Fact The United States has the third highest level of government debt in the world.

Abstract: It’s no secret that debt levels are high world-wide. But to know that the national debt balance of the United States is over 18 trillion dollars is baffling. To know that two other countries, Japan and Ireland, have an even higher debt balance per capita is even more surprising. Find out facts about the economy and national debt right here. It is of use to know how debt is measured, exactly how indebted the U.S. is, and how other countries measure up.

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Our IOU

According to Bloomberg’s latest analysis of government debt, the United States serves as the country with the third highest dollar amount of debt “per capita.” The latter signifies that the total debt amount is allocated to the population of the country. The United States is said to have a $58,604 debt per every person counted in the population – that’s 319.3 million people! You don’t have to do the math because we will lay it out for you – that’s over 18 trillion dollars in government debt! By the end of the year 2015, that number is expected to grow up to 21.7 trillion.

USgovernmentdebt tracks and gathers information about the federal debt. There you can find a debt clock, which will show the gross federal debt of the United States at any given time. Find it here.

How we rank with other countries

The only two countries with a debt higher than the U.S. is Japan and Ireland. Japan comes in first place for the amount of government debt per person, but possesses a much lower GDP than the United States. Its population is also less than half of the U.S. In second place we see Ireland, with the lowest GDP and population out of all three. Other countries included in the report are Canada, ranking at 7, Greece at 12, Spain at 16, and Australia at 22.

What exactly is National Debt?

The U.S. Department of the Treasury breaks down national debt in the following way:

  • public debt : securities issued by the U.S. Treasury. This debt can be held by government accounts or the public.
  • debt held by the public : portion of public debt mentioned above that is held by the public.
  • Gross federal debt : includes the first-mentioned public debt and some securities issued by government agencies.

Note: Any of these types of debts may be used to refer to the national debt. It remains almost a mystery why the national debt is so loosely defined.

See the Treasury’s website for more detailed information.

Side fact : Out of all the states in the United States, California is seen to have the highest debt balance per capita. See how other states rank in the chart below.

Source: Washington Post

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Sources (besides ones that are linked):

http://www.bloomberg.com/visual-data/best-and-worst/#most-government-debt-per-person-countries

http://www.studentdebtrelief.us/forgiveness/obama-student-loan-forgiveness/