Comparing U.S. Federal Spending with Revenue
In 2021, the U.S. government spent $6.8 trillion on various expenditures and government-aided programs. Where was this money spent, and how much was covered by taxpayers’ dollars?
This graphic by Truman Du shows a breakdown of U.S. federal spending in 2021, as well as a breakdown of where the money came from, using data from USAspending.gov.
Money Comes and Goes
In 2021, U.S. government revenue totaled more than $4 trillion. About half of it came from individual income taxes, while about 30% came from Social Security and Medicare taxes.
Here’s a full breakdown of revenue sources in 2021:
|U.S. Government Revenue Source||2021 Amount ($B)|
|Individual income taxes||$2,044|
|Social security and medicare taxes||$1,247|
|Corporate income taxes||$372|
|Estate and gift taxes||$27|
Despite the trillions in revenue generated, like most years, U.S. federal spending was higher in 2021, which put the federal government in a budget deficit of $2.7 trillion.
This was the second highest deficit on record, down from a peak of $3.1 trillion in 2020 during the height of the global pandemic.
After income and Social Security spending, health was the third-largest expenditure in 2021. Here’s a look at the full breakdown, and where spending was allocated last year:
|U.S. Government Spending Category||2021 Amount ($B)|
|Commerce and housing credit||$304|
|Administration of Justice||$72|
|Community and regional development||$47|
|General science, space and technology||$36|
|Offsetting revenue collected but not attributed to functions||($124)|
Spending is expected to curb further in 2022. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office via AP News, the 2022 deficit is projected to drop to $1.15 trillion and will continue to decrease for the next three years.
U.S. National Debt
In March 2021, U.S. national debt reached an all-time high of $28 trillion. That includes intragovernmental holdings, which is about $6 trillion of debt owed within the government itself.
While overall debt is rising, the cost of servicing this debt has actually dropped in recent years thanks to record low interest rates.
However, with interest rates on the rise again this year, servicing the existing national debt is becoming more expensive.
And eventually, when it comes time for the U.S. government to refinance its loans, a greater portion of the federal budget will need to be allocated to servicing debt, which will put a squeeze on other areas of spending.
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Ranked: Share of Global Arms Exports in 2022
The U.S. is the biggest weapons exporter in the world, but which other countries take up a significant share of global arms exports in 2022? And how has that share changed over time?
Ranked: Share of Global Arms Exports 2018–2022
In 2022, global military budgets hit $2.2 trillion, an eighth consecutive year of increase.
Part of those budgets were used for the procurement of arms, but which countries are major weapons suppliers, and how do they influence the global arms trade?
We chart out the top 10 countries with the biggest share of global arms exports using data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Which Country Exports the Most Weapons?
The U.S. is the biggest weapons exporter, accounting for 40% of the total volume of international arms transfers between 2018–2022. Nearly one-fifth of these exports headed to Saudi Arabia, and other significant amounts went to Japan (8.6%) and Australia (8.4%).
Below we rank the biggest weapons exporters by share of total volume traded in 2018–2022, as well as their growth or decline from trends recorded in 2013–2017.
|Rank||Country||% share of global arms exports|
|% change between
2013-17 & 2018-22
|9||🇰🇷 South Korea||2%||+74%|
|N/A||🌐 Rest of World||9%||N/A|
Russia (16%) and France (11%) rank close together, followed by China (5%) and Germany (4%) to round out the top five major arms exporters.
However France’s export volumes grown considerably (+44%) from the previous five-year period, thanks to big sales to India, which included 62 combat aircraft and four submarines, one-third of all French weapons trade. This has resulted in France leapfrogging the U.S. as India’s second-largest weapons supplier after Russia.
On the other hand, Russia’s exports by volume has decreased (-31%) even before sanctions kicked in after the invasion of Ukraine. Its biggest trade partners, India and China, have prioritized developing their own weapons industries.
South Korea’s Surging Weapons Exports
Another country whose arms sales are skyrocketing is South Korea, which ranks 9th in the overall share of global arms exports, but has seen a 74% increase in its export volumes. Key recipients include the Philippines, India, and Thailand.
South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol has pledged to grow his country into the world’s fourth largest arms exporter by 2027.
Interestingly, South Korea is one of three countries which is both a top-10 arms exporter and importer (along with China and the U.S.) as it has many takers for domestically produced military equipment, while simultaneously being reliant on American-produced long-range missiles and advanced combat aircraft.
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