As of September 2012, the federal government’s outstanding debt surpassed $16 trillion. Who are the nation’s creditors? The government owes the most money to — itself. U.S. government agencies, including giant trust funds of the Social Security and Medicare systems, and the independent Federal Reserve System account for 41 percent of the federal debt, more than $2 of every $5. Nearly one-third of the national debt is owed to other countries. China is the biggest foreign creditor ($1.144 trillion), followed by Japan ($1.076 trillion), but together they own less than 15 percent of it. Mexico and Canada together are owed $90 billion.
NOTE: This infographic was produced prior to the debt reaching $16 trillion (9-4-12)