Federal Deficit and Debt: December 2021

Every month the U.S. Treasury releases data on the federal budget, including the current deficit. The following contains budget data for December 2021, which was the third month of fiscal year (FY) 2022.

Current Federal Deficit

  • Federal Budget Deficit for December 2021: $21 billion
  • Federal Budget Deficit for December 2020: $144 billion

The deficit for December 2021 was $122 billion less than the deficit recorded in December 2020. That decrease in the deficit was due to a 41 percent increase in revenues that was partially offset by a 4 percent increase in outlays.

However, both years were affected by shifts in the timing of certain federal payments. Without such timing shifts, the deficit in December 2021 would have been $99 billion lower than the deficit in December 2020.

Cumulative Federal Deficit

  • Cumulative FY22 Deficit Through December 2021: $378 billion
  • Cumulative Budget Deficit Over Same Period in FY21: $573 billion

The cumulative deficit for the first three months of FY22 was $195 billion less than it was through the first three months of FY21, reflecting a $249 billion increase in revenues and a $53 billion increase in outlays.

National Debt

  • Debt Held by the Public at the end of December 2021: $23.1 trillion
  • Debt Held by the Public at the end of December 2020: $21.6 trillion

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, debt held by the public has increased by about 30 percent. Once the situation has stabilized, policymakers should turn their focus to the country’s underlying fiscal situation.

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