Department of Numbers

Federal Debt, Revenue and Expenditures as a Fraction of GDP

As of Q3 2013 the United States' outstanding federal debt (i.e. Total Public Debt) was equal to 98.97% of GDP. The federal government currently takes in 17.59% of GDP in revenue annually from taxes (i.e. receipts) and pays out the equivalent of 22.09% of GDP in expenditures. By subtracting current revenue from current expenditures we calculate a current budget deficit of 5.03% of GDP in Q3 2013.

As a Percent
of GDP
Year/Year
( Point Change )
Total Federal Debt
( 2013 Q3 )
98.97% +0.74%
Total Federal Revenue
( 2013 Q3 )
17.59% +1.35%
Total Federal Expenditures
( 2013 Q4 )
22.09% -0.98%
Budget Surplus (+) / Deficit (-)
( 2013 Q3 )
-5.03% +1.82%

Borrowing and Spending Charts & Trends

From the mid-1960s to the early 1980s the US had a stable to declining debt load relative to GDP. In the early 1980s and into the 1990s the US debt grew with recurring budget deficits until receipts overtook expenditures resulting in a surplus for a brief period between 1998 and 2001. Since late 2001 the size of the federal debt has grown substantially, especially after the recession that began in 2007 and the subsequent bailouts and temporary stimulus programs that were enacted as a result.

Total Federal Debt as a Fraction of GDP

The US debt to GDP ratio all-time high was 101.43% in Q1 2013. The low was in Q3 1981 when it was 30.60% of GDP.

Government Receipts and Expenditures as a Fraction of GDP

Post 1980, government revenue as a fraction of GDP peaked in Q1 2000 at 20.31%. At the lowest point in Q3 2009 government revenue was 15.38% of GDP. Government expenditures were at their highest in Q1 2010 when they reached 24.95% of GDP. The post 1980 low for expenditures was 18.50% in Q3 2000.

Government Budget Surplus or Deficit as a Fraction of GDP: ( Receipts - Expenditures )

Since 1980, the US budget deficit was at its highest point in Q3 2009 when it reached 9.33%. The highest surplus since 1980 was in Q1 2000 when it was 1.74% of GDP.

Historical Data & Sources

The table below shows the history of federal debt, revenue and expenditures since 1946 along with the resulting budget surplus or deficit based on those numbers. The federal debt data is from the Treasury's Total Public Debt series. Expenditures and receipts come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis' Current Expenditures and Current Receipts series respectively. All series are normalized using the BEA's Gross Domestic Product series.

