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What is the Deficit?

Deficit: The amount by which the government’s total budget outlays exceeds its total receipts for a fiscal year. US Senate Budget Committee

This year, FY 2014, the federal government in its budget estimated that the deficit will be $649 billion.

Recent US Federal Deficit Numbers

Obama Deficits
FY 2015*: $564 bln
FY 2014*: $649 bln
FY 2013: $680 bln
FY 2012: $1,087 bln
FY 2011: $1,300 bln
FY 2010: $1,294 bln
Bush Deficits
FY 2009†: $1,413 bln
FY 2008: $458 bln
FY 2007: $161 bln
FY 2006: $248 bln
FY 2005: $318 bln
for more years click here.

Although the federal deficit is the amount each year by which federal outlays in the federal budget exceed federal receipts, the gross federal debt increases each year by substantially more than the amount of the deficit each year. That is because a substantial amount of federal borrowing is not counted in the budget. See here.

Note:

* Federal Deficit is budgeted.
† Some people have emailed to insist that the FY 2009 deficit should be assigned to Obama. Sorta.

 

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But there’s more

The federal debt increases each year by more than the deficit. For FY 2013 the federal budget estimates that the federal debt will increase by about $1 trillion. That’s about $250 billion more than the official “deficit.” See Federal Debt.

But there’s more. There is the increase in debt from the “agency debt” of government-sponsored enterprises. And there is the implied deficit from unfunded liabilities like Social Security and Medicare. See chart of latest Long-term Budget Outlook from the Congressional Budget Office.

Now you are ready to explore. Click here for the basics on the national debt and deficits. Click here for a look at overall government spending; click here for a look at the federal budget by function. And there is no better place to get up to speed than Spending 101’s online course on Federal Debt.

Deficit Charts   also: Spending Charts  Revenue Charts  Debt Charts  

 
Federal

Recent US Federal Deficits

in billions


Click chart for briefing on Federal Deficit.
For numbers and more click here.

in Percent GDP


Click chart for briefing on Federal Deficit.
For numbers and more click here.

The two charts show above show recent and budgeted deficits for the US federal government. On the left is a chart of the deficit in current dollars. On the right is a chart of the deficit as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

US Federal Deficits in the 20th Century


Click chart for briefing on Federal Deficit.
For numbers from 1900-2019 click here.

The two major peaks of the federal deficit in the 20th century occurred during World War I and World War II.

Deficits increased steadily from the 1960s through the early 1990s, and then declined rapidly for the remainder of the 1990s. Federal deficits increased in the early 2000s, and went over 10 percent of GDP in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008.

In the recovery from the Crash of 2008 deficits have slowly reduced to 3 percent of GDP.

US Federal Deficits since the Founding


Click chart for briefing on Federal Deficit.
For numbers from 1792-2019 click here.

The United States government did not always run a deficit. In the 19th century the federal government typically only ran deficits during wartime or during financial crises. The government ran a deficit of 2 percent of GDP at the end of the war of 1812, and through the decade after the Panic of 1837 and culminating in the US - Mexican War of 1846-48. It ran a deficit of over 7 percent of GDP in the Civil War; and ran a deficit in the depressed 1890s.
In the 20th century the US ran a defict during World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and in almost all years since 1960, during peace and war.

Top Debt Requests:

Find DEFICIT stats and history.

US BUDGET overview and pie chart.

Find NATIONAL DEBT today.

See FEDERAL BUDGET breakdown and estimated vs. actual.

See BAR CHARTS of debt.

See PIE CHARTS of total debt, federal debt.

Check STATE debt: CA NY TX FL and compare.

See DEBT HISTORY briefing.

Take a COURSE at Spending 101.

Make your own CUSTOM CHART.

Debt Data Sources

Debt data is from official government sources.
  Federal data since 1962 comes from the president’s budget.
  All other debt data comes from the US Census Bureau.

Gross Domestic Product data comes from US Bureau of Economic Analysis and measuringworth.com.

Detailed table of debt data sources here.

Federal debt data begins in 1792.

State and local debt data begins in 1890.

State and local debt data for individual states begins in 1957.


Spending 101 Courses

Spending | Federal Debt | Revenue | Defense | Welfare | Healthcare | Education
Debt History | Entitlements | Deficits | State Spending | State Taxes | State Debt


There’s More...

usgovernmentspending.com.

Where you go to get facts about government.

Prepared by Christopher Chantrill.
email: chrischantrill@gmail.com

Click the image on the right to buy usgovernmentspending.com’s ebook.
It costs only $0.99 and it contains all the analyses of spending history
on the website and more.

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Next Data Update

> State Quarterly Taxes FY14

> data update schedule.

Data Sources for 2009_2019:

Sources for 2009:

GDP, GO: See GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances

Sources for 2019:

GDP, GO: See GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances
Guesstimated” by projecting the latest change in reported spending forward to future years

> data sources for other years
> data update schedule.

Medicare/Social Security Trustee Reports Released

On July 28, 2014, the Center for Medicare Services released its annual Medicare Trustees Report, which projects Medicare spending out into the 2080s.  As in the past, the report shows that federal health-care programs will eat the budget.

UsGovernmentspending.com has updated its chart of the Medicare Outlook here based on data in the 2014 Medicare Trustees Report.  You can download the data and also view selected Medicare Trustee forecasts going back to 2005.

On July 28, 2014, the Social Security Administration released its annual OASDI Trustees Report, which projects Social Security spending out into the 2080s.  As in the past, the report shows that Social Security spending will max out at about 6 percent of GDP.

UsGovernmentspending.com is publishing for the first time a chart of the Social Security Outlook here based on data in the 2014 OASDI Trustees Report.  You can download the data and also view OASDI Trustee forecasts for 2005 and 1997.

Spend links

us numbersus budgetcustom chartdeficit/gdpspend/gdpdebt/gdpus gdpus real gdpstate gdpbreakdownfederalstatelocal200920102011californiatexas

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Christopher Chantrill.

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