National debt levels can be hard to understand, not to mention boring.
Just to make things clear…
The National or Government debt is the amount owed by the government.
The Australian Office of Financial Management, which is part of the Treasury Portfolio, is the agency which manages the government debt and does all the borrowing on behalf of the Australian government.
The level of Australian government tends to make the headlines, but how do we compare to the rest of the world and who cares about all this stuff anyway?
As you can see below with government debt of $22,200 per person Australia is not fairing badly.
HowMuch.net created a graph to break it down in layman’s terms…
For instance, if Americans wanted to completely eliminate their national debt, they would each owe $61,539.
They created a series of donut circles: the larger the circle, the higher the per capita debt ratio.
They then colour-coded each one to correspond with a sliding scale of severity.
Dark red means the country is in serious trouble with over $75K in per capita debt, while blue countries on the outside have less than $10K of debt per capita.
Comparing the debt loads of different countries on a per capita basis makes the most sense for a few different reasons.
It’s like comparing apples to apples.
That’s why the United States can run a $63 billion deficit which barely makes the news on Reuters—but missing $900 million in debt payments from Venezuela causes that country’s entire economy to tailspin.
This makes the comparisons between countries fair.
Japan is at the center of our graph because that country has the highest per capita debt anywhere in the world at $90,345.
There isn’t a country on earth where average people make nearly that much money on an annual basis.
Ireland takes second place at $62,687 followed by the United States in third with $61,539.
That’s almost twice as much as the average American taxpayer who files as a single adult makes in an entire year.
Take a look at one country on the far outside of our graph, China.
The Chinese government has managed to create so much economic growth (which may finally be slowing down) while only amassing $7,119 in per capita public debt.
Granted, China is the most populated country on the planet.
That’s still an amazing accomplishment given how much modernisation the country has undergone.
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