History of Government Debt, Revenue and Expenditures as a fraction of GDP

Date Total Federal
Debt
Total Federal
Revenue
Total Federal
Expenditures
Surplus / Deficit
( Receipts - Expenditures )
2013 Q4 22.09%
2013 Q3 98.97% 17.59% 22.62% -5.03%
2013 Q2 100.46% 19.01% 22.93% -3.92%
2013 Q1 101.43% 17.54% 22.70% -5.16%
2012 Q4 100.08% 16.50% 23.07% -6.57%
2012 Q3 98.23% 16.24% 23.09% -6.84%
2012 Q2 98.11% 16.34% 23.44% -7.10%
2012 Q1 97.29% 16.49% 23.31% -6.82%
2011 Q4 96.23% 15.94% 23.55% -7.60%
2011 Q3 94.74% 16.11% 24.00% -7.89%
2011 Q2 92.76% 16.32% 24.81% -8.49%
2011 Q1 93.62% 16.44% 24.61% -8.17%
2010 Q4 92.08% 16.18% 24.75% -8.57%
2010 Q3 90.11% 16.15% 24.92% -8.77%
2010 Q2 88.73% 15.88% 24.89% -9.01%
2010 Q1 87.05% 15.74% 24.95% -9.22%
2009 Q4 84.53% 15.68% 24.47% -8.79%
2009 Q3 82.80% 15.38% 24.71% -9.33%
2009 Q2 80.50% 15.41% 24.73% -9.32%
2009 Q1 77.37% 15.39% 22.63% -7.24%
2008 Q4 73.55% 16.99% 21.69% -4.70%
2008 Q3 67.53% 16.89% 21.37% -4.48%
2008 Q2 64.06% 16.27% 21.56% -5.28%
2008 Q1 64.32% 17.95% 20.74% -2.79%
2007 Q4 62.83% 18.14% 20.25% -2.11%
2007 Q3 61.82% 18.23% 20.21% -1.98%
2007 Q2 61.48% 18.50% 20.25% -1.75%
2007 Q1 62.17% 18.65% 20.16% -1.51%
2006 Q4 61.70% 18.35% 19.68% -1.33%
2006 Q3 61.16% 18.37% 20.06% -1.69%
2006 Q2 61.00% 18.20% 19.98% -1.78%
2006 Q1 61.33% 18.15% 19.94% -1.78%
2005 Q4 61.05% 17.76% 19.91% -2.15%
2005 Q3 60.07% 17.50% 19.84% -2.34%
2005 Q2 60.39% 17.47% 19.86% -2.40%
2005 Q1 60.68% 17.47% 19.91% -2.45%
2004 Q4 60.46% 16.61% 19.64% -3.03%
2004 Q3 59.66% 16.63% 19.65% -3.02%
2004 Q2 59.71% 16.40% 19.71% -3.31%
2004 Q1 59.47% 16.24% 19.92% -3.68%
2003 Q4 59.21% 16.37% 19.79% -3.42%
2003 Q3 58.33% 15.78% 19.85% -4.07%
2003 Q2 58.66% 16.76% 20.30% -3.54%
2003 Q1 57.53% 16.79% 19.76% -2.97%
2002 Q4 57.68% 16.86% 19.66% -2.80%
2002 Q3 56.42% 16.88% 19.40% -2.51%
2002 Q2 56.01% 17.04% 19.48% -2.44%
2002 Q1 55.42% 17.19% 19.30% -2.11%
2001 Q4 55.53% 18.72% 19.05% -0.33%
2001 Q3 54.56% 17.87% 19.09% -1.23%
2001 Q2 53.82% 19.67% 18.80% 0.87%
2001 Q1 54.92% 20.06% 18.83% 1.23%
2000 Q4 54.05% 19.96% 18.53% 1.43%
2000 Q3 54.75% 19.98% 18.50% 1.48%
2000 Q2 55.29% 19.96% 18.54% 1.42%
2000 Q1 57.53% 20.31% 18.57% 1.74%
1999 Q4 58.15% 19.71% 18.86% 0.85%
1999 Q3 58.20% 19.64% 18.91% 0.73%
1999 Q2 58.97% 19.64% 18.99% 0.66%
1999 Q1 59.80% 19.66% 19.16% 0.50%
