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How Americans Make and Spend Their Money

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How do you spend your hard-earned money?

Whether you are extremely frugal, or you’re known to indulge in the finer things in life, how you allocate your spending is partially a function of how much cash you have coming in the door.

Simply put, the more income a household generates, the higher the portion that can be spent on items other than the usual necessities (housing, food, clothing, etc), and the more that can be saved or invested for the future.

Earning and Spending, by Income Group

Today’s visuals come to us from Engaging Data, and they use Sankey diagrams to display data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that helps to paint a picture of how different household income groups make and spend their money.

We’ll show you three charts below for the following income groups:

  1. The Average American
  2. The Lowest Income Quintile (Bottom 20%)
  3. The Highest Income Quintile (Highest 20%)

Let’s start by taking a look at the flows of the average American household:

The Average American Household – $53,708 in spending (73% of total income)

The average U.S. household has 2.5 people (1.3 income earners, 0.6 children, and 0.4 seniors)
Average American Household Earnings and Saving

As you can see above the average household generates $73,574 of total inflows, with 84.4% of that coming from salary, and smaller portions coming from social security (11.3%), dividends and property (2.6%), and other income (1.7%).

In terms of money going out, the highest allocation goes to housing (22.1% of spending), while gas and insurance (9.0%), household (7.7%), and vehicles (7.5%) make up the next largest categories.

Interestingly, the average U.S. household also says it is saving just short of $10,000 per year.

The Bottom 20% – $25,525 in spending (100% of total income)

These contain an average of 1.6 people (0.5 income earners, 0.3 children, and 0.4 seniors)

How do the inflows and outflows of the average American household compare to the lowest income quintile?

Here, the top-level statistic tells much of the story, as the poorest income group in America must spend 100% of money coming in to make ends meet. Further, cash comes in from many different sources, showing that there are fewer dependable sources of income for families to rely on.

For expenditures, this group spends the most on housing (24.8% of spending), while other top costs of living include food at home (10.1%), gas and insurance (7.9%), health insurance (6.9%), and household costs (6.9%).

The Highest 20% – $99,639 in spending (53% of total income)

These contain an average of 3.1 people (2.1 income earners, 0.8 children, and 0.2 seniors)

The wealthiest household segment brings in $188,102 in total income on average, with salaries (92.1%) being the top source of inflows.

This group spends just over half of its income, with top expenses being housing (21.6%), vehicles (8.3%), household costs (8.2%), gas and insurance (8.2%), and entertainment (6.9%).

The highest quintile pays just short of $40,000 in federal, state, and local taxes per year, and is also able to contribute roughly $50,000 to savings each year.

Spending Over Time

For a fascinating look at how household spending has changed over time, don’t forget to check out our previous post that charts 75 years of data on how Americans spend money.

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Visualizing $97 Trillion of Global Debt in 2023

Global debt has soared since the pandemic. Which countries have the biggest stockpile of debt outstanding in 2023?

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Visualizing $97 Trillion of Government Debt in 2023

Global government debt is projected to hit $97.1 trillion this year, a 40% increase since 2019.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments introduced sweeping financial measures to support the job market and prevent a wave of bankruptcies. However, this has exposed vulnerabilities as higher interest rates are amplifying borrowing costs.

This graphic shows global debt by country in 2023, based on projections from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Debt by Country in 2023

Below, we rank countries by their general government gross debt, or the financial liabilities owed by each country:

