By the end of 2019, the federal government had $22.7 trillion in federal debt.
How did we end up with $22.7 trillion in federal debt? When the U.S. government has a deficit, most of the deficit spending is covered by the government taking on new debt. It is similar to a person using his or her credit card for a purchase (rather than cash, check, or a debit card) and not paying the full credit card balance each month. Over the years, if the federal government experiences more deficits than surpluses, the federal debt grows.
How much is $22.7 trillion in federal debt? If you take the U.S. population estimate in 2019 of 329.7 million people (U.S. Census Bureau), $22.7 trillion would be equivalent to more than $69,000 for every individual in the U.S.
In this visualization, one dot represents $1 billion.
This visualization was created using the Monthly Statement of the Public Debt (MSPD) as the data source for federal debt of the United States and the Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) as the data source for federal government revenue and spending. Gross domestic product (GDP) figures come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). GDP data is current as of June 2019, and is seasonally adjusted at an annual rate to show expected GDP for the year. For more information about how GDP is calculated, visit the Bureau of Economic Analysis' National Income and Product Account Handbook. Throughout this page, we use the gross domestic product for the Fiscal Year, not the Calendar Year, in order to facilitate an appropriate comparison.