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United States - public debt by month 2019/20

In October 2020, the public debt of the United States was around 27.13 trillion U.S. dollars, over 4.1 trillion more than a year earlier, when it was around 23 trillion U.S. dollars. The U.S. public debt has become one of the most prominent political issues in the States in recent years, with debate over how to handle it causing political turmoil between Democrats and Republicans.

The public debt

The public debt of the United States has risen quickly since 2000, more than quadrupling until 2019. The public debt is the total outstanding debt that is owed by the federal government. This figure is comprised of debt owed to the public (for example, through bonds) and intragovernmental debt (debt owed to various governmental departments), such as Social Security.

Debt in Politics

The debt issue has become a highly contentious topic within the U.S. government. Measures such as stimulus packages and tax cuts add to the public debt, although they can be used to curb large events, such as the Great Depression or the 2008 financial crisis, which are detrimental to the U.S. economy.

Debate on raising the debt ceiling, or the amount of debt the federal government is allowed to have at any one time, was a leading topic in the government shutdown in October 2013. Despite plans from both Democrats and Republicans on how to lower the national debt, it is only expected to increase over the next decade.

Public debt of the United States of America from October 2019 to October 2020, by month

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Release date

November 2020


United States

Survey time period

October 2019 to October 2020

Supplementary notes

The fiscal year for the U.S. Government starts on Oct. 1.

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Statistics on "U.S. public debt"

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