Comparing U.S. Federal Spending and Income

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Chart showing U.S. spending versus income in 2021

Comparing U.S. Federal Spending and Income

In 2021, the U.S. government will spend $6.8 trillion on various spending and government aid programs. Where is the money spent and how much is covered by taxpayer money?

This chart by Truman Du uses data from to show a breakdown of U.S. federal spending in 2021, along with a breakdown of funding sources.

money comes and goes

In 2021, total U.S. government revenue will exceed $4 trillion. About half of that comes from personal income taxes, and about 30 percent comes from Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Here’s a full breakdown of revenue sources for 2021:

U.S. government revenue sources 2021 Amount ($B)
all $4,045
Personal Income Tax $2,044
Social Security and Medicare Taxes $1,247
corporate income tax $372
miscellaneous income $133
tariff $80
sale tax $75
unemployment insurance $57
Inheritance and gift tax $27
other retirement USD10

Despite generating trillions of dollars in revenue, as in most years, U.S. federal spending increased in 2021, pushing the federal government’s budget deficit to $2.7 trillion .

This is the second-highest deficit on record, down from a peak of $3.1 trillion at the height of the global pandemic in 2020.

After income and Social Security spending, health is the third-largest spending in 2021. Here’s the full breakdown, and last year’s spending distribution:

U.S. government spending categories 2021 Amount ($B)
all $6,820
income security $1,649
Social Security $1,135
healthy $797
national defense $755
medical insurance $697
net interest $352
Business and Housing Credit $304
educate $297
general government $270
Veterans Benefits $234
transportation $155
administration of justice $72
agriculture 50 U.S. dollars
international affairs $47
Community and Regional Development $47
natural resources $42
General Science, Space and Technology $36
vitality $6
Offsetting revenue received but not attributable to functions ($124)

Spending is expected to decrease further in 2022. The deficit is expected to fall to $1.15 trillion in 2022 and continue to decrease over the next three years, according to a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report via AP News .

US Treasuries

In March 2021, the U.S. national debt reached an all-time high of $28 trillion . This includes internal government holdings, or about $6 trillion in debt owed by the government itself.

Despite the rise in overall debt, the cost of servicing debt has actually fallen in recent years as interest rates hit record lows.

U.S. federal debt cost

However, with interest rates rising again this year, it has become more and more expensive to repay existing national debt.

Ultimately, when the U.S. government refinances its loans, it will need to allocate most of the federal budget to paying down debt, which will squeeze spending in other areas.

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