All-Time Record Currently Sits at $231.68 Billion

Of the ten largest monthly deficits that the United States has posted since 1980 (which is as far back as our data goes), all occurred after the start of 2008.

Does this surprise you? After all, the financial health of the United States went from decent to truly awful in just a few short months thanks to the "Great Recession". It seems like eons ago when the United States was actually posting surpluses (the last annual surplus, which clocked in at $127.3 billion, was posted back in 2001).

Dollar Sign under a magnifying mirror - IllustrationPrior to April of 2012, the United States went over three years without posting a surplus in any single month. This is quite a rare feat, as the country usually posts a sizeable surplus at least one month out of the year. April is usually a particularly good month for the country thanks to an influx of tax revenues, but things were so bad after the "Great Recession" that even April brought red months for the country.


So, how bad have the monthly deficits gotten since the start of the "Great Recession" in December of 2007?

Let's take a look - here are the ten largest monthly deficits for the United States since October of 1980:

1. $231.7 billion (February 2012)
2. $222.5 billion (February 2011)
3. $220.9 billion (February 2010)
4. $198.2 billion (March 2012)
5. $193.8 billion (February 2009)
6. $191.6 billion (March 2009)
7. $189.6 billion (May 2009)
8. $188.1 billion (March 2011)
9. $180.7 billion (July 2009)
10. $176.3 billion (October 2009)


In case you were curious - the largest surplus posted in any single month came in April of 2001, when the United States posted a monthly surplus of $189.8 billion.

Source: Deficit History in the United States