Compare the Federal Deficit of the United States to Other Countries
This chart outlines the total deficit of the United States compared to 169 different countries in 2017. In this section, figures are presented using financial data from 2017, allowing us to provide you with the most recent deficit data for the greatest number of countries. In 2017, the United States' deficit was $666 billion. That $666 billion deficit was equivalent to 3.4% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) for 2017. Because the U.S. government has more money coming in and going out than any other country, it helps to compare the deficit of the U.S. government to other countries relative to the size of their economies. For instance, while the U.S. had the highest deficit in 2017, it ranked 75th in deficit-to-gross domestic product, a common measure of the size of a country's economy.
How does the United States compare to countries of similar size and gross domestic product? Explore the chart. You can compare deficits (in dollars) and deficit as a percent of gross domestic product. Find a country of interest and see for yourself.
Please note that the countries depicted in this chart have different forms of government, and these differences may impact the scope of finances reported by each country.
The visualization was created using the Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) as the data source for federal government revenue, spending, and deficit of the United States. Gross domestic product (GDP) figures for the United States come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). GDP data for countries other than the United States comes from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Economic Outlook Database (WEOD).
In researching potential data sources for information on the revenue and spending of other governments for the country comparison module, we chose the CIA World Factbook because it provides the best comparison for the following reasons:
- the number of countries with 2017 data,
- relative consistency with the level of government measured (central government only as a standard),
- all figures expressed in US dollars.
Countries with figures before 2017 were excluded from the country comparison data set. Although most countries in the data set feature revenue and spending from central government sources only, some countries included state/provincial/local data. As a result, this visualization should not be considered an absolute comparison of the revenue and spending of central governments for all countries.
To finish the data set for Country Comparison, gross domestic product figures from BEA and the IMF WEOD were combined with revenue and spending figures from the CIA World Factbook data set, excluding countries that did not have data available from both sources.