Combined State Debt: More Than $4 Trillion for FY 2011

Connecticut has the most debt, owing $5,402 for each resident, while Nebraska owes only $21 for each citizen.
by | October 25, 2011

The 50 states have a combined aggregate debt of more than $4 trillion for fiscal year 2011, according to data released Monday by State Budget Solutions.

The report merges the states' outstanding debts, their unemployment insurance loans from the federal government, pension liabilities and fiscal 2011 budget deficits to arrive at the $4 trillion total. State Budget Solutions describes itself as a non-partisan and pro-reform organization, although its partners listed on the main site and state affiliate sites include the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

On a per-capita basis, Connecticut possesses the most debt, owing $5,402 for each resident. Hawaii ranks second with $4,755 of debt per capita, and New Jersey sits in third with $4,217.

At the other end of the spectrum, Nebraska owes only $21 for each citizen. Wyoming faces just $78 in debt per capita, and Indiana places third with $198 owed per resident.

Based on pure dollars, California is the most indebted state, more than doubling New York, which finished second. California has accrued an aggregate debt of $612 billion; New York has $305.3 billion on its books. Texas followed with $282.6 billion. Not coincidentally, those are the three most populous states in the union.

Vermont has the least amount of debt to pay off: $6 billion. North Dakota was the second least indebted with $6.2 billion, and its southern neighbor, South Dakota, followed with $6.5 billion in debt.

View a map of debts for each state:

Click a state for debt amounts. Figures were compiled by State Budget Solutions, which obtained the "ratio of outstanding debt by type" from each state's most recent CAFR report.

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