What Is the National Debt?

The national debt is the sum total of all the money the United States government has borrowed but not yet repaid. The figure represents how much the U.S. owes its creditors, which includes the American public, foreign governments, securities holders and even its own government agencies.

What is the U.S. national debt?

The U.S. national debt currently stands at more than $31.4 trillion, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. That might sound like a staggering sum — and in many ways, it is. But it’s helpful to consider that amount in its broader context. Economists like to compare a nation’s debt against its gross domestic product, which measures the value of all goods and services produced in that country, to get a fuller picture of a nation’s ability to repay those debts.

For example, in the fourth quarter of 2022, the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio was 120.2%, according to U.S. Treasury data retrieved by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Basically, that means the national…

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This article was written by Cara Smith and originally published on www.nerdwallet.com