Talk:List of countries by external debt

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In the present table, 7th April 2015, Debt % GDP have been swapped. Ireland is over 100%GDP Spain's around 100%. Please correct. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sanmartinian (talkcontribs) 19:09, 7 April 2015 (UTC)


Why does Sweden appear twice? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Sweden per capita is wrong. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:18, 26 March 2017 (UTC)

Confusion between External Debt and Public Debt[edit]

EVERYONE READ THIS FIRST - the data in the entry is being misjudged by confused people!— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:25, 30 September 2011

So many people have been confused between "External Debt" and "Public Debt", and current version seems to partially include the data for "Public Debt" but not "External Debt". I prepared the diagram below to explain the difference between them. Please be aware of this difference before you actually post your edit. Thanks Silver edu (talk) 17:47, 26 September 2011 (UTC) The structure of nation's debt.png

List not functioning[edit]

The little arrow button to organise the table by % (last column) doesn't really work properly listing 1, 10, 100, before the 2, 20, 200 as opposed to 1,2,10,20,100,200 etc... can anyone fix? Stephenjh (talk) 19:56, 18 January 2011 (UTC) It takes two baby — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:15, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

UK and US[edit]

Someone put in the wrong data (about public debt) for these two countries and referred to an article where a list of countries by public debt is given. Public debt is not external debt. The external debt of the UK stands at 417% of GDP and that of the US at about 110% of GDP —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:47, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

I have added an explanatory note above the table since this is a pretty common mistake to make, given that the two figures are numerically so similar. This table ("external debt") has fairly little relevance to the current discussions on the public debt crises and debt ceilings. Jcarnelian (talk) 06:18, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

The debt figures for US are public debt figures and not external debt (or foreign debt) which is the part owed to the creditors outside the country. As of May 2011, this figure was ~4.7trillion for the US. The article is factually incorrect! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:57, 29 July 2011 (UTC)


The percentage of debt seems completely off. It says 5% approx, when 227 Billion as a percentage of 1.2 Trillion Nominal should be approx 18.2%. Someone divided the numbers the wrong way around. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:48, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Germany 2x[edit]

Germany is listed at #3 and #50. Drew (talk) 22:16, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

UK and US[edit]

Surely the uk and the us are the wrong way around? external debt = external obligations, right? tried to check the world factbook but it's down at the moment. will try again later.

Debt as Percentage of GDP[edit]

It would be nice and more informative if the debt for that year, was also linked with the percentage of debt for that year (maybe add a new column?). This would show better statistics, and America will not rank first anymore of debt as percentage of GDP. In fact, both Japan and Italy are higher than the US, and over 100% debt of their own GDP. --Waqas1987 23:56, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

I totally agree -- I'll try doing this when I have time. Mathwhiz 29 (talk) 04:30, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

The Debt as %age of GDP sort is messed up - with, for example, 7% appearing next to 70% when you sort by GDP. Anyone know how to fix that (I dont, otherwise I would :-/) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:42, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

I asked this before, Talk:List_of_countries_by_external_debt#perspective - and reply, given the numbers I'm seeing seems to have been right - a meaningful list should take into account external assets as well. Aryah (talk) 15:08, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

I was confused about this column. First time when I saw it, I thought it suppose to be "External" Debt to GDP ratio, but the data looked not accurate. So I checked the original source then I realized this data is about total public debt. Why is there no data about external debt to GDP ratio but public debt to GDP ratio? I think it's bit out of topic (as CIA the world factbook says, we shouldn't confuse between public debt and external debt, which are totally different, plus we already have another article about public debt.)
So why don't we change the title of this column to something like "public debt to GDP ratio", and add one more column about "external debt to GDP ratio"? There are several websites which include this data about this percentage (such as ). If nobody disagree with this idea, I can change later. (talk) 16:38, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

China???? Monaco??[edit]

Ok, this page is messed up.

$363 billion debt in china translates to $2.7k per person? Roughly stating a billion population, that would mean $363/person. Also, the nominal Chinese GDP [1] is $2.5k/capita which would mean external debt as GDP of about 15%.

Monaco, there is 000 missing to debt per capita. And as to % of GDP, should be about half.

I'm just assuming that the external debt part is correct and then using wikipedia's pages for GDP/capita and population size and doing simple arithmetic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:46, 23 October 2008 (UTC)


Where is the E.U.? If the Europeans demand on being counted on lists they should be counted on ALL lists, not just positive ones. And in the case of external debt they would rank #1. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

The EU is nowhere to be found since this is a list of nations. The EU is not a nation, but a trade association. Valentinian T / C 10:26, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
The EU is not a mere trade association. Is an Union. I highly suggest to read European Union --Qwarto (talk) 09:21, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Then why is counted on the GDP list? I personally hate the E.U. but if "Europeans" demand to be listed on positive thing I do not see any problem with listing them on negative things like external debt, which the E.U. would undoubtedly be ranked as #1.
I personally love the EU, and I agree it would be great to know what the EU owes to the rest of the world. --Qwarto (talk) 15:58, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, in official Danish statistics, an EU-25 average is normally shown as well, simply for comparative purposes. Could the same be the case here? Valentinian T / C 13:25, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

If you wanted EU external debt, I guess you would have to subtract the debt which is held by other EU member states amongst each other....doing a simple 'adding the EU countries together' would nto give you a correct figure. 20:27, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

To all the people who believe external debt is important! You have to look at the net external debt! Doesnt matter how much you owe if the other part owes you more! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:28, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

