Federal Deficit and Debt: March 2021

Every month the U.S. Treasury releases data on the federal budget, including the current deficit. The following contains budget data for March 2021, which brings us halfway through fiscal year (FY) 2021.

Current Federal Deficit

The federal government ran a budget deficit in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2020

  • Federal Budget Deficit for March 2021: $660 billion
  • Federal Budget Deficit for March 2020: $119 billion

The deficit for March 2021 was $541 billion larger than the deficit recorded in March 2020. Certain payments were shifted out of March 2020 because March 1 fell on a weekend. Without those shifts, the deficit in March 2021 would have been $489 billion larger than the deficit in March 2020.

Cumulative Federal Deficit

The federal government ran a budget deficit in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2020

  • Cumulative FY21 Deficit Through March 2021: $1,706 billion
  • Cumulative Budget Deficit Over Same Period in FY20: $743 billion

The cumulative deficit for the first six months of FY21 was $963 billion larger than it was through the first six months of FY20. The increase in the cumulative deficit reflects a $1,063 billion increase in outlays that was only partially offset by a $100 billion increase in revenues.

The federal government ran a budget deficit in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2020

The federal government ran a budget deficit in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2020

National Debt

The federal government ran a budget deficit in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2020

  • Debt Held by the Public at the end of March 2021: $22.0 trillion
  • Debt Held by the Public at the end of March 2020: $17.7 trillion

The sizeable deficit in FY20, and so far in FY21, has pushed up the current amount of debt held by the public by 24 percent relative to a year ago. Eventually, once the situation has stabilized, policymakers should turn their focus to the country’s underlying fiscal situation.

What Does the Debt Mean for Our Future?

We all have a responsibility to build a brighter fiscal and economic future for the next generation.

National Debt Clock

See the latest numbers and learn more about the causes of our high and rising debt.