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Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors

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Figure 1. Federal Debt and Primary Budget Surpluses, 1912-2012

Percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Fiscal year Federal debt Primary budget surplus
1912 3.6 0.1
1913 3.4 0.1
1914 3.4 0.1
1915 3.4 -0.1
1916 3.0 0.2
1917 5.9 -1.6
1918 19.6 -14.2
1919 34.6 -17.4
1920 29.4 1.6
1921 29.5 1.9
1922 30.9 2.3
1923 27.7 2.2
1924 24.1 2.2
1925 22.3 1.8
1926 20.1 1.8
1927 18.4 2.0
1928 17.3 1.7
1929 16.0 1.4
1930 15.6 1.4
1931 19.5 0.2
1932 27.9 -3.2
1933 38.0 -3.4
1934 43.2 -4.7
1935 45.8 -2.9
1936 47.6 -4.6
1937 44.0 -1.6
1938 43.2 0.8
1939 46.4 -2.3
1940 44.2 -2.1
1941 42.3 -3.5
1942 47.0 -13.5
1943 70.9 -29.4
1944 88.3 -21.6
1945 106.2 -20.0
1946 108.7 -5.3
1947 96.2 3.6
1948 84.3 6.4
1949 79.0 1.9
1950 80.2 0.6
1951 66.9 3.4
1952 61.6 1.0
1953 58.6 -0.3
1954 59.5 1.1
1955 57.2 0.6
1956 52.0 2.2
1957 48.6 2.1
1958 49.2 0.7
1959 47.9 -1.4
1960 45.6 1.5
1961 45.0 0.7
1962 43.7 0.1
1963 42.4 0.6
1964 40.0 0.5
1965 37.9 1.2
1966 34.9 0.8
1967 32.9 0.3
1968 33.3 -1.5
1969 29.3 1.8
1970 28.0 1.2
1971 28.1 -0.6
1972 27.4 -0.6
1973 26.0 0.3
1974 23.9 1.2
1975 25.3 -1.8
1976 28.2 -2.3
1977 27.8 -1.0
1978 27.4 -0.9
1979 25.6 0.4
1980 26.1 -0.4
1981 25.8 0.1
1982 28.7 -0.8
1983 33.1 -2.8
1984 34.0 -1.3
1985 36.4 -1.4
1986 39.5 -1.4
1987 40.6 0.2
1988 41.0 0.3
1989 40.6 0.7
1990 42.1 -0.3
1991 45.3 -0.9
1992 48.1 -1.2
1993 49.3 -0.7
1994 49.2 0.1
1995 49.1 1.0
1996 48.4 1.8
1997 45.9 2.8
1998 43.0 3.7
1999 39.4 3.9
2000 34.7 4.8
2001 32.5 3.4
2002 33.6 0.2
2003 35.6 -2.0
2004 36.8 -2.1
2005 36.9 -1.0
2006 36.6 -0.1
2007 36.3 0.7
2008 40.5 -1.4
2009 54.1 -8.7
2010 62.8 -7.4
2011 67.7 -6.9
2012 72.5 -5.6

Note: Federal debt is the federal debt held by the public; primary budget surpluses are calculated as federal revenues less federal noninterest outlays.

Source: Office of Management and Budget and Congressional Budget Office.

Last update: August 2, 2013