The 10 Countries Deepest in Debt

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10. United Kingdom
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 80.9%
> General government debt: $1.99 trillion
> GDP per capita (PPP): $35,860
> Nominal GDP: $2.46 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 8.4%
> Credit rating: Aaa

Although the UK has one of the largest debt-to-GDP ratios among developed nations, it has managed to keep its economy relatively stable. The UK is not part of the eurozone and has its own independent central bank. The UK’s independence has helped protect it from being engulfed in the European debt crisis. Government bond yields have remained low. The country also has retained its Aaa credit rating, reflecting its secure financial standing.

9. Germany
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 81.8%
> General government debt: $2.79 trillion
> GDP per capita (PPP): $37,591
> Nominal GDP: $3.56 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 5.5%
> Credit rating: Aaa

As the largest economy and financial stronghold of the EU, Germany has the most interest in maintaining debt stability for itself and the entire eurozone. In 2010, when Greece was on the verge of defaulting on its debt, the IMF and EU were forced to implement a 45 billion euro bailout package. A good portion of the bill was footed by Germany. The country has a perfect credit rating and an unemployment rate of just 5.5%, one of the lowest in Europe. Despite its relatively strong economy, Germany will have one of the largest debt-to-GDP ratios among developed nations of 81.8%, according to Moody’s projections.

8. France
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 85.4%
> General government debt: $2.26 trillion
> GDP per capita (PPP): $33,820
> Nominal GDP: $2.76 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 9.9%
> Credit rating: Aaa

France is the third-biggest economy in the EU, with a GDP of $2.76 trillion, just shy of the UK’s $2.46 trillion. In January, after being long-considered one of the more economically stable countries, Standard & Poor’s downgraded French sovereign debt from a perfect AAA to AA+. This came at the same time eight other euro nations, including Spain, Portugal and Italy, were also downgraded. S&P’s action represented a serious blow to the government, which had been claiming its economy as stable as the UK’s. Moody’s still rates the country at Aaa, the highest rating, but changed the country’s outlook to negative on Monday.

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7. United States
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 85.5%
> General government debt: $12.8 trillion
> GDP per capita (PPP): $47,184
> Nominal GDP: $15.13 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 8.3%
> Credit rating: Aaa

U.S. government debt in 2001 was estimated at 45.6% of total GDP. By 2011, after a decade of increased government spending, U.S. debt was 85.5% of GDP. In 2001, U.S. government expenditure as a percent of GDP was 33.1%. By 2010, is was 39.1%. In 2005, U.S. debt was $6.4 trillion. By 2011, U.S. debt has doubled to $12.8 trillion, according to Moody’s estimates. While Moody’s still rates the U.S. at a perfect Aaa, last August Standard & Poor’s downgraded the country from AAA to AA+.

6. Belgium

> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 97.2%
> General government debt: $479 billion
> GDP per capita (PPP): $37,448
> Nominal GDP: $514 billion
> Unemployment rate: 7.2%
> Credit rating: Aa1

Belgium’s public debt-to-GDP ratio peaked in 1993 at about 135%, but was subsequently reduced to about 84% by 2007. In just four years, the ratio has risen to nearly 95%. In December 2011, Moody’s downgraded Belgium’s local and foreign currency government bonds from Aa1 to Aa3. In its explanation of the downgrade, the rating agency cited “the growing risk to economic growth created by the need for tax hikes or spending cuts.” In January of this year, the country was forced to make about $1.3 billion in spending cuts, according to The Financial Times, to avoid failing “to meet new European Union fiscal rules designed to prevent a repeat of the eurozone debt crisis.”