The Major Holders of the National Debt


Wednesday January 23rd, 2013   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 5:25am PDT   •  

Another fiscal year for the U.S. Government has ended. Let’s take a look at just who the biggest holders of the U.S. national debt were at the end of Fiscal Year 2012:

preliminary-fy2012-to-whom-does-the-us-government-owe-money

Here’s the overall summary of the data presented in the chart:

The information presented in our chart above is preliminary, as the U.S. Treasury typically revises its foreign entity debt ownership data in March of each year.

Overall, U.S. entities own just 65.8% of all debt issued by the U.S. federal government. Ranking the major U.S. entities from low to high, we find that:

  • The U.S. government’s military retirement fund owns 2.4% of the national debt.
  • The U.S. government’s civilian employee retirement fund accounts for another 5.6% of the nation’s debt.
  • The U.S. Federal Reserve, thanks to its quantitative easing programs of recent years, has racked up holdings equal to 10.8% of the total U.S. national debt.
  • The U.S. Social Security Trust Fund claims 16.7%.
  • U.S. individuals and institutions, which includes regular Americans, banks, insurance companies and other government entities, own 30.4% of the nation’s debt.

Meanwhile, foreign entities own 34.2% of all U.S. government-issued debt, with the following nations’ individuals and institutions representing the five biggest holders of that debt, again ranked from low to high:

  • United Kingdom: 0.9%
  • Brazil: 1.6%
  • “Oil Exporters”, which includes Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait,Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates: 1.7%
  • Japan: 7.0%
  • China (including Hong Kong): 8.1%

All other nations hold approximately 15% of the U.S. outstanding national debt.

Since the end of the U.S. government’s 2012 fiscal year on September 30, 2012, the U.S. government has since racked up roughly another $400 billion (or 0.4 trillion dollars) in debt at this writing, bringing the total national debt up to 16.4 trillion dollars.




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