Who owns the federal debt?
Federal debt held by the public is owned by:
- domestic private investors, such as individuals, banks, and pension funds;
- state and local governments;
- the Federal Reserve; and
- international (i.e., outside of the U.S.) investors, including both private investors and foreign official institutions, such as central banks and national government-owned investment funds.
Between 2000 and 2012, the share of debt held by the public in international ownership increased. This trend began to reverse in 2013.
Note: Ownership information is estimated primarily because securities are continually resold among investors.