CBO's Budget Infographic

December 12, 2011

The federal government's finances are pretty complicated and not always easy to understand,and most of CBO's reports about the budget outlook are fairly lengthy and detailed. In fact, one of the questions we're most frequently asked is how much the government spends and takes in each year. For those who are not very familiar with the budget, finding the answer is sometimes harder than it should be.

CBO's newest infographic—that is, information presented in a graphic form—describes some key elements of the federal budget, including a breakdown of its major components and a visual history of the budget and federal debt over the past 40 years. This graphical budget primer is more accessible than some of our longer reports, and we're hopeful that it will make the federal budget easier to understand.

CBO's Budget Infographic

Today's infographic is the latest installment in our ongoing effort to present more budgetary information in a graphic form. This past summer we provided a set of easy-to-view slides on the outlook for the budget and economy. In addition, we published an infographic on Social Security, which provides historical statistics and projections of the program's financial status, the number of workers per beneficiary, the distribution of recipients, and the program's share of federal spending.

Jonathan Schwabish of CBO's Health and Human Resources Division and Courtney Griffith of
CBO's communications team prepared today's infographic.