Federal Register 2021 in review: 74,532 pages added

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory execution.

A total of 74,532 pages were added to the Federal Register in 2021. The page total will likely decrease after the National Archives processes the blanks and skips and finalizes the publication. 

The 2021 Federal Register included the following 27,712 documents: 

  • 21,985 notices
  • 376 presidential documents
  • 2,094 proposed rules
  • 3,257 final rules.

According to government data, the Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016. The lowest recorded page total since 2001 was 61,950 pages in 2017.

The 2021 Federal Register ranks as the second-lowest final rule count since the 1970s, with 3,257 final rules. The lowest final rule count since the 1970s was 2,964 final rules in 2019 under the Trump administration. 

The total number of proposed rules decreased from last year. The Trump administration issued 2,158 proposed rules in 2020, which decreased to 2,094 proposed rules in 2021. 

A total of 309 significant documents were added to the Federal Register in 2021, including 129 proposed rules, 176 final rules, and four notices. The Biden administration added 299 of the 309 significant documents, including 126 proposed rules, 169 final rules, and four notices. By contrast, the Trump administration in 2020 added 109 significant documents to the Federal Register, including 34 proposed rules, 74 final rules, and one notice. In 2019, the Trump administration added 121 significant documents, including 54 proposed rules, 66 final rules, and one notice. 

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

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