CountryGross Debt (B)% of World TotalDebt to GDP
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.$33,228.934.2%123.3%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China$14,691.715.1%83.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan$10,797.211.1%255.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง UK$3,468.73.6%104.1%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France$3,353.93.5%110.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy$3,141.43.2%143.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India$3,056.73.1%81.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany$2,919.33.0%65.9%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada$2,253.32.3%106.4%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brazil$1,873.71.9%88.1%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain$1,697.51.7%107.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mexico$954.61.0%52.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท South Korea$928.11.0%54.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia$875.90.9%51.9%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore$835.00.9%167.9%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium$665.20.7%106.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Argentina$556.50.6%89.5%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Indonesia$552.80.6%39.0%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands$540.90.6%49.5%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland$419.40.4%49.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท Greece$407.20.4%168.0%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Tรผrkiye$397.20.4%34.4%
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Russia$394.80.4%21.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น Austria$393.60.4%74.8%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ Egypt$369.30.4%92.7%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland$357.70.4%39.5%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand$314.50.3%61.4%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Israel$303.60.3%58.2%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น Portugal$299.40.3%108.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ Malaysia$288.30.3%66.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa$280.70.3%73.7%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฐ Pakistan$260.90.3%76.6%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Saudi Arabia$257.70.3%24.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland$251.70.3%42.7%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ Philippines$250.90.3%57.6%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland$225.00.2%73.6%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway$204.50.2%37.4%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด Colombia$200.10.2%55.0%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan$200.00.2%26.6%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Sweden$192.90.2%32.3%
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด Romania$178.70.2%51.0%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฉ Bangladesh$175.90.2%39.4%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Ukraine$152.80.2%88.1%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic$152.20.2%45.4%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Nigeria$151.30.2%38.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช UAE$149.70.2%29.4%
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ Vietnam$147.30.2%34.0%
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ Hungary$140.00.1%68.7%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Chile$132.20.1%38.4%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark$126.70.1%30.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ถ Iraq$125.50.1%49.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Algeria$123.50.1%55.1%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand$115.00.1%46.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท Iran$112.10.1%30.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Morocco$102.70.1%69.7%
๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Qatar$97.50.1%41.4%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ช Peru$89.70.1%33.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ด Angola$79.60.1%84.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ช Kenya$79.10.1%70.2%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Slovakia$75.40.1%56.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ด Dominican Republic$72.10.1%59.8%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡จ Ecuador$65.90.1%55.5%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Sudan$65.50.1%256.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ญ Ghana$65.10.1%84.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Kazakhstan$60.70.1%23.4%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡น Ethiopia$59.00.1%37.9%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ญ Bahrain$54.50.1%121.2%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ท Costa Rica$53.90.1%63.0%
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท Croatia$51.20.1%63.8%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡พ Uruguay$47.00.0%61.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด Jordan$46.90.0%93.8%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Slovenia$46.80.0%68.5%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Cรดte d'Ivoire$45.10.0%56.8%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฆ Panama$43.50.0%52.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Myanmar$43.00.0%57.5%
๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ฒ Oman$41.40.0%38.2%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ณ Tunisia$39.90.0%77.8%
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ Serbia$38.50.0%51.3%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ด Bolivia$37.80.0%80.8%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฟ Tanzania$35.80.0%42.6%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Uzbekistan$31.70.0%35.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ Zimbabwe$30.90.0%95.4%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พ Belarus$30.40.0%44.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡น Guatemala$29.10.0%28.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡น Lithuania$28.70.0%36.1%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ป El Salvador$25.80.0%73.0%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Uganda$25.30.0%48.3%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ณ Senegal$25.20.0%81.0%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ Cyprus$25.20.0%78.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ Luxembourg$24.60.0%27.6%
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Hong Kong SAR$23.50.0%6.1%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฌ Bulgaria$21.70.0%21.0%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Cameroon$20.60.0%41.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Mozambique$19.70.0%89.7%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ท Puerto Rico$19.60.0%16.7%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต Nepal$19.30.0%46.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป Latvia$18.90.0%40.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ Iceland$18.70.0%61.2%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡พ Paraguay$18.10.0%40.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Lao P.D.R.$17.30.0%121.7%
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ณ Honduras$15.70.0%46.3%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฌ Papua New Guinea$15.70.0%49.5%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡น Trinidad and Tobago$14.60.0%52.5%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Albania$14.50.0%62.9%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Republic of Congo$14.10.0%97.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Azerbaijan$14.10.0%18.2%
๐Ÿ‡พ๐Ÿ‡ช Yemen$14.00.0%66.4%
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Jamaica$13.60.0%72.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ณ Mongolia$13.10.0%69.9%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ซ Burkina Faso$12.70.0%61.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Gabon$12.50.0%64.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ช Georgia$11.90.0%39.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡บ Mauritius$11.80.0%79.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Armenia$11.80.0%47.9%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ธ Bahamas$11.70.0%84.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Mali$11.00.0%51.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น Malta$11.00.0%54.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ Cambodia$10.90.0%35.3%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฏ Benin$10.60.0%53.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ผ Malawi$10.40.0%78.6%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช Estonia$9.00.0%21.6%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Democratic Republic of Congo$9.00.0%13.3%
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ผ Rwanda$8.80.0%63.3%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Namibia$8.50.0%67.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Madagascar$8.50.0%54.0%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ช Niger$8.30.0%48.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฐ North Macedonia$8.20.0%51.6%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ Bosnia and Herzegovina$7.70.0%28.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ป Maldives$7.70.0%110.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ณ Guinea$7.30.0%31.6%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Nicaragua$7.20.0%41.5%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ง Barbados$7.20.0%115.0%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฌ Togo$6.10.0%67.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Kyrgyz Republic$6.00.0%47.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Moldova$5.60.0%35.1%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฉ Chad$5.40.0%43.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ผ Kuwait$5.40.0%3.4%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท Mauritania$5.10.0%49.5%
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡น Haiti$5.10.0%19.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡พ Guyana$4.90.0%29.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ช Montenegro$4.60.0%65.8%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฏ Fiji$4.60.0%83.6%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฒ Turkmenistan$4.20.0%5.1%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฏ Tajikistan$4.00.0%33.5%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ผ Botswana$3.90.0%18.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ถ Equatorial Guinea$3.80.0%38.3%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ท Suriname$3.80.0%107.0%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ธ South Sudan$3.80.0%60.4%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡น Bhutan$3.30.0%123.4%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ผ Aruba$3.20.0%82.9%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Sierra Leone$3.10.0%88.9%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ป Cabo Verde$2.90.0%113.1%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฎ Burundi$2.30.0%72.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท Liberia$2.30.0%52.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฝ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Kosovo$2.20.0%21.3%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Eswatini$2.00.0%42.4%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฟ Belize$1.90.0%59.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡จ Saint Lucia$1.80.0%74.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Gambia$1.70.0%72.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฏ Djibouti$1.60.0%41.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Antigua and Barbuda$1.60.0%80.5%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฒ San Marino$1.50.0%74.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ผ Guinea-Bissau$1.50.0%73.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ธ Lesotho$1.50.0%61.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Andorra$1.40.0%37.7%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ซ Central African Republic$1.40.0%50.1%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡จ Seychelles$1.30.0%60.8%
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡จ Saint Vincent and the Grenadines$0.90.0%86.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Grenada$0.80.0%60.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Dominica$0.70.0%93.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ณ Saint Kitts and Nevis$0.60.0%53.2%
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡บ Vanuatu$0.50.0%46.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Comoros$0.50.0%33.3%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡น Sรฃo Tomรฉ and Prรญncipe$0.40.0%58.5%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ง Solomon Islands$0.40.0%22.2%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ณ Brunei Darussalam$0.30.0%2.3%
๐Ÿ‡ผ๐Ÿ‡ธ Samoa$0.30.0%36.2%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฑ Timor-Leste$0.30.0%16.4%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ผ Palau$0.20.0%85.4%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ด Tonga$0.20.0%41.1%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Micronesia$0.10.0%12.5%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ญ Marshall Islands$0.10.0%18.1%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ท Nauru<$0.10.0%29.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Kiribati<$0.10.0%13.1%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ป Tuvalu<$0.10.0%8.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ด Macao SAR<$0.10.0%0.0%
๐ŸŒ World$97,129.8100%93.0%

