Composition of the US National Debt (2007)
The US national debt, also known as public debt, is a confusing term. It is money owed by the US federal government alone, and should be distinguished from total US governmental debt (that also includes state and local governmental borrowing).
Students in my class are often curious about the composition of the US national debt. Below are three helpful graphs provided by the DollarDaze website according to Treasury data as of 2007, when the total national debt was about $8.6 trillion.
The composition of US national debt was:
The breakdown of the domestic owned portion of the national debt:
Major foreign holders of the national debt:
By the end of 2010, the total national debt has raised to $14.03 trillion, and China has become the largest foreign holder, with about $900 billion American debt. (See CNBC, The Biggest Holders of US Government Debt.)