Comparing U.S. Federal Spending with Revenue

This post is by Carmen Ang from Visual Capitalist

chart showing U.S. spending compared to revenue in 2021

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

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 Source2021 Amount ($B)
Individual income taxes$2,044
Social security and medicare taxes$1,247
Corporate income taxes$372
Miscellaneous revenue$133
Custom duties$80
Excise taxes$75
Unemployment insurance$57
Estate and gift taxes$27
Other retirement$10

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 Category2021 Amount ($B)
Income security$1,649
Social security$1,135
National defense$755
Net interest (Read more...)