With $33.2 trillion in government debt, the U.S. makes up over a third of the world total.

Given the increasing debt load, the cost of servicing this debt now accounts for 20% of government spending. It is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2028, surpassing the total spent on defense.

The worldโ€™s third-biggest economy, Japan, has one of the highest debt to GDP ratios, at 255%. Over the last two decades, its national debt has far exceeded 100% of its GDP, driven by an aging population and social security expenses.

In 2023, Egypt faces steep borrowing costs, with 40% of revenues going towards debt repayments. It has the highest debt on the continent.

Like Egypt, several emerging economies are facing strain. Lebanon has been in default since 2020, and Ghana defaulted on the majority of its external debtโ€”debt owed to foreign lendersโ€”in 2022 amid a deepening economic crisis.

Global Debt: A Regional Perspective

How does debt compare on a regional level in 2023?

RegionGross Debt (B)% of World TotalDebt to GDP
North America$36,451.837.5%117.6%
Asia and Pacific$34,257.435.3%92.5%
Europe$20,123.420.7%79.1%
South America$3,164.93.3%77.2%
Africa $1,863.61.9%65.2%
Other/Rest of World$1,269.11.3%31.4%

We can see that North America has both the highest debt and debt to GDP compared to other regions. Just as U.S. debt has ballooned, so has Canadaโ€™sโ€”ranking as the 10th-highest globally in government debt outstanding.

Across Asia and the Pacific, debt levels hover close to North America.

At 3.3% of the global total, South America has $3.2 trillion in debt. As inflation has trended downwards, a handful of governments have already begun cutting interest rates. Overall, public debt levels are projected to stay elevated across the region.

Debt levels have also risen rapidly in Africa, with an average 40% of public debt held in foreign currenciesโ€”leaving it exposed to exchange rate fluctuations. Another challenge is that interest rates are also higher across the region compared to advanced economies, increasing debt-servicing costs.

By 2028, the IMF projects that global public debt will exceed 100% of GDP, hitting levels only seen during the pandemic.

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