EU supporters will not want to see EU on the list cause it is massive and embarassing for them, in fact more than 30 trillion US dollar. I will add up and post it here. -- (talk) 06:29, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

EU Countries External Debt as of 30 June 2007 According to CIA World Fact Book --Aryanbeauty (talk) 07:21, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
1       United Kingdom  $10,450,000,000,000
2       Germany          $4,489,000,000,000
3       France           $4,396,000,000,000
4       Italy            $2,345,000,000,000
5       Netherlands      $2,277,000,000,000
6       Spain            $2,047,000,000,000
7       Ireland          $1,841,000,000,000
8       Belgium          $1,313,000,000,000
9       Austria            $752,500,000,000
10      Sweden             $598,200,000,000
11      Denmark            $492,600,000,000
12      Portugal           $415,500,000,000
13      Greece             $371,500,000,000
14      Finland            $271,200,000,000
15      Poland             $187,800,000,000
16      Hungary            $142,900,000,000
17      Romania             $85,860,000,000
18      Czech Republic      $61,740,000,000
19      Slovenia            $40,420,000,000
20      Slovakia            $36,660,000,000
21      Latvia              $29,850,000,000
22      Bulgaria            $29,290,000,000
23      Cyprus              $26,120,000,000
24      Lithuania           $22,700,000,000
25      Estonia             $20,240,000,000
26      Malta                  $188,800,000
27      Luxembourg                     $ NA
        Total           '''$32,743,268,800,000'''
There is a problem with the EU debt listing. You have added up the external debt of individual EU countries and placed that as the total EU external debt. However, we do not know how much of the external debt of the individual EU countries is owed to other EU countries. That debt would actually be internal EU debt as it would be owed to other countries that are inside of the EU. External EU debt is debt that is owed to non-EU countries. There may very well be a site estimating how much debt that EU countries owe to non-EU countries, but the CIA World Factbook site apparently does not provide that number. Cmrdm (talk) 00:31, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
If thats the case then how do you calculate the world's external Debt , does the world owes money to other Planet? They calculate by adding up the debt of individual countries and thats exactly what the EU countries' external debt is, by adding up th external debt of each EU countries. --Aryanbeauty (talk) 08:45, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
The world is not an economic bloc. The EU is. In order to have a meaningful figure on external debt, we need to know how much money EU countries owe to non-EU countries. Adding up the external debt of individual EU countries does not give us that exact figure, because some of that money is owed to other EU countries, making it internal EU debt, not external. Cmrdm (talk) 21:02, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, duh... of course the "world external debt" is calculated in a different way. It is indeed fallacious, since it's not really external in the sense of the definition, but rather a measure of how much money is transferred worldwide from a country to another as debt. The figure of EU external debt would be very interesting though; and not likely very much higher than the US debt, since most of the debt of the EU countries is indeed taken inside the EU. Close relations to US may be one reason for UK's huge external debt: many private persons and financial entities have dollar loans, while the public sector is much less indebted to abroad. --Sigmundur (talk) 20:03, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
It was previously Talk:List_of_countries_by_external_debt#perspective explained to me that a meaningful number should also subtract external assets. Haven't found a comprehensive source but this [2] for instance shows that Germany for instance is a net creditor - so is France, among unnamed 'others', it says, but does not give the numbers. [User:Aryah|Aryah]] (talk) 15:11, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
I really don't understand this, but I think this ECB report [3] gives gross external debt of the eurozone at 116.7% GDP in Q4 of 2009. That's only a part of the EU though, and is gross not net, I think. If I'm reading this right, apparently it is the case that total external debt of a block is not a mere sum, as others in this discussion already argued. Aryah (talk) 16:05, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Not up to date[edit]

This page is massively out of date, as it stands US external debt stands at over US$ 8 trillion. The introduction is also misleading, "as of 2005"... No. --JDnCoke 18:01, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

The "October 05", refers to date when the "The World Factbook" data is extracted, not the external debt data. I changed the sentence to clarify it, thks for pointing it out. If you have updated data on the US external debt, with reference, please update it the page. That's what the columns "Date of Information" and "Source" are for. --Vsion 22:56, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

LOL these Eurotrash are so quick to update US debt into 12 trillion but they just left alone EU countries cause they are embarassingly high. For Example 2007 figure of UK debt is $ 10 trillion and UK only has about 2.6 trillion GDP. ha ha -- (talk) 02:33, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, I think it's great the numbers are updated. I for my (eurotrashy) part would really like to see a good estimate on EU external debt. Debt is indeed a serious political issue. Also, it would be nice to have something like three biggest creditors listed, at least for the public + central bank debt... --Sigmundur (talk) 09:52, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

The European countries of the EU are not even allowed to have a bigger dept than 60% percent of the GDP I believe. SO how can the countries all have percentages somewhere around 200 or 300 percent. While one of the European countries with the biggest debt, Italy, have below the 100%. I don't think this page is right at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:36, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes, it appears that the table considers all of any Eurozone state's debt in Euro, external debt. Really a terrible job on this one. Wouldn't know where to begin to fix it. Just checked Italy's total gross public debt and it is 1.87 trillion € or 2,7 trillion $ and only $800 billion of it is held by foreigners (that means other EU states as well as non EU states) Somebody with some time should correct this entry, it is really off.

