# What is the overall charge of the electron cloud of an atom? Why?

Well, what is the atomic number, $Z$, of the given element?
A given element has an atomic number of $Z$. What does this mean? It means that there are $Z$ positive nuclear charges, and this determines the identity of the element. If the element is neutral, this means that there are precisely $Z$ electrons, and the overall electronic charge is $- Z$. And thus the net ELECTRIC charge of the ATOM is $Z + \left(- Z\right) = 0$, i.e. $\text{zero}$.