How Much Government Debt Rests Upon Your Shoulders?  ( Original )
NOV 23, 2016

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

With the U.S. National Debt closing in on the $20 trillion mark, there has been a lot of conversation in Washington about debt and its role in government.

And most of that conversation right now revolves around President-elect Donald Trump. 

On one hand, the Trump campaign had early rhetoric in the Presidential campaign that the elimination of the deficit and existing government debt would be paramount if elected. The Trump administration has also been highly critical of the Federal Reserve, saying that the Fed’s policies create a “false economy”. As a result, some see Trump embracing the unique opportunity to put his stamp on how the Federal Reserve does business in early 2017.

On the other hand, even many conservative think tanks are concerned about what Trump policies mean for government debt. Rebuilding infrastructure is not cheap, and widely-cited estimates see the national debt increasing by anywhere from $5.3 trillion to $11.5 trillion over the next 10 years.


While giant numbers like $20 trillion sound abstract and meaningless, converting them to debt-per-capita can make things more intuitive. Government debt expressed per-capita shows the amount of debt that exists per citizen.

Today’s infographic from, a cost information site, shows government debt-per-capita in every country in the world, including the United States.

Here are the countries where people owe the most debt per person:

  • Japan: $85,694.87 per person
  • Ireland: $67,147.59 per person
  • Singapore: $56,112.75 per person
  • Belgium: $44,202.75 per person
  • United States: $42,503.98 per person
  • Canada: $42,142.61 per person
  • Italy: $40,461.11 per person
  • Iceland: $39,731.65 per person
  • Australia: $38,769.98 per person
  • United Kingdom: $36,206.11 per person

Of course, debt-per-capita isn’t the only lens to view government debt. 

We’ve previously shown global debt by percentage per country, government debt compared to tax revenues, accumulated debt compared to markets and the money supply, and a map scaled to debt-to-GDP ratios.


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