"Currently, the amount of Italy’s debt held by foreigners — nearly 800 billon euros" — Preceding unsigned comment added by Montelatici (talkcontribs) 19:26, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

External debt isn't just state debt. This list is just what it says it is, thus no distinction between state and private debt, and no calculations of net balances for creditors. What is "really off" here? SFB 21:35, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Canadian Debt[edit]

Why is the value of Canada's external debt so low comparatively, if it's ranked fourth? I'm also fairly certain that the Canadian government owes more money than a "mere" 16 billion dollars... can somebody validate the source? 17:25, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

(Edit: I also find it hard to believe that a nation's debt can go from about 500 billion dollars to 16 billion in just one year) 17:28, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

I provided a link to the department of finance's website in the Canada listing. There is probably no better source than that. Click on the little "3" next to the Department of Finance in the "Source" Column. Secondly, Canada's total debt hit 650 billion but its foreign debt was never really high. That was a mistake on the CIA World Factbook's part. Martin-C 17:49, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, successive governments in Canada have made paying off the foreign debt a national priority. They have done an amazing job of it too.
Wikipedia is kind of ignorant, economically. Actually it's completely ignorant, there is no correlation between debt and standard of living or GDP. Debt only becomes a problem when countries cannot pay it off, and capital investments flee, like Argentina in 2001. Japan has an amazingly high external debt, last I saw their citizens weren't starving. --Rotten 04:02, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Rankings of debt (be it net or gross, total, external or internal) are indicators commonly used by economists, e.g. in evaluating a country's dependence on other nations. Whether debt it is a problem or not is a political issue which is outside of the scope of this project. Valentinian T / C 07:45, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand why it is ranked 4th. Robertbrockway 06:09, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
It's not ranked 4th in reality. It used to be ranked 4th as based on the incorrect information from the World Factbook. The figure previously quoted was close to Canada's total debt, not its foreign debt. I have been trying to figure out a way to move Canada to the appropriate location without having to renumber the entire list. If anyone has an easy way to do this, please let me know. Martin-C 16:31, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
I've fixed it (and double checked the information, it is 16.3 bill. Canadian dollars = 14 bill. US dollars.) The table was very misleading regarding my country, Denmark, as well. It has been a national priority to repay our debt, and the Danish external debts will be repaid sometime during 2007. I've fixed both entries. --Valentinian 13:07, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
This is NOT a list of government debt! It is a list of total external debt. Try to understand this before you make changes. What the Canadian or Danish govenments do is irrelevant. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:07, 3 February 2007 (UTC).
No it isn't and I am aware of that difference, thank you. The problem was that the World Fact Book relied on material several years old. Within that time frame, the total external debt of Denmark had fallen from c. 42 % to 28 %, and the cut in government debt was responsible for this drop. That was the problem. Fortunately, the World Fact Book is now beginning to update its entries more often, but for two consecutive years Denmark's total external debt has dropped 6-7 points / year. Valentinian T / C 07:40, 11 May 2007 (UTC)


Where is Germany?

I've added a note that the figure is missing. --Valentinian 13:09, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

The Netherlands[edit]

Where are the Netherlands?

I've added a note that the figure is missing. --Valentinian 13:09, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

The numbers are not right. The Dutch debt is 346 billion euro, that's 58,2% of the GDP. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:42, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

The numbers are STILL not right. Wikipedia's page on the Netherlands show's an external public debt of 3.73 trillion. Indexmuldi agrees. (talk) 20:35, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Either the "per capita" or the debt in dollars is wrong. There are 17,000,000 Dutch, so with 225 dollar per capita the total would not be 3,733,000,000,000. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:01, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

According to the CIA World Factbook: Netherlands $NA (30 June 2011) $3.733 trillion (31 December 2009) and population: 16,847,007 (July 2011 est.) 21-nov-2011.

United Kingdom[edit]

Where is the United Kingdom? Average Earthman 11:28, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

I've added it. (I wonder how many countries are actually missing here???) --Valentinian 10:29, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
why is the UK figure SO high? Is there a reason? Can someone explain or find out? 08:42, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Because the UK is home the largest, second largest, third largest and fifth largest banks in the world as measured by assets. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:20, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
See paragraph “External sustainability” in this doc from IMF. "The U.K.’s role as an international financial center implies large gross external assets and liabilities…". See also: Economy of the United Kingdom & Economic history of Britain.--Van helsing 09:16, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Really still confused about this... 557 billion pounds is only just above 1 trillion dollars. 18:07, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Not a good article. It is making the assumption that all government debt is held external to the country. Clearly false, since most gilts will be held by pension funds in the UK

The US has a national debt of 10 trillion, Britain has a national debt of £697.5bn , the highest since 1978.

US National Debt Clock -

The UK has a GDP of 2.13 Trillion, and a population of 60 million and a national debt of £697.5bn ($951 Billion)

The US has a GDP of 13.84 Trillion, a population of 300 million and a national debt of over $10.6 Trillion.

As for wikipedia they don't always present all the facts -

"People get things wrong. One scare story is that UK banks have foreign-currency liabilities equivalent to three times gross domestic product. If the government was liable for these, we could be in trouble.

But this refers to all banks in London, whether owned by EU countries, America or Japan. These foreign-currency liabilities are £4.6 trillion, which is indeed about three times our GDP. But they also have foreign-currency assets of £4.7 trillion.

