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What Is the Public Debt? Skip to content

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National Debt Glossary

What is the public debt?

The Debt Held by the Public, or public debt, is all federal debt held by individuals, corporations, state or local governments, foreign governments and other entities outside the U.S. Government, less Federal Financing Bank securities.

The types of securities held by the public include, but are not limited to, Treasury bills (T-bills), Treasury notes (T-notes), Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), U.S. Savings Bonds and State and Local Government Series securities.

SOURCE: Treasury Department

See also: FAQ: How much U.S. debt is owned by foreign countries?

 

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