Federal Deficit and Debt: October 2021

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

Current Federal Deficit

  • Federal Budget Deficit for October 2021: $165 billion
  • Federal Budget Deficit for October 2020: $284 billion

The deficit for October 2021 was $119 billion less than the deficit recorded in October 2020. That decrease in the deficit was due to a 19 percent increase in revenues and a 14 percent decrease in outlays.

However, certain federal payments were shifted into October 2020 because November 1 fell on a weekend. Without such timing shifts, the deficit in October 2021 would have been $56 billion lower than the deficit in October 2020.

Cumulative Federal Deficit

  • Cumulative Deficit Projected for FY22: $1,153 billion
  • Cumulative FY21 Deficit: $2,772 billion

The Congressional Budget Office anticipates that the federal deficit for this fiscal year will decline relative to last year’s total. However, that projection could change significantly because lawmakers have recently enacted major new infrastructure spending and are considering another package of new spending programs.

National Debt

  • Debt Held by the Public at the end of October 2021: $22.6 trillion
  • Debt Held by the Public at the end of October 2020: $21.1 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.

Expert Views: Fiscal Commission

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National Debt Clock

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