British banks account for less than a third of these liabilities, just under £1.5 trillion, with foreign-currency assets of more than £1.5 trillion. Compared with Switzer-land, where such liabilities are 2½ times GDP, or Iceland’s seven, the UK’s liabilities – roughly equal to GDP – look comfortable. "

Contd...... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:06, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

The UK debt is calculated wrong, even according to it's the supplied reference. according to the reference, the external debt is $9,321,709,465,727.32 USD. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:01, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

UK debt is 76.1% of GDP according to the National Statistics Office Can someone amend the very silly 400% figure? - user - Finalreminder 25th July 2011 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Finalreminder (talkcontribs) 11:31, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Careful! That figure only includes Government debt, but this article is about external debt, both public and private. As has been stated above, our figure is so large because of the large amount of foreign deposits in our banks. If you look at List of countries by public debt you should find the 76.1% figure you were thinking of. (talk) 14:44, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

The sudden change to UK debt - moving from 9 trillion to just over 1 trillion USD as at 4th January 2013 is somewhat disconcerting - is this correct, what happened to cause this? That's a fairly spectacular change and it does rather require explanation please. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:46, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

The recent edit to the UK debt mentioned above was totally wrong, it hasn't experienced any decrease. The person making the edit had confused public debt with external debt. People are constantly making this mistake, often on the UK section of the article for some reason. It would be useful to have the article semi-protected to prevent these uninformed edits, as since the above user mentioned the problem I have corrected it and it has then been changed back again.Core1911 (talk) 14:32, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Can anybody fix this one? UK external debt is less than 1 trillion dollars, but put it on the 16th list! (talk) 10:28, 25 February 2013 (UTC)


Why are they on this list as they're a dependent territory, not an independent nation? Joffeloff 19:04, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

According to the article on Tokelau, the area is not independent. --Valentinian (talk) 19:35, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
That's what I mean. It's a dependent territory of New Zealand - New Zealand is already listed here, and surely Tokelau's economy is a matter handled by the NZ government? Joffeloff 23:58, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't know why they were added originally. Probably simply because many such territories have a separate entry in the World Fact Book. I don't think there is any deeper reason behind it. --Valentinian (talk) 08:12, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm gonna go ahead and remove it. If anyone feels it should be readded, I'd love it if that person could list their reasons here before they do so. Joffeloff 14:57, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I think it should be included, but of course ranked as an "entity" (i.e. with an "-" in the first column.) since it is clearly not sovereign. I've renumbered the list around five times, so it is very possible that I've accidentally listed it as "sovereign" by a simple typo. For what it's worth: Hong Kong, Macao, Aruba, and the Netherlands Antilles are listed here as well. So are the Faroe Islands and Greenland, and they are both - constitutionally speaking - integrated parts of Denmark proper, so they are not even dependencies. --Valentinian (talk) 19:59, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I've just read a bit in the Factbook.. I don't understand why they're listing Tokelau's external debt as 0. Might aswell list Svalbard's external debt as 0. I think this is an inconsistency on their part. I may be wrong, though.
I just can't see how it is relevant to the list - I'm quite sure there are lots of dependent territories with seemingly no external debt, when in reality the government they're dependent of takes care of external debt for all its territories. Joffeloff 20:19, 8 March 2006 (UTC)


wouldnt it be more significant to show this, either as % of GDP or per capita or something like that ??

Not really, this list is of gross positions and ignores external assets, and as such is pretty worthless anyway. The reason the US and UK are top are primarily because of the huge capital markets in New York & London. A corporate bond of a German company, traded in New York and owned by a French person counts towards the gross US external debt.

Layman question[edit]

This wouldn't be including savings, obviously, right? Because then all the numbers should sum up to 0. In my mind I consider saving as 'negative debt', thus why I'm asking. Fephisto 03:05, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Venezuela has payed the external debt. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Is that the gross or net amount? This list is the gross amount, so it is technically possible that the net debt has been paid but that Venezuela's current claims to foreign countries are simply offset by similar claims going the other way. If this is the case, the net debt would be zero, but the gross debt would still exist. Valentinian T / C 10:13, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

If almost all countries are in debt, then who is the creditor?[edit]

There must be something wrong with this list. Where is debt, there must be credit. The meaning of this list isn't clear if the credit side is not taken into account. Taka 06:19, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

This article lists "gross debt" but what you are thinking about is "net debt" (in other words, if A owes B one dollar and B owes C two dollars, both A and B will have a net debt of one dollar and C will be a creditor). However, this table shows the "gross debt" amounts meaning that in this example, A will be listed with a debt of one dollar, B will be listed with a debt of two and (for all we know), C doesn't have any debt, as lists of "gross debt" doesn't include material about money owed to you by others but only lists the amounts of money that you owe somebody else. I'm not aware if we have a list of countries by net debt on this project. If not, it might be a good idea to include one. Valentinian T / C 13:59, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
so it would seem this question hasn't been addressed, nearly a year on. are there any plans to do so? does anyone have ideas on how or where we might go about answering this question? I've spent a little while looking for this data and can't find it anywhere, but my google-fu is weak. Gsaus (talk) 12:15, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Is it not the case that the debts are owed to private institutions? Doc Richard (talk) 18:44, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it is. Most people don't realize that when they deposit money into bank, their bank might actually buy some country's debt. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:49, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

I have looked for the same data. Overseas debt is irrelevent unless compared to overseas assets to get a net debt figure. The IMF, World bank and OECD do not keep any data. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:22, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

This is what we get when we allow 'leaders' to be installed and then bribed to accept the mirage of mere arithmetic, to be repaid to the 'lenders' of this fiction in the form of taxes of all kinds generated by the work of the populations of our victim countries. Remember that 'money' has no value in reality other than that decreed at any time by these Few to strip us all of everything we think we 'have'. Do not bother to ask 'economists' about his, since they have been taught otherwise specifically to enable the practitioners to continue reaping from the whole planet. (talk) 08:22, 27 May 2014 (UTC)


Why is Zimbabwe at #68 with $13,349,000 of external debt? -- (talk) 18:15, 20 August 2008 (UTC)


