Maine was the highest spender on welfare by percentage in 2011 at 36.6 percent and Rhode Island in 2012 at 37.5 percent.

Education Spending

Spending patterns among Northern Plains states were less consistent regarding education. Nationally, state legislatures spend an average of nearly 36 percent of state budgets on education.

South Dakota was below that figure, spending 30.8 percent of its state budget on education in 2011 and 32 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, across the border in Minnesota, the Gopher State spent 37.9 percent on education in 2011 and 38 percent in 2012. Nebraska was also above the average, at 37.7 percent in 2011 and 38.6 percent in 2012.

Iowa came in close to the national averages at 36.3 percent in 2011 and 36.4 percent in 2012. Montana was lowest in the region, with education spending 30 percent of the state budget in 2011 and 30.3 percent in 2012.

Nationally, Indiana spent the highest percentage on education in 2011 at 46.3 percent. In 2012, Georgia spent the highest percentage at 47.3 percent. Alaska was the lowest percentage spender on education, at 25.3 percent in 2011 and 24.9 percent in 2012.

The full report is available at: http://www2.census.gov/govs/state/12statesummaryreport.pdfhttp://www2.census.gov/govs/state/12statesummaryreport.pdf