National Debt by Country / Countries with the Highest National Debt 2024 (2024)

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Just as individuals or companies may make purchases on credit or take out a loan to boost their finances, national governments often borrow money to further their country's growth or well-being. When this happens, the money borrowed becomes part of that country's national debt. Stated simply, national debt is the combined debt a country's government owes one or more lenders, such as other governments, various corporations, or even private individuals (such as with treasury bonds). But which countries have the world's highest national debt? The answer to that question merits a bit of explanation.

In terms of raw dollars, the country with the highest debt in the world is unquestionably the United States, whose national debt is more than twice that of any other country. However, the dollar amount of a country's debt is usually considered not by itself, but in relation to the country's overall gross domestic product (GDP)—which represents the country's ability to pay back the debt. Measuring by debt to GDP ratio, Japan's debt is the highest in the world and the United States—which has the world's largest economy and highest GDP—drops to 14th place.

Top 20 Countries with the Highest National Debt:

Country

% of GDP

Lebanon349.88%
Japan255.07%
Sudan187.88%
Eritrea179.66%
Greece172.6%
Singapore167.5%
Cape Verde147.58%
Italy141.7%
Venezuela133.61%
Bhutan127.33%
Barbados122.51%
United States121.31%
Suriname119.64%
Bahrain117.58%
Maldives114.37%
Portugal112.4%
France111.8%
Spain111.6%
Canada107.38%
Belgium104.3%

Country

National Debt

United States$30.89 Mn
China$13.77 Mn
Japan$12.78 Mn
United Kingdom$3.14 Mn
France$3.11 Mn
Italy$2.91 Mn
Germany$2.70 Mn
India$2.64 Mn
Canada$2.30 Mn
Zimbabwe$1.91 Mn
Brazil$1.64 Mn
Spain$1.58 Mn
Australia$919,806
South Korea$900,625
Mexico$792,633
Singapore$784,454
Belgium$608,761
Argentina$534,027
Indonesia$529,379
Netherlands$505,928

Profiles of Select Countries by National Debt

Japan

Japan has the highest percentage of national debt in the world at 259.43% of its annual GDP. The Japanese economy experienced stagnation during the 1990s, which led to the government launching several initiatives, such as selling bonds and bailing out banks and insurance companies with low-interest credit, to help reboot the struggling economy in the 2000s. Banking institutions had to be audited, consolidated, or even nationalized.

While these actions arguably salvaged Japan's economy, they also added greatly to the country's national debt. Since that time, additional concerns such as the Great Recession of 2008, the 2011 f*ckushima nuclear disaster, and the COVID-19 pandemic have complicated efforts to combat the country's debt.

United States

The United States boasts both the world's biggest national debt in terms of dollar amount and its largest economy, which resolves to a debt-to GDP ratio of approximately 128.13%. The United States' government's spending exceeds its income most years, and the US has not had a budget surplus since 2001. Perhaps surprisingly, the countries to which the US is most in debt are Japan, which itself has significant debt, and China, which is often viewed as the United States' greatest economic competitor.

China

China’s national debt is currently over 10 trillion USD—however, because of China's massive economy, the country's debt is only 68.06% of its GDP. China's current debt level is a significant increase from 2014, when the national debt was 41.54% of the country's GDP. An International Monetary Fund report from 2015 stated that China’s debt was relatively low, and many economists have dismissed worries over the size of the debt both in its overall size and relative to China’s GDP. China currently has the world’s second-largest economy and the largest population, with approximately 1,425,821,667 people.

Russia

Russia’s debt ratio was one of the lowest in the world at 16.99% of its GDP in 2021—though the country's war with Ukraine, which began in early 2022, will likely have some effect on this ratio. Russia is usually one of the ten least-indebted countries in the world. Russia’s debt is currently at a total of just over 302 billion USD. Most of Russia’s external debt is private.

