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Compare the Federal Debt of the United States to Other Countries

How does the United States compare to countries of similar size and gross domestic product? Explore the chart, which shows the total debt of the United States compared to 169 other countries listed in the CIA World Factbook. You can compare total debt (in dollars) and debt as a percent of gross domestic product. Find a country of interest and see for yourself. For instance, while the U.S. federal debt was greater than that of China and Japan combined, it ranked 19th in debt to gross domestic product. Because the U.S. government has more money coming in and going out than any other country, it helps to compare the debt of the U.S. government to other countries based on the size of their economies. To ensure an accurate comparison, 2017 debt data is used in this section, not current fiscal year data.

Please note that the countries depicted in this chart have different forms of government, and these differences may impact the scope of finances reported by each country.

Country Comparison

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Data Sources and Methodology

This visualization was created using the Monthly Statement of the Public Debt (MSPD) as the data source for federal government debt of the United States. Gross domestic product (GDP) figures come from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Economic Outlook Database (WEOD). Debt figures for countries other than the United States also come from the IMF WEOD. Since debt figures were provided in the national currency for the selected countries, the numbers were subsequently converted to U.S. dollars. Currency conversion rates were pulled from for September 30, 2017; the last day of the U.S. federal government's fiscal year.

The conversion of debt figures to U.S. dollars makes comparisons among countries more convenient. However, the implied burden of debt may be misrepresented for a given country if the majority of that nation's debt was denominated in a currency other than U.S. dollars, and the currency in which the debt was held had an abnormal valuation relative to the U.S. dollar on the date of currency conversion.

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