Unexpectedly Intriguing!
08 April 2009

Government Money How fast did the U.S. economy grow on average between any two years? How fast did the national debt grow between those same two years? How about population growth? What about the effect of inflation?

If you've ever gone digging through economic data for the U.S., you know that these aren't easy questions to answer. Until now, that is, since we've put the entire annual economic history of the United States, as represented by its annual population, GDP and national debt data, right at your fingertips!

All you need to select your years of interest. We'll provide the relevant nominal data for each year, the inflation-adjusted data for each year, and then we'll go the extra mile and find out the compound annualized rate of growth for each of these major statistics!

But wait, that's not all! We'll also calculate the United States' national debt-to-income ratio for each year and a special statistic that we find useful in measuring the relative income and national debt load per person in the U.S: the national-debt-per-capita-to-GDP index, which we've found to be a pretty good measure of the level of national distress experienced by the U.S. throughout its history!

Years of Interest
Input Data Values
Beginning Year (* Projected)
Ending Year (* Projected)
Historic Economic Data (Nominal)
Calculated Results Starting Year Ending Year Rate of Change
Nominal GDP
Nominal National Debt
Debt-to-Income Ratio (Debt Burden)
Economic Data Per Capita
Nominal GDP per Capita
Nominal National Debt per Capita
National Debt Burden per Capita (Debt-to-GDP-per-Capita Index Value)
Historic Economic Data (Adjusted for Inflation)
Real GDP [Constant 2005 USD]
Real National Debt [Constant 2005 USD]
Economic Data Per Capita (Adjusted for Inflation)
Real GDP per Capita [Constant 2005 USD]
Real National Debt per Capita [Constant 2005 USD]

Update 19 November 2010: We've updated the tool with all the numbers through all of 2009!

We've also projected the population, GDP and inflation data for 2010. All these figures are subject to revision, especially the GDP and GDP deflator data, which won't be finalized until March 2011.

U.S. National Debt per Capita to Income Index for 1830 to 2006 The DTIP index value (that measure of national distress level we mentioned above the tool) meanwhile has risen from an average range between 2.1 and 2.2 during the years from 2000 through 2007 to nearly 2.6 in April 2009. While this value has risen much higher in the past, coinciding with traumatic national events such as the Civil War and World War II, the highest sustained value for the index during peacetime is roughly 3.0, which it held between 1933 and 1941.

In terms of today's assumed GDP, that figure would correlate to a national debt level of $13.1 trillion, or a debt-to-income ratio of 92%. By contrast, the debt-to-income ratio for the years of 1933 to 1941 averaged roughly 41%. As such, we view the current spending binge by the federal government as leading to unsustainable deficits.

Where All This Data Came From

Here is all the original source data for all the information provided by the tool above:

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About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

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