Federal Deficit and Debt: October 2019

Every month the U.S. Treasury releases data on the federal budget, including the current deficit. The following contains budget data for October 2019, which was the first month of fiscal year (FY) 2020.

Current Federal Deficit

The federal government started fiscal year 2020

  • Federal Budget Deficit for October 2019: $134 billion
  • Federal Budget Deficit for October 2018: $100 billion

The deficit for October 2019 was $34 billion larger than that recorded in October 2018. In October 2019, outlays were $27 billion higher and revenues were $7 billion lower, than they were in October 2018.

Cumulative Federal Deficit

Cumulativbe budget deficits have been larger in recent years

  • Cumulative Deficit Projected for FY20: $1,008 billion
  • Cumulative FY19 Deficit: $984 billion

The projected increase in this year’s deficit reflects a growing gap between spending and revenues that has been exacerbated by the fiscal effects of policies enacted in recent years.

Social Security, defense, and Medicare account for more than half of federal spending

The vast majority of federal revenues come from individual income and payroll taxes

National Debt

The national debt is on an unsustainable path

  • Debt Held by the Public through October 2019: $16.96 trillion
  • Debt Held by the Public through October 2018: $15.83 trillion

While the deficit varies from month to month, and may even decline some months — for example, in April when taxpayers are submitting their personal income taxes — debt and deficits are on an unsustainable upward trajectory. The CBO projects that national debt could rise to about 140 percent of gross domestic product by 2049. That level of debt would far exceed the 50-year historical average of approximately 40% of GDP.

Why are such high levels of debt so concerning? There are many reasons that Americans should be concerned about the rising national debt — particularly if you are concerned about economic growth, investments in our nation’s future, and preservation of our social safety net.

Expert Views: Fiscal Commission

We asked experts with diverse views from across the political spectrum to share their perspectives.

National Debt Clock

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