Comparing Public Debts

And while we’re on the subject of public debt it might be entertaining to compare the public debts and GDP’s of various OECD countries:

Country GDP ($T) Public debt ($T) Percent

France 1.87 1.21 64.7%
Germany 2.59

1.93 63.8%
Italy 1.8 1.9 105.3%
Japan 4.28 7.53 176%
United Kingdom 2.77 .864 31.2%
United States 13.81 9.67 70%


Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. Brett says:

    Poor Japan, with national debt at nearly 200% of the GDP. It really hurts them; they can’t do anything that might raise interest rates, otherwise the government will probably collapse under the fiscal burden of servicing the loans.

  2. Steve Plunk says:

    I would like to see publicly owned assets thrown into that chart. The United States government owns huge amounts of acreage and their resources. I also wonder if this chart includes the newly acquired debts of Fannie and Freddie (I assume it does). If we are going to include those debts should we not include the assets that match them?

    There is a tangible difference between debt that is secured by assets and debt that has no associated assets. So while the chart is interesting it is incomplete enough to not be useful and perhaps even misleading.

  3. bob in fla says:

    Some of these figures appear to be out of date. Our new debt ceiling was just raised to $11.315T to reflect the current (defeated) bailout. My guess is the Fannie, Freddy, & AIG bailouts are not included in the figure shown.