The Debt as a Percentage of Gross Domestic Product

How does the United States debt compare to that of other countries? Below is a table with public debt data from selected countries around the world. Note that the public debt is shown. This is different from the overall debt. The public debt only includes debt to the public (households and businesses) and excludes intergovernmental debt. If governmental debt were included, the numbers for most countries would increase by approximately one-third.

The table shows that in 2016 (latest year reported by many countries) the public debt as a percentage of nominal GDP in the United States is close to the average public debt of other industrialized countries. China, South Korea, Russia, and Algeria have lower debts as a percentage of their economy (nominal GDP). Greece, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Egypt, France, and Canada all have higher-percentage debts. Germany, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have percentage debts that are close to that of the United States. In a complete list of 150 countries, the United States ranks as the 43rd highest public debt holder (42 countries have more public debt and 107 have less public debt as a percentage of their nominal GDP). In the table below you can see that Japan had the highest public debt percentage with 235%. Greece and Italy take the silver and bronze respectively with 182% and 133%.

 

Country Fiscal Year 2005 Public Debt as a Percentage of nominal GDP *
(rounded to the nearest whole number)
Fiscal Year 2007 Public Debt as a Percentage of nominal GDP *
(rounded to the nearest whole number)
Fiscal Year 2008 Public Debt as a Percentage of nominal GDP * (rounded to the nearest whole number) Fiscal Year 2011 Public Debt as a Percentage of nominal GDP * (rounded to the nearest whole number) Fiscal Year 2012 Public Debt as a Percentage of nominal GDP * (rounded to the nearest whole number)  Fiscal Year 2014 Public Debt as a Percentage of nominal GDP * (rounded to the nearest whole number)** Fiscal Year 2016 Public Debt as a Percentage of nominal GDP * (rounded to the nearest whole number)**
United States 36 37 70 66 70 71 79
Algeria 30 10 14 8 8 8 17
Brazil 52 44 41 54 59 59 72
Canada 70 64 62 84 85 93 99
China 24 19 16 39 32 22 20
Egypt 105 105 85 84 88 94 93
France 66 67 67 86 90 96 97
Germany 67 65 63 80 81 75 69
Greece 84 83 92 170 157 175 182
Hong Kong 2 10 15 39 38 37 38
India 54 59 78 51 52 51 52
Iran 29 23 25 14 18 11 12
Israel 100 82 76 69 67 67 62
Italy 109 106 104 121 127 134 133
Japan 158 194 170 211 219 228 235
Korea (South) 20 33 33 36 35 37 46
Mexico 17 23 20 35 36 41 50
Netherlands 53 48 43 65 71 69 57
Pakistan 54 54 50 49 52 64 59
Russia 13 7 7 8 8 13 14
Saudi Arabia 44 23 14 11 12 2 31
Singapore 103 101 114 106 111 107 111
South Africa 36 28 30 40 42 47 43
Sweden 50 42 37 39 38 40 41
Taiwan 34 31 31 35 36 37 33
Turkey 68 58 37 40 38 37 33
United Kingdom 41 43 47 84 89 87 92
Venezuela 34 27 17 25 27 51 37

* Public debt includes only debt held by the public, the Federal Reserve and foreign, state and local governments. Any debt that is held by federal government entities (Social Security and Medicare trust funds)  is excluded. If all forms of debt were included, the percentage for most countries would increase by approximately one-third.
** Some 2016 data are estimates as not all countries have released final statistics for 2016 or beyond.
Source: CIA World Fact Book. For a direct link, please visit
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2186.html