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The question came up of which is bigger — the U.S. national debt or all other debt owed by Americans?
The answer, as best as we can determine with data through the end of 2014, is graphically presented below:
At the end of 2014, the total public debt outstanding for the U.S. government stood at $18.14 trillion. Adding up all the other categories of debt, and even adding in the total amount of money that individual U.S. states owe to their public employee pension funds, came to a total of $16.53 trillion.
So when it comes to racking up debt, the U.S. federal government beats both regular Americans and their state governments.
Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Household Debt and Credit Report, 2014-Q4.[Online Application]. Accessed 10 June 2015.
U.S. Treasury Department. Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It, as of December 31, 2014. [Online Application]. Accessed 10 June 2015.
State Budget Solutions. Promises Made, Promises Broken 2014: Unfunded Liabilities Hit $4.7 Trillion. [Online Article]. 12 November 2014.