The numbers in this list are all messed up. For instance, Italy and France have about the same population. France has more than four times Italian external debt. BTZ it is Italy to have the higher external debt pro capita. how it comes. Pretty weird also if you look at Morocco data etc. Furthermore, Luxembourg is missing from the list -- (talk) 12:15, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, the "08:29, 11 October 2008 Chad Hennings" change moved numbers around randomly. (talk) 07:13, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Also, in Cambodia, the national debt is listed as $3,890, while the debt per capita is $2,689. This means there are less than 2 Cambodian citizens? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:53, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

New Discussion[edit]

A discussion has been started at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countries/Lists of countries which could affect the inclusion criteria and title of this and other lists of countries. Editors are invited to participate. Pfainuk talk 11:24, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Net debt[edit]

it would be nice to have similiar list. list of countries by external net debt not gross debt like this one. does anyone know where to get the data? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:29, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Explanation required[edit]

I would dispute the accuracy of these figures. For example, the total external debt for Ireland includes the assets of huge international financial services organisations which are headquarted in Ireland for tax reasons. The same applies to Switzerland. These external debts are not actually owed by the citizens of the countries in question, rather they're huge corporations operating their financial HQs there. They are not in anyway guaranteed by these countries, unlike their own national banks. The same applies to the UK and would be indicative of the huge international banks that have HQs there. The article leads the reader to believe these figures are normal national debt which is simply not the case as the countries in question are not liable for a huge % of them. Solair09 (talk) 22:29, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I think the problem with this page may be that everything has been converted to USD but most national debts will be in the national currency. The exchange rates vary from month to month, making all the figures on this page change significantly. What it needs is some way to enter the debts in the local currency along with a current exchange rate to USD so the whole thing could be updated automatically. I have no idea how that could be setup though? Paraphrased (talk) 17:45, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

I think that Solair09 has a point. Although the article does state in the beginning that the figures list all foreign debt, be it public or private, the figures can be rather misleading. It might be of interest to set up an article that lists countries only by public foreign debt. If you would like to find out about the stability situation of the government of a specific country, that - to me - makes much more sense. It is not really of help to see that all debt owed by government, any private institution such as a company or private individual in Luxembourg to someone outside of this tiny country is equivalent to 34 times its GDP. You could even get the idea there is something wrong with Luxembourg. Compare it to the debt to GDP ratio: Similar standards apply there. I don't know anyone who would publish a figure including private debt into a common debt to GDP ratio. What is of interest in this case is public debt exclusively. 2A02:1205:34DF:5080:5E9:5301:7F89:E9C1 (talk) 13:45, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Spanish data is wrong[edit]

Somebody on Wikipedia had not been taught to divide at school.

The Spanish external debt per capita is wrong. The figure ($176,019) is too high to be real.

Please, correct it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:00, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Yeah, it is definitely wrong. Spanish population is about 45 million people and Spanish external debt is about $ 1084000000000. And 1084000000000 / 45000000 = 24088 $ per capita. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:30, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Argentina data external deb per capita is wrong[edit]

The external deb total is true ( u$s, but if you divide this mount by population of Argentina (40.000.000) the values will be u$s 3375 not u$s 14000 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:12, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

This mistake was reported 10 months ago, and is still there. Taking in mind that was just a trivial error while dividing the numbers, I'm updating it. Sebas. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:24, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

meaningless figures[edit]

as indicator for indebtedness these figures are meaningless. as stated by others what would actually matters is the Net debt of a country and its citizens. -> China most wealthy country. US most endebted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:08, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Updated factbook[edit]

I was looking over the CIA factbook listing provided and many of the numbers on THIS listing are wrong. I'm assuming that the book has been updated and the page hasn't? I've never edited a list and wouldn't want to screw up the page in the process, but wanted to give a heads up to anyone who could do it properly. :) (talk) 22:54, 15 October 2009 (UTC) Dan

external debt vs. total debt[edit]

I just searched Wikipedia for "debt per capita" and I was forwarded to this article. Shouldn't I have been sent to an article that shows the total debt per capita? It even says in this article that "The debt per capita in a country is defined as the total debt of that country divided by its population."How come the list only shows the external debt then? I think we should change this and really show the total debt, eventually breaking it down by a) private households, b) companies, and c) the public sector. Here is a (German) graph that shows the trend for all three types for the US. [4]. Does anyone know of a source that provides such data? --spitzl (talk) 14:23, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

I agree, a "List of countries by total debt" would be a great addition if we can find the data. TastyCakes (talk) 15:36, 4 January 2010 (UTC)


Does Palau really have 0 external debt? The Economy of Palau page has it at around 50 mill.? andycjp (talk) 03:48, 19 February 2010 (UTC)


Are my eyes decieving me or is the source for Turkey's ext. debt a google search? Surely this isnt valid —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:53, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

I think this guy is greek ;) That's why he put $500 billion debt by giving google as a source. Laughing out loud! Turkey's debt is $274 billion. Here are the resources:

274b should the public debt. The external debt was I believe three times that. I'll research on that and update the table.-- (talk) 18:54, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Date formats[edit]

Please can all the dates on this page be moved to a concistent unambiguous format? (Anybody got a Robot for that?) Railwayfan2005 (talk) 13:28, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

a note about the debt of the greek state[edit]

Greek media report that the debt is 300 bn euros. That would be 385 bn $ (approximately of course). I also doubt that the debt was 535 bn $ on the given date 09/31/2009. Propagitas (talk) 01:14, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Sorting doesn't work[edit]

I removed the "sortable" option from the table, because it does NOT sort countries by GDP correctly. The sorting is COMPLETELY messed up.

