2011: Osama bin Laden killed
- Budget deficit: $1.3 trillion (8.4% of GDP)
- Total U.S. debt: $14.8 trillion (95.2% of GDP)
President Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida, resulting from a Pakistan military operation in May. The same year, protestors took to the streets of New York to rally against economic inequality in the movement called Occupy Wall Street.
2012: Hurricane Sandy hits
- Budget deficit: $1.1 trillion (6.7% of GDP)
- Total U.S. debt: $16.1 trillion (99.2% of GDP)
The largest Atlantic hurricane on record, with winds measuring diameters of 900 miles, Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states along the East Coast and caused more than $70 billion in damages. The same year, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting resulted in 28 deaths, including the gunman.
2013: Boston Marathon bombing
- Budget deficit: $679.5 billion (4% of GDP)
- Total U.S. debt: $16.7 trillion (99.7% of GDP)
Three people were killed and several hundred injured when two Chechnya-born brothers detonated homemade pressure cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The same year, Congress shut down for 16 days in October, when its members couldn’t agree on a budget for the next fiscal year. The shutdown affected hundreds of thousands of government employees.
2014: Retail cannabis sales begin
- Budget deficit: $484.6 billion (2.8% of GDP)
- Total U.S. debt: $17.8 trillion (101.7% of GDP)
To the delight of marijuana users, Colorado became the first state to allow the retail sale of recreational cannabis in 2014. The same year, One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center, opened in New York City.
2015: U.S. and Cuba reestablish relationship
- Budget deficit: $438.4 billion (2.4% of GDP)
- Total U.S. debt: $18.2 trillion (99.5% of GDP)
After 54 years of hostility, the United States and Cuba called a truce in 2015, and reestablished diplomatic relations, reopening the embassies in each country’s capital.
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2016: Donald Trump is elected
- Budget deficit: $587.4 billion (3.1% of GDP)
- Total U.S. debt: $19.6 trillion (104.4% of GDP)
In March, President Obama visited Cuba, the first time a U.S. president had been to Cuba since President Calvin Coolidge was there in 1928. And in November, Donald Trump was elected president.
2017: Las Vegas shooting
- Budget deficit: $665.7 billion (3.4% of GDP)
- Total U.S. debt: $20.2 trillion (103.6% of GDP)
The deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman occurred in October, when Stephen Paddock fired from his hotel room into a Las Vegas crowd, killing 59 people, and injuring 868. The same year, Category 4 Hurricane Harvey struck the Houston area, causing devastating floods. Damages totaled $125 billion, and deaths numbered more than 100.
2018: Government shutdown
- Budget deficit: $779 billion (3.8% of GDP)
- Total U.S. debt: $21.5 trillion (104.4% of GDP)
In response to a disagreement over Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA), the federal government shut down for two days in January. The same year, Facebook lost $109 billion of market value in one day when the company told investors that user growth slowed after a data leak scandal.
2019: 737 MAX grounded
- Budget deficit: $984.4 billion (4.6% of GDP)
- Total U.S. debt: $22.7 trillion (106% of GDP)
After two fatal crashes which killed 346 people, the United States grounded all Boeing 737 MAX airplanes until the plane’s software system could be fixed. The same year, Hurricane Barry hit the Gulf Coast, causing more than $500 million in damages.
2020: The coronavirus pandemic strikes
- Budget deficit: $3.7 trillion
- Total U.S. debt: TBD
In January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced 59 cases of coronavirus-related pneumonia in Wuhan, China. By the end of January, WHO declared a public health emergency. As of Sept. 9, there have been more than 27 million reported COVID-19 cases and more than 903,000 deaths worldwide.
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