household debts in the United States of America

Gross debt in the United States of America

General government debt of United States of America refers to the debts of the state, their states and municipalities, and also of public sector institutions such as social security funds.

The government debt in the period from 2000 to 2021 was between 5.45 trillion and 29.88 trillion USD. The highest level of the last years at 29.9 trillion US Dollar was reached in 2021.

Based on the number of inhabitants, this is a debt of 90,020 USD per person. For comparison, the average debt per person in the same year in the European Union was 35,341 USD.

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Gross debt of the last 21 years in billion USD

Default Risk and the USA

Debt at the end of 2022 was exactly $31,419,689,421,557 and 90 cents - more than $32 trillion. This makes the United States the world leader. This is true not only in absolute terms for the entire country, but also per capita.

There are regular reports in the international media about an imminent national bankruptcy of the USA. Of course, it is not quite that drastic. It is merely a matter of complying with a self-imposed debt ceiling. Introduced in 1917, it has rarely been adhered to. The ceiling has had to be raised more than 100 times since then in order to make the necessary payments. To be fair, however, the inflation rate must also be taken into account, because this limit is measured in absolute figures and not as a percentage of economic output.

Nevertheless, in 2001, the debt ceiling was $5.6 trillion. Since then, inflation has hit at a painful 57.4%. Adjusted for inflation, the limit would be $8.8 trillion. In fact, it has since been raised to an impressive 31.4 trillion.

A default of the USA would be more drastic for the world economy than that of a small other country. As in the past 100 years, the decision was made to raise it again last time. This does not completely eliminate the danger next time, but the probability of escalation is not particularly high either.

Domestic and foreign debt

Japan is now the largest creditor of the USA. It is followed by China and the United Kingdom. Overall, however, only about 22% of U.S. debt is foreign, and that is unlike most other countries. The lion's share of the debt is owed by the USA to its own institutions and states. At the Federal Reserve alone, more than $6 trillion in debt lay dormant as of March 2023. So a large part of the interest to be paid does not migrate, but stays in the own country. And not only that. Only a very small portion of the interest profits generated by the Federal Reserve Bank goes to its shareholders. By law, most of it flows directly back into the national budget.

This, of course, does not make the debt go away. However, by reducing the interest burden, debts are easier to bear and fewer new liabilities are created. Germany, after all the largest economy in Europe, obtains around 60% of its money abroad, where the interest is not only incurred on paper.

YearUnited States total% of GDPper capitaEU per capita
20005,451.11 bn USD53.17%19,319 USD10,328 USD
20015,623.84 bn USD53.15%19,735 USD10,404 USD
20026,073.85 bn USD55.54%21,117 USD11,368 USD
20036,717.34 bn USD58.62%23,155 USD14,148 USD
20048,072.07 bn USD66.09%27,568 USD16,162 USD
20058,530.81 bn USD65.44%28,867 USD16,918 USD
20068,865.16 bn USD64.17%29,711 USD17,549 USD
20079,330.48 bn USD64.56%30,974 USD19,574 USD
200810,801.31 bn USD73.41%35,520 USD22,721 USD
200912,510.36 bn USD86.58%40,781 USD23,701 USD
201014,263.96 bn USD95.14%46,113 USD25,145 USD
201115,462.33 bn USD99.48%49,625 USD28,417 USD
201216,689.03 bn USD103.04%53,170 USD27,784 USD
201317,546.31 bn USD104.54%55,516 USD30,021 USD
201418,345.88 bn USD104.53%57,621 USD30,832 USD
201519,137.46 bn USD105.12%59,667 USD26,170 USD
201620,030.66 bn USD107.14%62,001 USD26,655 USD
201720,680.98 bn USD106.18%63,610 USD27,535 USD
201822,062.66 bn USD107.45%67,503 USD29,172 USD
201923,253.44 bn USD108.76%70,823 USD27,927 USD
202028,327.61 bn USD134.51%85,453 USD32,227 USD
202129,876.97 bn USD128.14%90,020 USD35,341 USD

Comparison of gross debt per capita with the European Union in U.S. dollars

      United States       European Union

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