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The Major Owners of the U.S. National Debt in Spring 2016

Thursday June 9th, 2016   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:01am PDT   •  

Last week, based on estimates published by the U.S. Treasury Department, we indicated that Saudi Arabia owns at least 0.6% of the U.S. government’s total public debt outstanding. But that leaves at least two really big questions unanswered:

  1. How much is the total national debt of the United States now?
  2. And who are the biggest owners of it?

Fortunately, Political Calculations has visualized the U.S. Treasury’s data on the major domestic and foreign holders of all debt issued by U.S. government entities, at least through March 31, 2016:


So the answers to the two questions we asked above are:

  1. Over 19.2 trillion dollars, or if you prefer to see it written out, over $19,264,938,619,643. By the end of the U.S. government’s 2016 fiscal year on September 30, 2016, we expect that the amount of the U.S. government’s total public debt outstanding could very well be over double what it was at the end of its 2008 fiscal year ($10,024,724,896,912.40).
  2. See the chart above!

In case you’re wondering, the category of “U.S. Individuals and Institutions” is dominated by insurance companies and banks. That doesn’t include the U.S. Federal Reserve however, which with holdings over 12.9% of the total value of the entire U.S. national debt, has become the largest single holder of debt securities issued by the U.S. government since the end of 2008.

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June 2016