Budget Deficit: The amount by which the government's total budget outlays exceeds its total receipts for a fiscal year. US Senate Budget Committee
Or, approximately, the federal deficit is the amount by which the federal debt increases in a single year. See Federal Debt.
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|Fiscal Year||Federal Outlays||Federal Receipts||Budget Deficit|
|2017||$3.98 trillion||$3.32 trillion||$0.67 trillion|
|2018||$4.11 trillion||$3.33 trillion||$0.78 trillion|
|2019||$4.41 trillion||$3.42 trillion||$0.98 trillion|
|2020||$4.60 trillion||$3.61 trillion||$0.99 trillion|
Although the federal budget 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.
The federal debt increases each year by more than the deficit. For FY the federal budget estimates that the federal debt will increase by about $0 trillion. That’s about $0 billion more than the official “deficit.” See Federal Debt.
But there’s more. There is the increase in in the “agency debt” of government-sponsored enterprises like the Federal National Mortgage Association. 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.
Chart D.03f: Federal Deficit in 20th Century
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.
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See DEBT ANALYSIS briefing.
See DEBT HISTORY briefing.
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Debt data is from official government sources.
Detailed table of debt data sources here.
Federal debt data begins in 1792.
State and local debt data begins in 1820.
State and local debt data for individual states begins in 1957.
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> US, State Pop FY17
Sources for 2014:
Sources for 2023:
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
FY 2018 Outcomes