$63 Trillion of World Debt in One Visualization
If you add up all the money that national governments have borrowed, it tallies to a hefty $63 trillion.
In an ideal situation, governments are just borrowing this money to cover short-term budget deficits or to finance mission critical projects. However, around the globe, countries have taken to the idea of running constant deficits as the normal course of business, and too much accumulation of debt is not healthy for countries or the global economy as a whole.
The U.S. is a prime example of “debt creep” – the country hasn’t posted an annual budget surplus since 2001, when the federal debt was only $6.9 trillion (54% of GDP). Fast forward to today, and the debt has ballooned to roughly $20 trillion (107% of GDP), which is equal to 31.8% of the world’s sovereign debt nominally.
The World Debt Leaderboard
In today’s infographic, we look at two major measures: (1) Share of global debt as a percentage, and (2) Debt-to-GDP.
Let’s look at the top five “leaders” in each category, starting with share of global debt on a nominal basis:
|Rank||Countries||Debt ($B)||% of Global Debt||Debt-to-GDP|
Together, just these five countries together hold 66% of the world’s debt in nominal terms – good for a total of $41.6 trillion.
Next, here’s the top five for Debt-to-GDP:
|Rank||Country||Debt ($B)||% of Global Debt||Debt-to-GDP|
While only Italy and Japan here are considered major economies on a global scale, the high debt levels of countries like Greece or Portugal are also important to monitor.
In the IMF’s baseline scenario, Greece’s government debt will reach 275% of its GDP by 2060, when its financing needs will represent 62% of GDP.
A recent IMF report, obtained by Bloomberg
Greece, for example, is continuing along a particularly unsustainable path – and external creditors are getting stingier. Most recently, both the IMF and Greece’s euro-area creditors have demanded for the country to implement a law that automatically introduces austerity measures if a budget surplus of 3.5% of GDP isn’t hit.
While Greece has dismissed such demands as “unacceptable”, the country – along with many others around the globe – will have to accept that constant debt accumulation has eventual consequences.
Charted: Public Trust in the Federal Reserve
Public trust in the Federal Reserve chair has hit its lowest point in 20 years. Get the details in this infographic.
Charted: Public Trust in the Federal Reserve
Each year, Gallup conducts a survey of American adults on various economic topics, including the country’s central bank, the Federal Reserve.
More specifically, respondents are asked how much confidence they have in the current Fed chairman to do or recommend the right thing for the U.S. economy. We’ve visualized these results from 2001 to 2023 to see how confidence levels have changed over time.
Methodology and Results
The data used in this infographic is also listed in the table below. Percentages reflect the share of respondents that have either a “great deal” or “fair amount” of confidence.
|Year||Fed chair||% Great deal or Fair amount|
Data for 2023 collected April 3-25, with this statement put to respondents: “Please tell me how much confidence you have [in the Fed chair] to recommend the right thing for the economy.”
We can see that trust in the Federal Reserve has fluctuated significantly in recent years.
For example, under Alan Greenspan, trust was initially high due to the relative stability of the economy. The burst of the dotcom bubble—which some attribute to Greenspan’s easy credit policies—resulted in a sharp decline.
On the flip side, public confidence spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was likely due to Jerome Powell’s decisive actions to provide support to the U.S. economy throughout the crisis.
Measures implemented by the Fed include bringing interest rates to near zero, quantitative easing (buying government bonds with newly-printed money), and emergency lending programs to businesses.
Confidence Now on the Decline
After peaking at 58%, those with a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the Fed chair have tumbled to 36%, the lowest number in 20 years.
This is likely due to Powell’s hard stance on fighting post-pandemic inflation, which has involved raising interest rates at an incredible speed. While these rate hikes may be necessary, they also have many adverse effects:
- Negative impact on the stock market
- Increases the burden for those with variable-rate debts
- Makes mortgages and home buying less affordable
Energy3 weeks ago
What Electricity Sources Power the World?
Technology6 days ago
Which Companies Own the Most Satellites?
Markets3 weeks ago
The 25 Worst Stocks by Shareholder Wealth Losses (1926-2022)
Mining5 days ago
200 Years of Global Gold Production, by Country
China4 weeks ago
Charted: Youth Unemployment in the OECD and China
Technology2 weeks ago
Visualizing Google’s Search Engine Market Share
United States5 days ago
Mapped: How Much Does it Take to be the Top 1% in Each U.S. State?
Markets4 weeks ago
The Monthly Cost of Buying vs. Renting a House in America