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What is the Debt?


Also, see National Debt, State Debt, Local Debt and Federal Deficit. This page shows State Government Debt.

State and Local Debt: That’s the outstanding debt issued by states, local government, and special districts.
Also, see National Debt and Federal Debt.

  Debts and Deficits   *** FY2016 Budget numbers ***

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Today’s Federal Debt is about $18,314,728,685,000.

The amount is the gross outstanding federal debt issued by the United States Department of the Treasury since 1790. It doesn’t include state and local debt, and it doesn’t include the so-called unfunded liabilities of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Federal Debt per person is about $56,128.

Debt Charts   also: Spending Charts  Revenue Charts  Deficit Charts  

 

Recent and Estimated US State Debt

Chart D.11s: State Government Debt in trillions

Chart D.12s: State Government Debt as percent GDP

The two charts show above show recent and estimated gross debt issued by state governments in the United States. On the left is a chart of the debt in current dollars. On the right is a chart of the debt as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

US State Government Debt Since 1900

Chart D.13s: State Government Debt in 20th Century

State government debt began the 20th century at one percent of GDP and remained there until after World War I. In the 1920s it rose briskly to 2 percent of GDP, then peaked at over 5 percent of GDP in the depths of the Great Depression. State government debt fell sharply through World War II bottoming out at one percent of GDP in the late 1940s.

In the 1950s state government debt began growing strongly, tripling to 3.5 percent by 1960. After 1960 growth moderated, and state government debt peaked at 4.5 percent of GDP before declining to 4.3 percent in 1981. In the 1980s debt increased reaching 5.9 percent of GDP by 1992. Debt plateaued in the 1990s and then resumed growth in the 2000s, reaching almost 7.5 percent of GDP by 2009.

Federal, State, Local Debt in 20th Century

Chart D.14t: State Government Debt by Government Level


At the beginning of the 20th century debt was equally divided between federal and state and local debt, totaling less than 20 percent of GDP. After World War I, the total debt surged to 45% of GDP. But by the mid 1920s debt had declined to below 35 percent of GDP. Then came the Great Depression, boosting total public debt to 70 percent of GDP. World War II boosted federal debt to almost 122 percent of GDP in 1946, with state and local debt adding another 7 percent. For the next 35 years successive governments brought the debt below 50 percent of GDP, but President Reagan increased the federal debt up over 50 perent of GDP, and total debt towards 70 perent to win the Cold War. President Bush increased the debt to fight a war on terror and bail out the banks in the crisis of 2008.

State-by-State Comparison of State and Local Debt

Chart D.15c: State and Local Debt Comparison


The bubble chart shows total state and local debt for each state in dollars per capita compared against the Gross State Product (GSP) in dollars per capita. The chart shows that the overwhelming number of states show a correlation between state and local debt and GSP. Notable outliers are the natural resource states, Wyoming and North Dakota, on the low debt side and New York and Rhode Island, on the high debt side.

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.

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Gross Federal Debt

Debt: $18,314,728,685,000

Data Sources for 2010_2020:

Sources for 2010:

GDP, GO: 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

Sources for 2020:

GDP, GO: 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.

State Finances for FY 2013

On February 3, 2015 the US Census Bureau released data on state finances for FY 2013 here, including spending and revenue for each individual state and for all states combined.

On February 3, 2015 we updated state and local spending and revenue data for FY2013 through FY2020 as follows:
  1. We replaced "guesstimatedstate spending and revenue data for FY2013 using the new FY2013 data from the Census Bureau.
  2. We replaced "guesstimatedlocal spending and revenue data for FY 2013 with estimates for each spending and revenue category using the trends in state finances between FY 2012 and FY 2013.
  3. We replaced "guesstimatedstate revenue data for FY 2014 with data from the Census Bureau's quarterly state tax summary here.
  4. We replaced "guesstimatedlocal revenue data for FY 2014 with estimates for each category using trends for each category of state revenue between FY 2013 and FY 2014.
  5. We replaced "guesstimated" state and local spending and revenue for FY 2014 thru FY2020 with new guesstimates based on the latest Census Bureau data for FY 2013 state finances and FY 2014 quarterly tax data.
We expect the Census Bureau to release local spending and revenue data for FY 2013 not earlier than Summer 2015.

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