Budget Barometer: 6 Key Debt Numbers

A good way to judge the national debt is as a share of the overall economy (or GDP).

Based on the latest figures from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), debt as a share of GDP is almost double the historical average, and could rise near record levels by the end of the decade.

Debt Held By the Public Debt as a Percent of GDP
Debt in 2007 (before the Great Recession) 35%
50-year historical average 41%
Current level 77%
Debt in 2028 (under current law) 96%
Debt in 2028 (if lawmakers extend tax cuts and spending increases) 105%
Record high (set right after World War II) 106%

For more, check out our recent analysis of CBO's numbers, or our Q&A explaining the difference between the gross national debt and the debt held by the public.