As Washington bickering and the partial government shutdown threatens to drag into week three, many Americans are feeling the fallout. Now adding fuel to the debate, a personal finance portal has released an intriguing study that analyzed population groups such as students and senior citizens to measure states most and least likely to be affected by a prolonged government freeze.
WalletHub, an online finance portal, didn't survey individuals. It instead analyzed public data sources and based its rankings on seven metrics. Those measurements include federal workers per capita, small-business lending per capita and student aid applications per capita, among other factors. (The report's full methodology can be found here.)
WalletHub found states won by the Republican Party in the 2012 presidential election could be hit disproportionately hard by a drawn out government shutdown.
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Fifteen red states rank in the top 25 of the study's overall "at-risk" rankings. Those 15 red states are Alaska, Alabama, Idaho, South Dakota, Missouri, Utah, Arizona, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Georgia, Wyoming, Tennessee and Kentucky.
The shutdown is a divisive issue for both parties. Republicans are demanding dialogue on deficit reduction and President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law in exchange for boosting the government's borrowing authority and returning civil servants to work. The president, meanwhile, wants Congress to first end the shutdown and extend the debt limit before he'll negotiate.
The rankings, in a nutshell, show the shutdown's far reach. "The overarching theme is that no one is immune to the effects of the shutdown," said John Kiernan, senior analyst for Washington, D.C.-based WalletHub.
WalletHub selected seven metrics to measure the shutdown's potential impact on large, key populations of people who have lost or are at risk of losing key funding from federal entities. Those groups include students, senior citizens, veterans and small-business owners.
The rankings include 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The states most likely to be affected by the shutdown are (with No. 1 being the most affected):
4. District of Columbia
7. New Mexico
(Read more: The debt ceiling explained)
The states least likely to be affected by the shutdown are:
49. New York
Other key findings:
—D.C., Maryland, Alaska, Hawaii and Virginia have the most federal workers per capita and are disproportionately affected by the shutdown's immediate impact.
—D.C., Virginia, Alaska,New Mexico and Maryland receive the most federal contract money per capita, which means people in those areas stand to lose even if they don't technically work for the federal government.
—Small-business owners from the Dakotas, Colorado, Alaska and Michigan who are seeking funding are hurt most by an inability to garner Small Business Administration loans, as those states have displayed the highest small-business borrowing rates in recent years.
(Read more: How the shutdown is hurting Main Street America)