Source: US Congressional Budget Office
The federal budget deficit in was $3.1 trillion in fiscal year 2020, the Congressional Budget Office estimates. CBO’s estimate is based on data from the Daily Treasury Statements issued by the Department of the Treasury; the department will report the actual deficit for fiscal year 2020 later this month.
Relative to the size of the economy, the deficit—at an estimated 15.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)—was the largest since 1945, and 2020 was the fifth consecutive year in which the deficit increased as a percentage of GDP. The estimated deficit is more than triple the shortfall recorded in fiscal year 2019. Revenues were 1 percent lower and outlays were 47 percent higher in 2020 than they were in 2019, CBO estimates.
The deficit of $3.1 trillion is $180 billion smaller than the shortfall that CBO projected in September.1 Revenues were $123 billion more and outlays were $56 million less than projected, according to CBO’s estimates.
Revenue collections and outlays in fiscal year 2020 can be divided into two periods: before and after the start of the economic disruption caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. For the first six months, the 2020 deficit was about 8 percent larger than the 2019 shortfall. But for the final six months, from April through September, the deficit in 2020 was eight times the deficit in the same period the previous year.