Also, many numbers are different from what I 've read.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:11, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

I wish the sort worked.--Timtak (talk) 23:42, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Someone added back class="wikitable sortable" (good). It works pretty well — External debt and External debt per capita sort fine, but External debt (% of GDP) has some intermittent glitch on my Firefox that turns it into an alphabetic sort so 98.54% appears before 960.86%. It's something going wrong in ts_resortTable() in wikibits.js. I bet sorting on Date of information would work if only the table used ISO8601 YYYY-MM-DD dates instead of a crappy, ambiguous USA-centric MM/DD/YYYY format, but few people will sort this table on date. -- Skierpage (talk) 01:39, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Sorting is still broken -  % of GDP will sort alphabetically so 10% and 10000% appear together Paraphrased (talk) 21:33, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

For me using nightly Firefox build Minefield/3.7a1pre as my browser, sorting by % of GDP works so long as the top row of the table is a number. See #Sorting test. If it fails differently for you, please state your browser. -- Skierpage (talk) 21:37, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Sorting test[edit]

Click on the sort icon for % of GDP. In Firefox nightly, the first click sorts correctly, sorting in ascending numeric order so the "N/A" country (effectively zero) appears first, then 7, then 98, then 416. But then the next click sorts in descending alphabetic order, and the 'N' in "N/A" is greater than '9' which is greater than '4'. The next click sorts in ascending alphabetic order, so '4' comes first. The problem is ts_resortTable() in wikibits.js in order to // Work out a type for the column looks at the first row to figure out what it's sorting, so if the first row is "N/A" it decides it must be sorting alphabetically. That's a tough bug to fix unless there's a way to override -- Skierpage (talk) 21:37, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Country External debt Date Per capita  % of GDP
 United States 13,450,000,000,000 30 June 2009 43,758 94%
 United Kingdom 9,088,000,000,000 30 June 2009 147,060 416%
 China 347,100,000,000 31 December 2009 est. 260 7%
 Palau 0 FY99/00 0 N/A
The values entered in the "% GDP" column should lack the symbol "%" - simples! (talk) 14:06, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Actually, it was the N/A tags, not the % symbols. I've removed the N/A tags, which fixes the sorting, at least in FireFox and Explorer. The N/A tags were nice, but the sorting is vital. Regards, Ben Aveling 19:47, 28 January 2011 (UTC)


Why is it that all the wiki pages that rank countries are set up in a way to always make the US look bad? The wiki page that ranks countries by Olympic medals is in alphabetical order. But the list of countries by external debt puts the US on top for the absolute number of debt, yet the US is less in debt than many other countries when debt is figured as a % of GDP. Why not have the debt as % of GDP be the primary, default rank? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:00, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. The sorting makes no sense. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sleepeeg3 (talkcontribs) 19:38, 12 November 2010 (UTC)


10/11/11 Re: below --> somebody doesn't know the difference between Gross ExtDebt and PubDebt :(— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:17, 10 November 2011‎

1004%? 10x GDP? This figure looks wrong and the sources for this table don't show anything that can be used to calculate this.

Recent article claiming it is at around 118%, which sounds much more likely: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sleepeeg3 (talkcontribs) 19:40, 12 November 2010 (UTC)


On my radio show December 2009, I quoted Iceland's per capita debt as $360,000 from this data, and up with Ireland around 1000% of GDP. It's now listed as $10,670 and 35% of GDP, with data from 2002. I'm confused - did this go backwards? From, it reads, "According to the country's central bank, Iceland's external debt was measured at $104.44 billion in Q2 2009. With a GDP of $10.46 billion, that's a debt-to-GDP ratio of 998.5%." The table lists their external debt as 3 billion. Tereza3P (talk) 05:05, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

GDP sorting bug[edit]

It's not really an issue with the data, but sorting the table by GDP percentage ends up with an alphabetical sorting instead of numerical. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:49, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

As above, the N/A tags confuse it. I've removed them, at least until someone comes up with a way to put them in that doesn't break sorting. Regards, Ben Aveling 19:51, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
The problem is still there with the per-capita debt column... sorry, I don't know how to fix it. -- megA (talk) 16:16, 11 July 2011 (UTC)


How is it possible that the eurozone has more debt than the EU, all member off the eurozone are member off the EU to. Jillids (talk) 20:01, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

  • Yes, it's really strange. I think it depends on whether intra-EU (or intra-eurozone) debt is counted or it isn't.--RoadTrain (talk) 14:09, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

EU countries can owe money to other EU countries. That counts for individuals EU country debt. Then there's EU countries as a whole owing money to countries outside of the EU. So if we strip it down to a world where only a few countries exist: France can owe Germany 1billion, but France and Germany owe Japan 10 bucks.


Net external debt[edit]

To all the people who believe external debt is important! You have to look at the net external debt! Doesnt matter how much you owe if the other part owes you more! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:30, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

This would be true, except that it isn't. If the U.S. owes Germany $100,000 and Germany owes the U.S. $100,000 the net is $0 (assuming identical payment schedules). If, OTOH, the U.S. owes Bruno in Germany $100,000 and Germany owes Joe in the U.S. $100,000 you cannot "net" them out and say no one owes anyone anything. Most government debt is not owned by other governments. Further, If the U.S. owes $100,000 to Germany and Spain owes the U.S. $100,000, you cannot net them out. - SummerPhD (talk) 20:48, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Delete article?[edit]

The numbers in this article are grossly outdated and inaccurate and even if they were accurate they would still be meaningless. I do not see how this page meets any of Wikipedia's quality standards and therefore it should be deleted. Anyone disagree? FrenkdelaCoste (talk) 08:01, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Most of the data relate to either June or December 2010. If you think a year is grossly outdated then you are simply expecting too much, statistics are not real-time. More to the point: (1) why are the data inaccurate? (CIA Factbook seems to think they are accurate enough), and (2) why are they meaningless? SFB 07:07, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

This list seems to have managed to get mixed up with the public debt list. It's numbers aren't outdated, but they're completely wrong, and wrong data is just as bad as meaningless data.

