Global Public Debt Growing at an Astonishing Rate

The Economist’s Daily Chart feature provides this compelling graphic of debt levels around the world, from which any number of conclusions can be drawn. Note that the image below is public debt per person rather than any of the other three choices that are equally interesting.

Obviously, this is an interactive graphic, one that is well worth spending a little time fooling around with if for no other reason than to flip back and forth between “Public debt per person” and “Public debt as % of GDP”, but what’s really shocking about this data is the rate of growth of public debt.

Going all the way back to 2001, the average annual increase in global public debt is over 9 percent and, just going back to the start of the financial crisis, public debt has increased at an average of over 11 percent per year, numbers that provide a new perspective on the word “unsustainable”.

3 Responses to Global Public Debt Growing at an Astonishing Rate

  1. richtoscano September 10, 2012 at 2:37 PM #

    The US data is way off… this purports to measure gross public debt but has the US at 71% of GDP… the correct figure is over 100%.

    • Tim September 10, 2012 at 6:10 PM #

      I guess they’re not including the social security chunk for some reason.

  2. richtoscano September 11, 2012 at 12:10 AM #

    You are probably right, but they say right there at the bottom of the page that it measures gross debt… gross debt by definition includes the social security chunk. So the data is wrong, and by mixing gross and net debt for various nations, they are comparing apples to oranges… pretty strange coming from the Economist (like yourself, I am generally a fan of theirs).

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