We came across a really cool web application over at the Economist: The Global Debt Clock, which visualizes the level of publicly-held debt for nations around the world. The map below shows how much all the governments of the world collectively owe entities other than themselves, according to each government’s public-held debt per capita. As a bonus, we directly compared the United States and Greece in the tables on the right:
We were surprised to find that each nation’s public debt per person was nearly identical, with the U.S. at $36,088 per person and Greece at $36,722 per person. Unfortunately for the failing Greece, its public debt-to-GDP ratio is more than double the same ratio for the U.S.
But that only considers “publicly-held” debt. In reality, the amount of the U.S.’ total public debt is understated because it excludes the money the U.S. government has “borrowed” from Social Security. Adding that debt back in vaults the U.S.’ total public debt outstanding to GDP ratio past 103%.