US National Debt Clock

The National Debt Clock is a billboard-sized running total display which constantly updates to show the current United States gross national debt and each American family’s share of the debt. It is currently installed on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. It was the first debt clock installed.

The idea for the clock came from New York real estate developer Seymour Durst, who wanted to highlight the rising national debt. In 1989, he sponsored the installation of the first clock, which was originally placed on Sixth Avenue—between 42nd Street and 43rd Street—one block away from Times Square. At the time, the national debt remained under $3 trillion but was rising. The clock was temporarily switched off from 2000 to 2002 due to the debt actually falling during that period.

In 2004, the original clock was dismantled and replaced by the current clock at the new location one block away. In 2008, the U.S. national debt exceeded $10 trillion for the first time, leading to press reports that the clock had run out of digits.

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