1998 Q4 60.20% 19.59% 19.37% 0.22%
1998 Q3 60.42% 19.70% 19.46% 0.24%
1998 Q2 61.68% 19.64% 19.73% -0.10%
1998 Q1 62.35% 19.57% 19.83% -0.25%
1997 Q4 62.61% 19.41% 20.24% -0.83%
1997 Q3 62.28% 19.37% 20.16% -0.79%
1997 Q2 62.86% 19.25% 20.45% -1.20%
1997 Q1 64.04% 19.17% 20.61% -1.44%
1996 Q4 64.24% 19.15% 20.85% -1.71%
1996 Q3 64.04% 18.86% 20.94% -2.08%
1996 Q2 64.02% 18.94% 21.17% -2.23%
1996 Q1 64.84% 18.65% 21.48% -2.83%
1995 Q4 63.96% 18.42% 21.27% -2.85%
1995 Q3 64.54% 18.41% 21.60% -3.18%
1995 Q2 65.11% 18.57% 21.75% -3.18%
1995 Q1 64.47% 18.34% 21.71% -3.37%
1994 Q4 64.20% 18.20% 21.63% -3.44%
1994 Q3 63.83% 18.18% 21.64% -3.46%
1994 Q2 63.91% 18.27% 21.53% -3.26%
1994 Q1 64.12% 17.96% 21.70% -3.73%
1993 Q4 64.49% 18.27% 22.30% -4.03%
1993 Q3 63.90% 17.83% 22.42% -4.59%
1993 Q2 63.72% 17.91% 22.39% -4.48%
1993 Q1 62.69% 17.43% 22.48% -5.05%
1992 Q4 62.37% 17.70% 22.63% -4.93%
1992 Q3 61.71% 17.47% 22.69% -5.22%
1992 Q2 61.38% 17.61% 22.72% -5.10%
1992 Q1 60.83% 17.69% 22.78% -5.09%
1991 Q4 60.54% 17.81% 22.38% -4.58%
1991 Q3 58.94% 17.82% 22.15% -4.33%
1991 Q2 57.59% 17.89% 21.86% -3.97%
1991 Q1 57.23% 18.11% 21.16% -3.04%
1990 Q4 55.86% 18.35% 21.84% -3.48%
1990 Q3 53.62% 18.16% 21.42% -3.26%
1990 Q2 52.62% 18.06% 21.44% -3.38%
1990 Q1 51.81% 18.05% 21.36% -3.31%
1989 Q4 51.24% 18.33% 21.25% -2.92%
1989 Q3 50.03% 18.29% 21.15% -2.86%
1989 Q2 49.75% 18.33% 21.14% -2.81%
1989 Q1 49.59% 18.66% 21.12% -2.47%
1988 Q4 49.59% 18.25% 21.18% -2.93%
1988 Q3 49.10% 18.24% 21.09% -2.85%
1988 Q2 48.92% 18.25% 21.24% -2.99%
1988 Q1 48.87% 18.49% 21.71% -3.22%
1987 Q4 48.41% 18.38% 21.63% -3.25%
1987 Q3 47.96% 18.53% 21.67% -3.13%
1987 Q2 47.90% 19.02% 21.95% -2.93%
1987 Q1 47.44% 17.90% 22.01% -4.11%
1986 Q4 47.43% 18.07% 22.25% -4.18%
1986 Q3 46.01% 17.73% 22.71% -4.98%
1986 Q2 45.21% 17.67% 22.59% -4.92%
1986 Q1 43.99% 17.75% 22.21% -4.46%
1985 Q4 43.70% 17.76% 22.28% -4.52%
1985 Q3 41.49% 17.82% 22.28% -4.46%
1985 Q2 41.25% 17.32% 22.37% -5.05%
1985 Q1 40.38% 18.45% 22.41% -3.96%
1984 Q4 40.09% 17.57% 22.52% -4.95%
1984 Q3 38.47% 17.46% 22.24% -4.78%
1984 Q2 37.68% 17.60% 22.31% -4.71%
1984 Q1 37.41% 17.73% 22.32% -4.59%
1983 Q4 37.16% 17.39% 22.53% -5.13%
1983 Q3 37.30% 17.43% 23.32% -5.89%
1983 Q2 36.82% 18.12% 23.72% -5.60%
1983 Q1 35.76% 17.92% 23.87% -5.95%
