Market Overview

How Much Damage Is Debt Doing To America's Value?

How Much Damage Is Debt Doing To America's Value?

Yet another $840-billion U.S. federal deficit in 2018 has pushed the national debt to $21.8 trillion as the year draws to a close.

While most Americans are finalizing their 2018 finances in the last several weeks of the year in preparation for 2019 tax season, Benzinga took a look at just how much debt the U.S. is carrying and how much of an impact it has on the country's total value.

American Values

To start off, the U.S. certainly has a valuable portfolio of assets. The total land value alone of the 48 contiguous U.S. states is roughly $23 trillion as of 2015, according to Federal Housing Finance Agency economist William Larson.

On top of that land value, the total value of the U.S. stock market is roughly another $30 trillion.

Finally, according to the St. Louis Fed, there are about $12 trillion in total commercial bank deposits in the U.S.

Adding all three numbers together, we get a rough estimate of about $65 trillion in value between land, equities and deposits.

Debt Numbers

Shifting our attention to debt: there is certainly plenty to go around. The $21.8 trillion in federal debt is only the beginning:

  • The U.S. now has about $9 trillion in outstanding mortgage debt.
  • Americans have $1.4 trillion in outstanding student loan debt.
  • Americans have a total of about $1.2 trillion in auto loan debt.
  • There is an aggregate of about $829 billion in outstanding U.S. credit card debt.
  • Current U.S. household equity lines of credit total $432 billion.

Shifting to the corporate world, the St. Louis Fed reports the total outstanding debt securities among non-financial U.S. corporations is about $6.2 trillion.

Adding up the total U.S. outstanding household, corporate and federal debt results in a total of $47.1 trillion.

Theoretical Number Crunch

Calculating the total “value” of the U.S. is little more than a rough thought experiment given the fact that much of the U.S. equity market value is interconnected with household, government and corporate debt levels in complicated and necessary ways. Yet using the grossly simplified method of subtracting all the major sources of U.S. debt from sources of U.S. value, the theoretical net value of the United States is theoretically $65 trillion minus $47 trillion, or about $18 trillion.

Based on the current U.S. population of 329.1 million, there’s roughly $54,700 of net value per U.S. citizen.

Other Debt Facts

The following debt statistics on a per-citizen basis hold true for U.S. citizens of all ages, including children and retirees:

  • $27,355 in mortgage debt per citizen.
  • $4,255 in student loan debt per citizen.
  • $3,647 in auto loan debt per citizen.
  • $2,519 in credit card debt per citizen.

Related Links:

The Ballooning US Budget Deficit: What You Should Know And What It Means Moving Forward

Savings Vs. Stocks: How Much Money Millennials Lose By Not Investing

Posted-In: debt national debt student loansEducation Top Stories Economics General Best of Benzinga


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