Debt, End of Year

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Latest Data: 2021
Release Timing: Following Year
Frequency: Annual
Contact: 1 (866) 820-7210,

“Government debt comprises all interest-bearing short-term credit obligations and all long-term credit obligations incurred in the name of the government and all its dependent agencies. This definition includes all debt, whether backed by the government’s full faith and credit or nonguaranteed.

It includes tax-exempt as well as taxable public debt. Government debt also includes judgments, mortgages, “revenue” and “earning” bonds, and special assessment obligations, as well as the more traditional general obligation bonds, notes, and interest bearing short-term warrants. It includes not only government debt for public improvements (roads, sewers, airports, etc.), but also debt issued for the direct benefit of the private sector entities (industrial development, mortgage revenue, pollution control and abatement, etc.).”

This figure does not include every type of liability. The following types of liabilities are excluded:

  • Non-interest-bearing short-term obligations, such as accounts payable (note that non-interest-bearing long-term obligations having a formal debt instrument, such as a fixed repayment schedule, are classified as government debt)

  • Interfund advances, loans, or other obligations transacted between accounting funds of the same government

  • Amounts held and owned by a government in a trust or agency capacity on behalf of others; contingent loans and advances from other governments

  • Rights of individuals to benefits from retirement funds or other social insurance trust systems; unfunded liabilities of retirement systems, unpaid annual or sick leave, or other obligations without a formal debt instrument specifying terms, length, interest rate, etc.

  • Leases

  • Loan guarantees and nonguaranteed obligations of the Federal Government.

For analytical purposes, this data has been indexed to 2005. Accordingly, 2005 = 1, and any value greater than one indicates growth, while any value less than one indicates a decline.

Debt, End of Year Per Capita is the total debt divided by the U.S. Census Bureau population of the state. The U.S. Census Bureau Population Bureau estimates are from the annual survey of state government finance tables

Debt, End of Year Ranking ranks the states from 1-50 with 1 being the highest amount of end of the year debt per capita and 50 being the lowest amount of end of the year debt per capita.