1982 Q4 35.13% 18.09% 24.26% -6.17%
1982 Q3 33.92% 18.24% 23.46% -5.22%
1982 Q2 32.41% 18.73% 22.91% -4.18%
1982 Q1 32.42% 18.86% 22.93% -4.07%
1981 Q4 31.33% 19.00% 22.45% -3.45%
1981 Q3 30.60% 19.44% 21.97% -2.53%
1981 Q2 30.66% 19.48% 21.86% -2.39%
1981 Q1 30.80% 19.39% 21.68% -2.29%
1980 Q4 31.07% 18.84% 21.97% -3.13%
1980 Q3 31.74% 18.70% 22.21% -3.51%
1980 Q2 31.34% 18.40% 21.52% -3.12%
1980 Q1 30.88% 18.53% 20.80% -2.27%
1979 Q4 30.95% 18.45% 20.44% -1.99%
1979 Q3 30.95% 18.48% 20.15% -1.68%
1979 Q2 31.01% 18.52% 20.03% -1.51%
1979 Q1 31.47% 18.54% 20.10% -1.56%
1978 Q4 31.79% 18.26% 20.24% -1.98%
1978 Q3 32.16% 18.14% 20.35% -2.21%
1978 Q2 32.06% 17.85% 20.37% -2.52%
1978 Q1 33.41% 17.60% 21.14% -3.54%
1977 Q4 33.15% 17.46% 20.96% -3.50%
1977 Q3 32.93% 17.32% 20.76% -3.44%
1977 Q2 32.74% 17.52% 20.74% -3.22%
1977 Q1 33.59% 17.41% 21.03% -3.62%
1976 Q4 33.72% 17.14% 21.42% -4.28%
1976 Q3 33.57% 17.27% 21.47% -4.21%
1976 Q2 33.41% 17.16% 21.26% -4.10%
1976 Q1 32.91% 17.08% 21.51% -4.43%
1975 Q4 32.65% 16.79% 21.93% -5.14%
1975 Q3 32.31% 16.82% 22.05% -5.23%
1975 Q2 32.19% 14.78% 22.77% -7.99%
1975 Q1 31.47% 17.15% 21.79% -4.64%
1974 Q4 30.73% 17.73% 21.05% -3.32%
1974 Q3 30.80% 18.39% 20.70% -2.31%
1974 Q2 30.91% 18.02% 20.49% -2.47%
1974 Q1 31.69% 17.79% 20.15% -2.36%
1973 Q4 31.71% 17.47% 19.72% -2.25%
1973 Q3 32.06% 17.37% 19.92% -2.55%
1973 Q2 32.26% 17.39% 20.27% -2.88%
1973 Q1 33.22% 17.56% 20.47% -2.90%
1972 Q4 33.67% 17.05% 21.39% -4.34%
1972 Q3 33.54% 16.96% 20.10% -3.15%
1972 Q2 33.57% 17.05% 21.09% -4.05%
1972 Q1 34.64% 17.27% 20.98% -3.70%
1971 Q4 35.53% 16.26% 20.75% -4.49%
1971 Q3 34.93% 16.17% 20.55% -4.38%
1971 Q2 34.27% 16.42% 20.94% -4.52%
1971 Q1 34.42% 16.48% 20.48% -4.00%
1970 Q4 35.65% 16.76% 20.84% -4.09%
1970 Q3 34.79% 16.89% 20.51% -3.63%
1970 Q2 34.58% 17.51% 20.56% -3.05%
1970 Q1 35.31% 17.69% 19.81% -2.12%
1969 Q4 35.38% 18.50% 19.71% -1.21%
1969 Q3 34.95% 18.52% 19.35% -0.83%
1969 Q2 34.89% 19.12% 19.27% -0.15%
1969 Q1 36.12% 19.12% 18.90% 0.22%
1968 Q4 36.91% 18.65% 19.61% -0.96%
1968 Q3 37.25% 18.49% 19.55% -1.06%
1968 Q2 36.89% 17.62% 19.61% -1.99%
1968 Q1 38.36% 17.59% 19.45% -1.85%
1967 Q4 39.02% 17.15% 19.36% -2.21%
1967 Q3 38.76% 16.99% 19.16% -2.17%
1967 Q2 37.94% 16.88% 19.28% -2.40%
1967 Q1 39.12% 16.86% 19.14% -2.28%
