Federal Deficit and Debt: October 2023

Every month the U.S. Treasury releases data on the federal budget, including the current deficit. The following contains budget data for October 2023, the first month of fiscal year (FY) 2024.

Current Federal Deficit

The federal government ran a budget deficit for the first month of FY24


  • Federal Budget Deficit for October 2023: $67 billion
  • Federal Budget Deficit for October 2022: $88 billion

The federal government ran a deficit of $67 billion in October 2023 — $21 billion less than the deficit of $88 billion that was recorded in October 2022. However, October 1 fell on a weekend in FY23 and FY24, causing certain payments to shift into September, decreasing outlays for the month (by $63 billion in FY23 and $72 billion in FY24). Excluding the effects of those timing shifts, the year-over-year difference in the deficit would have been a $12 billion decrease.

Spending in October 2023 was up $64 billion compared to last year, excluding the effects of the timing shifts. Net interest spending was the main driver, increasing by $33 billion compared to the previous October. Other categories that increased significantly were Deposit Insurance ($15 billion), Social Security ($13 billion), and Defense ($11 billion). Revenues in October 2023 were $85 billion above collections from a year ago, driven by deferred payments of individual and corporate income taxes for taxpayers in locations that suffered natural disasters.

Spending this October was up compared to last year


Collections of individual and corporate income taxes were much higher in October 2023 than they were in October 2022.

Deferred payments of individual and corporate taxes boosted revenues this October compared to last year

National Debt

The national debt is on an unsustainable path


  • Debt Held by the Public at the end of October 2023: $26.5 trillion
  • Debt Held by the Public at the end of October 2022: $24.3 trillion

If not for the adjustments related to student loan forgiveness, the nation would have posted a deficit in FY23 exceeding $2 trillion. That historic imbalance of spending and revenues occurred despite a strong year of economic activity, and deficits are projected to grow even more over the next decade. The unsustainable upward trajectory of deficits and debt argues for bipartisan solutions, such as a fiscal commission, to improve the country’s fiscal outlook.

Solutions Initiative 2024

Seven think tanks from across the ideological spectrum all agree that we are on an unsustainable fiscal path, and we need to change course.

National Debt Clock

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