For example: The $14.3 trillion figure is well known to be the US's federal government's debt. Unless the American government only owes foreigners money, that number can't be (and isn't right.)Qwertzy (talk) 21:29, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

NO: KEEP the article! It has all the links to dbl check any data you get from it and finding the links without this reference site would be onerous to impossible. BTW @Qwertzy - at the very top of this talk site you can see a diagram explaining that external debt is both public AND PRIVATE debt of a country towards nonresidents - so the external portion of the US Fed debt of $14.3t PLUS the extgernal portion of US PRIVATE debt could coincidentally also equal $14.3t - why not just check the source before declaring the data faulty? (talk) 12:22, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

YES! This article either needs to be deleted or completely rewritten, with independently verifiable data expanded to accurately reflect the composition of the external debt. This is not difficult for the external debt of the United States.

As of June, 2011, $4.4992 trillion of US Treasury securities are held by foreign countries -

The remainder of the external debt may be drawn from FRB statistical data -

And as others have noted, simply stating a contrived external debt of an individual country is intellectually dishonest without the context of that debt, both public and private, taken with overall assets, receivables and net worth.

Public and private assets of the United States exceed $200 trillion with actual net worth beyond $60 trillion before the inclusion of public infrastructure. Fail-Abort-Retry (talk) 16:56, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

YES! The numbers make little sense - for example Luxembourgs debt is at nearly $4million per capita - surely this figure must include foreigners having luxembourg deposit accounts. I think some relation to net debt is needed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:50, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Hong Kong[edit]

The Hong Kong numbers are unsupportable.

Government debt HK$11,227.5 million (US$1.44 billion; June 30, 2011)


That works out to 0.001% of 2010 nominal GDP. DOR (HK) (talk) 07:51, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

China debt does not agree with 'Government Debt'[edit]

In article 'Government Debt' China (PRC) has a public debt of $1.9tn but here says that external debt $407bn. Shouldn't external debt be bigger than public debt? (talk) 18:49, 8 October 2011 (UTC)


$115bn? Not a chance. $2tn would be much more accurate... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:55, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Nope. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:33, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

84 and 85?[edit]

No country is ranked 84th and 85th. Is it a numbering error or are two countries missing? Shuipzv3 (talk) 00:45, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Cleaned up somewhat[edit]

I've cleaned this article up a bit and so am going to remove the clean-up hatnote.

The article stills needs more work to get data up to date and to add more countries. Facts707 (talk) 17:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

One more[edit]

San Marino should be included in this list. They dont have any external debt. --WhiteWriterspeaks 16:02, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Wrong and outdated data[edit]

Hello, this list is pretty bad as a source of information, maybe all data with 2+ years should be put as a different "past list of countries by external debt". For example, I see Argentina, it reads an "estimate" for 2010 with 43% of its GDP, when we're already in 2012 and know that the Argentinian debt as percentage of GDP is around 15%, very far from that "2010" and "estimate" data. When noticed that weird data, I went to The CIA Factbook to check, I've found that the 43% the list gives as a percentage of GDP is completely wrong: The CIA Factbook reads "Public Debt as % of GDP", Public debt is not the same as external debt! the list is completely wrong, and The CIA Fackbook has no "External debt as % of GDP" whatsoever. I don't know how many countries in the list are wrong, someone should check that, this is one of the worst Wikipedia articles! (talk) 21:21, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Article is badly broken[edit]

This should be deleted, its information is totally incorrect. How is this allowed?

Even now? OccultZone (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 08:07, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I would say, rather than deletion, the article needs an update & addition of credible sources. CIA alone cannot be the basis as it can have a biased view depending on US political & strategic considerations Đõc §aмέέЯ  08:49, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Australia issue, CIA is not a reliable source[edit]

Public debt of Australia gives a very different figure on Australia's debt, so how can we trust the CIA? There must be another source with good information. Stidmatt (talk) 01:39, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Public debt is not external public+private debt, see the definition at the top of this page. Dcxf (talk) 13:29, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

USA debt[edit]

I was looking at the least of countries by external debt, and it caught my eye, that someone changed the debt of USA with the debt of RUSSIA. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:22, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

This is Public debt and Private Debt combined, not External Debt![edit]

Can someone correct this article? AFAIK, this is the real external debt of those countries This article only lists public and private debt combined, not solely the external debt. The definition of external debt is "that part of the total debt in a country that is owed to creditors outside the country", NOT "the total public and private debt".