1966 Q4 39.44% 16.98% 18.22% -1.23%
1966 Q3 39.56% 16.95% 17.90% -0.95%
1966 Q2 39.16% 16.94% 17.64% -0.71%
1966 Q1 40.26% 16.56% 17.06% -0.50%
1965 Q4 15.86% 17.10% -1.24%
1965 Q3 15.89% 17.14% -1.25%
1965 Q2 16.51% 16.78% -0.27%
1965 Q1 16.55% 16.67% -0.13%
1964 Q4 16.18% 16.91% -0.73%
1964 Q3 16.08% 17.05% -0.97%
1964 Q2 15.95% 17.45% -1.50%
1964 Q1 16.73% 17.55% -0.82%
1963 Q4 17.36% 17.72% -0.35%
1963 Q3 17.38% 17.63% -0.25%
1963 Q2 17.55% 17.73% -0.17%
1963 Q1 17.46% 18.00% -0.55%
1962 Q4 17.22% 18.12% -0.90%
1962 Q3 17.13% 17.93% -0.80%
1962 Q2 16.94% 17.87% -0.93%
1962 Q1 16.90% 17.79% -0.89%
1961 Q4 17.04% 17.54% -0.50%
1961 Q3 16.83% 17.69% -0.86%
1961 Q2 16.83% 17.96% -1.13%
1961 Q1 16.82% 17.68% -0.86%
1960 Q4 16.97% 17.87% -0.91%
1960 Q3 17.09% 17.16% -0.07%
1960 Q2 17.30% 17.06% 0.24%
1960 Q1 17.52% 16.66% 0.87%
1959 Q4 16.46% 17.38% -0.93%
1959 Q3 16.47% 17.27% -0.80%
1959 Q2 16.84% 17.19% -0.34%
1959 Q1 16.55% 17.43% -0.88%
1958 Q4 16.07% 18.19% -2.12%
1958 Q3 15.76% 18.33% -2.57%
1958 Q2 15.55% 18.70% -3.15%
1958 Q1 15.71% 17.89% -2.18%
1957 Q4 16.21% 17.83% -1.62%
1957 Q3 16.64% 16.97% -0.33%
1957 Q2 16.90% 17.22% -0.32%
1957 Q1 17.08% 17.00% 0.08%
1956 Q4 16.95% 16.65% 0.30%
1956 Q3 16.68% 16.42% 0.27%
1956 Q2 16.92% 16.74% 0.18%
1956 Q1 16.84% 16.32% 0.52%
1955 Q4 16.83% 16.38% 0.46%
1955 Q3 16.71% 16.87% -0.16%
1955 Q2 16.65% 16.79% -0.14%
1955 Q1 16.51% 17.23% -0.72%
1954 Q4 16.09% 17.66% -1.57%
1954 Q3 15.91% 17.85% -1.94%
1954 Q2 15.96% 18.13% -2.17%
1954 Q1 15.96% 18.50% -2.54%
1953 Q4 16.64% 19.04% -2.41%
1953 Q3 17.74% 18.41% -0.66%
1953 Q2 17.97% 18.81% -0.84%
1953 Q1 18.04% 18.43% -0.39%
1952 Q4 17.94% 18.60% -0.66%
1952 Q3 17.74% 19.04% -1.30%
1952 Q2 17.93% 18.62% -0.69%
1952 Q1 17.96% 17.66% 0.31%
1951 Q4 18.12% 17.92% 0.20%
1951 Q3 17.31% 17.45% -0.14%
1951 Q2 17.88% 16.43% 1.45%
1951 Q1 19.17% 15.40% 3.78%
1950 Q4 17.64% 14.52% 3.12%
1950 Q3 16.79% 13.68% 3.11%
1950 Q2 15.65% 15.86% -0.21%
1950 Q1 14.72% 18.85% -4.13%
1949 Q4 13.36% 16.83% -3.47%
1949 Q3 13.68% 17.16% -3.48%
1949 Q2 13.95% 17.34% -3.39%
1949 Q1 14.49% 16.70% -2.21%
1948 Q4 14.71% 15.68% -0.96%
1948 Q3 14.88% 15.31% -0.43%
1948 Q2 15.57% 14.66% 0.92%
1948 Q1 16.53% 14.69% 1.84%
1947 Q4 16.83% 14.79% 2.04%
1947 Q3 16.63% 16.91% -0.28%
1947 Q2 17.26% 16.40% 0.85%
1947 Q1 17.85% 16.70% 1.15%