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Q: Chart of US National Debt as a percentage of GDP ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: Chart of US National Debt as a percentage of GDP
Category: Business and Money > Economics
Asked by: gadlen-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 11 Aug 2005 11:29 PDT
Expires: 10 Sep 2005 11:29 PDT
Question ID: 554528
I am looking for a chart or table of the US national debt as a
percentage of GDP for at least the years 1970-2004.

Bonus for one that charts these statistics on a monthly basis rather than yearly.

Further bonus for a chart showing important dates concerning the
Chairmen of the Federal Reserve. IE: Greenspan takes office, Paul
Volcker told to tighten monetary policy...
Subject: Re: Chart of US National Debt as a percentage of GDP
Answered By: omnivorous-ga on 11 Aug 2005 15:32 PDT
Gadlen ?

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget, part of the executive branch
and the White House, tracks spending in exactly the format that you?re
seeking.  While it?s not available by month, it is available from 1789
? 2010, with GDP numbers and percentages starting in 1930.

Obviously the budgeted numbers beyond FY2005 are estimates, which are
adjusted at least twice each year.

U.S. Office of Management & Budget (OMB)
?Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2006?

The exact document that you want is linked below and I?d suggest
starting on page 29 of the PDF (it?s page 25 of the original
document).  From there you can go backwards to find pre-1930 data on
the preceding pages:

?Historical Tables: Budget of the U.S. Government, FY2006?

A couple of notes are necessary here:
*  the U.S. Government?s fiscal year runs Oct. 1 ? Sept. 30, so we?re
at the tail-end of FY2005 today.  The budget for each year follows
this kind of schedule (and I?ll use the 2006 budget as an example):

1st Monday in February, 2005: President submits his budget to Congress
Feb. 15, 2005: CBO submits report on economic & budget outlook to
Congressional committees
6 weeks after President?s submission: Congressional committees submit
reports & analysis to own budget committees
April 1: Senate Budget Committee reports budget resolution
April 15: Congress completes action on budget resolution
June 10: House Appropriations Committee reports last regular appropriations bill
June 30: House completes budget action and required reconciliation
legislation (with Senate version)
Oct. 1: new fiscal year begins

? with budgets being worked in the previous fiscal year, there?s
obviously some delay with key changes, such as credit tightening;
changes in who heads the Federal Reserve; and even changes in the

It's for that reason -- as well as not knowing precisely what is
"important" that I'll refrain from the event listing.  However, a
Google search doing the following will yield some good results:
"financial news" timeline
"economic history" timeline

Here's a good summary for the early 21st Century:
"World Financial Timeline"

This page has more general news in its timeline but covers the 20th Century well:
Cooperative Education Service Agency -- Wisconsin
"Timeline -- Research Links"

Google search strategy:
?Office of Management and Budget? historical ?federal budget?
?U.S. government? + ?fiscal year?

Best regards,

Subject: Re: Chart of US National Debt as a percentage of GDP
From: elids-ga on 11 Aug 2005 12:13 PDT
you may find that this chart does the trick for you
a little more info on the subject here
and really in-depth data at

although you may notice that they avoid dealing with the subject of
national debt as much as possible, so you will have to dig.
Subject: Re: Chart of US National Debt as a percentage of GDP
From: gadlen-ga on 11 Aug 2005 13:24 PDT doesn't seem to go back far enough. is a huge site. I'd like you to do the digging for me ;-)
Subject: Re: Chart of US National Debt as a percentage of GDP
From: nproctor-ga on 11 Aug 2005 18:32 PDT
You might find the following website useful:

It provides the chart I believe you are looking for but using annual data only.

However, it does provide the underlying information in Excel format so
that you can amend the chart to your own specifications.

It also provides links to the various data sources so it would be
relatively easy to add data.

Given that GDP is only available on a quarterly basis, you may want to
consider using quarterly rather than monthly data points.

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