Difference between deficit and debt

Difference between deficit and debt

No country in this world is self-sufficient, and has to count on the help of financial organizations and other nations to obtain financial assistance, especially on the road to development. To know the solvency of a country’s economy, its debt and deficit are considered. Debt it is the loan taken by the government of any country, while the deficit It is the excess of government spending over government revenue.

Here, the debt refers to the government debt, or the national debt and the deficit are the budget deficit. Debt is the final result of the deficit, that is, if there is a continuous deficit in the economy of a country, debt will accumulate. These words will sound the same to a common man, but they have different meanings. In the article presented below, we explain the substantial differences between the deficit and the debt. If debts are piling up, one can go on https://www.iva-advice.co/ to get help with writing off their debts.

Comparative graph

Basis for the comparison Debt Debt

SenseWhen government spending is higher than government revenue, this is known as a deficit.A sum of money that the central government of the country owes to other lenders or countries is known as debt.
What is itWhyEffect
It applies toA yearAll sums due
It representsAnnual indebtedness requirement of the country.The debt accumulated in recent years.
ConstantYes, it can be constant if the government spends money in a planned way.No, it cannot be constant.
The typesStructural and cyclicInternal and external

Deficit Definition

In simple terms, the deficit means a deficit of something. Here, the term represents the excess of expenditure made by the government on its income, during a particular period of time. It is commonly known as a budget deficit .

The government of each country prepares a budget for the next year that shows the income from taxes, fines, tariffs, tariffs, etc., and disbursements in various development activities, such as expenses in infrastructure, education, medicine, defense, technological advances , etc.

If the receipts and disbursements are equal, the budget is said to be balanced. But, if the entries exceed the exits, the budget shows the surplus, while if the exits are greater than the entrances, it shows a budget deficit.

Types of budget deficit

The budget deficit is used to know the government’s liabilities and the financial health of the country. The government can take several measures to counteract the deficit, such as previously planned government spending, increase tax revenues and initiate economic growth.

Debt Definition

Debt shows responsibility. Here we are talking about public debt or national debt. When the government of any country borrows money from the financial institution or other countries, to cover its deficit is known as debt. It is not more than the total sum of the deficit of all previous years.

In order to finance government operations, the government needs money for which it takes the loan, however, it is not the only method to finance activities. Money can be borrowed by issuing treasury bills, securities and other financial assets to lenders. There are two types of government debt, they are:

Types of debt

  • Internal debt : financial assistance taken from lenders, within the country.
  • External debt : financial assistance taken from other countries or global financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the International Development Association (IDA), etc. It has been classified in the following categories:
    • Grants : when the money is taken in the form of grants, the payment of the obligation is not required.
    • We pay : When money is borrowed as a loan, there is an obligation to pay capital and interest as well.

The key differences between deficit and debt

The difference between the budget deficit and the national debt is explained in the following points in detail:

  1. The deficit is defined as the income deficit over the expenses of the country. Debt is the sum of money that the nation’s government owes to others.
  2. The deficit is the main cause of a country’s debt, since when there is a deficit in the budget, the lender, other countries or financial organization take the loan to cover the difference.
  3. The deficit is only for one year, that is, it reflects the excess of government spending over its earnings in a financial year. On the contrary, the debt is the total sum of all the money owed by the government of a country during the last years.
  4. The deficit can be of two types, structural and cyclical, while the debt is classified as internal debt and external debt.
  5. If the government spends its money carefully, then the amount of the deficit may be constant, however, the amount of the debt may not be constant.
  6. The deficit represents the annual total of loans, but the debt represents the total outstanding amount accumulated during the last years.


As we all know, the amount of the increase in the deficit automatically increases the country’s debt with the same amount. However, if there is a reduction in the deficit, it does not mean that there will be a reduction in the debt for the same amount.

You can understand this with an example: if in the year 2013-2014, the deficit of a country is 20 million and in 2014-2015 the deficit is 15 million, this year the deficit of 5 million will be reduced compared to the year previous. last year. But it cannot be said that the country’s debt has also been reduced by 5 million because there is a deficit of 15 million to add to the debt.