$60 Trillion of World Debt in One Visualization
Two weeks ago, we published a post showing the world economy in one visualization. In the corresponding comments section, a user asked us if we could put together a similar visualization but instead honing in on world debt.
Today’s visualization breaks down $59.7 trillion of world debt by country, as well as highlighting each country’s debt-to-GDP ratio using colour. The data comes from the IMF and only covers public government debt. It excludes the debt of country’s citizens and businesses, as well as unfunded liabilities which are not yet technically incurred yet. All figures are based on USD.
The numbers that stand out the most, especially when comparing to the previous world economy graphic:
- The United States constitutes 23.3% of the world economy but 29.1% of world debt. It’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 103.4% using IMF figures.
- Japan makes up only 6.18% of total economic production, but has amounted 19.99% of global debt.
- China, the world’s second largest economy (and largest by other measures), accounts for 13.9% of production. They only have 6.25% of world debt and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 39.4%.
- 7 of the 15 countries with the most total debt are European. Together, excluding Russia, the European continent holds over 26% of total world debt.
Combining the debt of the United States, Japan, and Europe together accounts for 75% of total global debt.
Ranked: The World’s 50 Top Countries by GDP, by Sector Breakdown
This graphic shows GDP by country, broken down into three main sectors: services, industry, and agriculture.
Visualized: The Three Pillars of GDP, by Country
Over the last several decades, the service sector has fueled the economic activity of the world’s largest countries. Driving this trend has been changes in consumption, the easing of trade barriers, and rapid advancements in tech.
We can see this in the gross domestic product (GDP) breakdown of each country, which gets divided into three broad sectors: services, industry, and agriculture.
The above graphic from Pranav Gavali shows GDP by country, and how each sector contributes to an economy’s output, with data from the World Bank.
Drivers of GDP, by Country
As the most important and fastest growing component of GDP, services make up almost 60% of GDP in the world’s 50 largest countries. Following this is the industrial sector which includes the production of raw goods.
Below, we show how each sector contributes to GDP by country as of 2021:
|🇰🇷 South Korea||57.0||32.4||1.8||8.8||$1.8|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||46.5||44.7||2.7||6.1||$0.8|
|🇭🇰 Hong Kong||89.7||6.0||0.1||4.3||$0.4|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||63.0||24.5||2.5||10.0||$0.4|
Industrial sector includes construction. Agriculture sector includes forestry and fishing. *Data as of 2019.
In the U.S., services make up nearly 78% of GDP. Apart from Hong Kong, it comprises the highest share of GDP across the world’s largest economies. Roughly 80% of American jobs in the private sector are in services, spanning from healthcare and entertainment to finance and logistics.
Like America, a growing share of China’s GDP is from services, contributing to almost 54% of total economic output, up from 44% in 2010. This can be attributed to rising incomes and higher productivity in the sector as the economy has grown and matured, among other factors.
In a departure from the top 10 biggest countries globally, agriculture continues to drive a large portion of India’s GDP. India is the world’s second largest producer of wheat and rice, with agriculture accounting for 44% of the country’s employment.
While the services sector has grown in India, it makes up a greater share in other emerging economies such as Brazil (58%), Mexico (59%), and the Philippines (61%).
Services-led growth has risen faster than manufacturing across many developing nations, underpinned by productivity growth.
This structural shift is seen across economies. In many countries in Africa, for instance, jobs have increasingly moved from agriculture to services and trade, where it now accounts for 42% of jobs.
These growth patterns are supported by rising incomes in developing economies, while innovation in tech is lowering barriers to enabling service growth. As the industrial sector makes up a lower share of trade and economic activity, the service sector is projected to make up 77% of global GDP by 2035.
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