United States National Debt


As of December 15, 2015, the U.S. is $18.8 trillion in debt.


What is the National Debt?

 The national debt - aka the federal debt - is the total of all the past years' budget deficits, minus what the government has paid off with budget surpluses.  


Deficits are common: in the last half century, the federal government has run a deficit in 45 out of 50 years. If the government runs a deficit, the U.S. Treasury borrows money to make up the difference between how much money is being spent and how much money is coming in – thus creating federal debt.

 Discover more about the federal debt:

   Who does the government owe the money to?

  How have deficits and surpluses ranked over time? 

  What is the Debt Ceiling?

  How does interest on the debt affect the budget?