Source: World Bank (Quarterly data of 2011 and 2012) - --Vitilsky (talk) 01:00, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

I propose this article to be renamed "List of countries by total debt", and create a new article concerning external debt. --Vitilsky (talk) 09:08, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

It is external debt, as explained by the note at the top of this page and at the top of the article page. The figures sourced from the World Factbook external debt page seem to be the same as the figures in the sources you gave. However the article has had so many random edits from people who don't understand the definition that it is now very inconsistent, and has many out-of-date and unsourced figures. It might be best to reset it back to the current World Factbook data. Dcxf (talk) 13:12, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
Shall I make the changes myself, as I don't see that anybody would object removing innacurate data. I would just like to point out that I think the data stated in this exact article is sourced from the CIA webpage and it just states public and private debt combined, but has somehow been misrepresented as external debt. --Vitilsky (talk) 17:26, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
This CIA World Factbook page, which was the original main source for the "External debt" column in the table, is definitely external public+private debt in US dollars. Feel free to edit the table but please make the source and date for the figures clear in the article as well as the edit summary. Dcxf (talk) 19:42, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
Ok, I understood. I'll provide the CIA source and correct the figures. The CIA World factbook states though that "This entry gives the total public and private debt owed to nonresidents repayable in internationally accepted currencies, goods, or services", while this article states "(i.e. gross general government debt including both intragovernmental and sub-national public entities debts)" I think that's plain wrong, as this data includes public (government) debt and private (individual and companies) debt, therefore that parenthesis only refers to public debt alone. I am going to changed that.
Also, is there another article in Wikipedia called "List of countries by private debt"? I can see by public debt, and this one is external public plus private debt. But none for private debt alone. I just realised that this article can be confusing as private debt, particularly external private debt (individual and group transactions) can be anormally high if the country is or contains one or several financial centres and therefore is involved in many banking transactions that affect the overall economy of the country in a different way, such as Luxembourg. We should include that, as a warning. --Vitilsky (talk) 21:26, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
A Wikipedia article about countries' "total debt" (i.e. private and public debt to local and external creditors) appears to be missing. Or at least I can't find it. Ideally there should be lists for the following 1) total debt, 2) external total debt, 3) public debt, 4) net total debt. As far as I can see we miss 1) Dianelos (talk) 16:39, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Here's a source with partial figures about total debt Dianelos (talk) 16:42, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Update tag[edit]

I don't think that the tag is really relevant. Because this list is depending upon the stats, that were submitted by CIA factbook. Also we don't have stats about most of these nations, after December 2012. I wonder how they can be updated. OccultZone (talk) 08:09, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

I guess CIA factsheet is one of the sources, if its the only source, the title should be modified accordingly to reflect that its solely based on CIA. There are more capable people beyond you & me who can or may update the article & find more updated sources if theres a tag in place.. "What I Think" shouldn't the basis of deleting anything on wikipedia. Đõc §aмέέЯ  08:47, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
e.g.External Debt page of Ministry of Finance is a better & continually updated source for India's external debt than CIA factsheet — Preceding unsigned comment added by Doc sameer (talkcontribs) 08:57, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Can you describe, how we can add multiple sources for each statistics/countries? Don't you think they will contradict each other. There are many listings that are depending upon single source, such as World Tourism rankings. Nothing is wrong there. Also, if the information about recent stats are impossible, not every government has separate report about debt details, how we can call them outdated, just because they are not presented, on 2013? OccultZone (talk) 18:13, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

))) It is funny to use the USA's CIA "factbook" as a reference for economic data. Cause "factbook" is rather about the US's foreign policy and political propaganda than the real international economy. (talk) 10:03, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

india per capita[edit]

As per me indian per capita is 1626 dollar but some had entered wrong figures.

Correction required in few fields of other countries also Tricky tom (talk) 07:29, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Sweden appears twice[edit]

Once at no. 15 and second at no. 29. Which one is it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:42, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Poland is missing![edit]

But it has quite big debt: USD 370,387,000,000, USD 9,613 per capita and 72% GDP. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:49, 24 January 2015 (UTC)



What is the ranking of this list based on? It doesn't seem to be related to any of the other columns in any way... -- BenTels (talk) 13:34, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

15 March 2015[edit]

I made a couple fixes; there were 7 countries at the bottom of the showing zero debt. Only five were correct. I added the current numbers for Taiwan and Singapore, with refs, and added them in the list where they belong. Malaysia was showing "error", so I also updated it as well. I also corrected some markup, that had left the table borders looking screwed up. - wolf


Note that I left the ranking blank on the 3 countries that I updated. As it is, anytime a country changes in rank, ALL ≈200 ranking numbers have to be changed? (that's ridiculous). I see that several other country's rankings are blank as well, likely due to this. Is there not a way to have the entries automatically numbered? (and therefore, automatically updated with any changes...). It's been awhile since I created any tables like this, so I simply don't recall. (yes... I could look it up, but I though I'd ask as well). If anyone can remedy this, please do! - theWOLFchild 01:31, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Argentina missing[edit]

Is Argentina missing from the list for any reason in particular? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:26, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Somebody should add Argentina, external debt 23%. (talk) 17:50, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

Table has to be fixed[edit]

Table has to be fixed and the figures have to be updated. Is there a table that automatically changes the rank of the country when you change the total debt figure in USD? George Al-Shami (talk) 21:25, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Inconsistency for Ireland[edit]

The figures for Ireland are inconsistent. It's debt is listed as about 2 trillion $, and 103% of its GDP. However, the GDP of Ireland is about 200 billion $. The debt listed is off by a factor of 10. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ThanksForAllTheFish (talkcontribs) 00:43, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

argentina always wrong[edit]

if you divide the total external debt with the population you get 2664 dollars, please fix it. (talk) 08:05, 13 January 2016 (UTC)


Based on the debt and per capita debt, India has a population of ten billion five hundred million. I believe that may be off by a decimal point or so. I feel that this is likely indicative of the entire article. If someone could fix the math or reconcile the data, that would be appreciated. I don't have the time. Alex the Nerd (talk) 00:19, 11 March 2017 (UTC)Alex the Nerd