Download Table Data

Country

National Debt (Million USD)

% of GDP

Debt per Capita (USD)

Data Year

United States$30.89 Mn121.31%$92,6092022
China$13.77 Mn76.98%$9,7532022
Japan$12.78 Mn255.07%$101,8582021
United Kingdom$3.14 Mn101.86%$46,7972022
France$3.11 Mn111.8%$45,6612022
Italy$2.91 Mn141.7%$49,3712022
Germany$2.70 Mn66.1%$32,0202022
India$2.64 Mn83.75%$1,8742021
Canada$2.30 Mn107.38%$58,9682022
Zimbabwe$1.91 Mn59.77%$119,1242021
Brazil$1.64 Mn85.33%$8,0682022
Spain$1.58 Mn111.6%$32,9562022
Australia$919,80655.91%$35,6902021
South Korea$900,62553.8%$17,4052022
Mexico$792,63354.07%$6,2562022
Singapore$784,454167.5%$139,1622022
Belgium$608,761104.3%$51,7922022
Argentina$534,02784.69%$11,6582022
Indonesia$529,37940.14%$1,9262022
Netherlands$505,92850.1%$28,4052022
Russia$423,91318.89%$2,9552022
Egypt$420,73988.53%$4,1212022
Greece$390,489172.6%$37,5682022
Austria$369,28578.4%$40,5602022
Poland$339,29749.3%$9,2322022
Switzerland$334,69540.89%$37,9792022
Israel$318,46860.66%$32,9612022
Thailand$295,88060.54%$4,2302022
South Africa$288,11471.12%$4,7542022
Portugal$287,271112.4%$27,4442022
Turkey$287,12331.7%$3,3672022
Pakistan$285,48176.2%$1,2832022
Malaysia$266,98265.59%$8,1772022
Saudi Arabia$263,99523.82%$8,2052022
Ireland$236,86444.4%$45,6002022
Philippines$232,50557.51%$2,0842022
Taiwan$225,78429.69%$9,7052022
Norway$215,08937.12%$39,1862022
Colombia$207,38960.35%$4,0182022
Finland$205,25173.3%$36,8892022
Nigeria$189,25839.65%$8872022
Sweden$186,14632.9%$17,6922022
Bangladesh$174,24437.86%$1,0292022
United Arab Emirates$157,83831.13%$16,5142022
Romania$152,08247.2%$7,9832022
Vietnam$144,60339.11%$1,4682021
Hungary$131,97073.9%$13,7512022
Czech Republic$128,31644.2%$11,8512022
Ukraine$125,91778.45%$3,0712022
Iran$122,67242.4%$1,4462021
Denmark$119,60629.8%$20,1612022
Iraq$117,34144.93%$2,6952022
Chile$114,20337.98%$5,8592022
New Zealand$112,38146.43%$21,9282022
Algeria$108,49555.62%$2,4562022
Qatar$100,34642.45%$35,4452022
Morocco$93,57471.48%$2,5522022
Sri Lanka$90,974102.74%$4,1062021
Peru$83,78134.25%$2,4852022
Angola$81,83866.65%$2,3722022
Kenya$77,78968.42%$1,4682022
Lebanon$71,641349.88%$12,8102021
Dominican Republic$67,80859.55%$6,0992022
Slovakia$66,81357.8%$12,3072022
Ghana$66,73692.38%$2,0802022
Ecuador$66,36757.69%$3,7382022
Sudan$65,359187.88%$1,4322021
Ethiopia$55,86446.41%$5372022
Kazakhstan$53,05423.52%$2,6842022
Bahrain$52,186117.58%$33,8432022
Croatia$48,56468.2%$12,6112022
Oman$45,86840%$10,1322022
Slovenia$43,66972.3%$20,6302022
Costa Rica$43,60863.78%$8,3402022
Uruguay$42,21659.31%$12,3212022
Jordan$41,62792.14%$4,0542021
Panama$41,07653.68%$9,3462022
Ivory Coast$39,82756.75%$1,4492022
Tunisia$36,98579.78%$3,0162022
Bolivia$35,45580.01%$2,9352022
Serbia$33,99953.54%$5,1012022
Myanmar$31,91439.28%$5972020
Venezuela$30,110133.61%$9852017
Belarus$30,07841.3%$3,2502022
Tanzania$29,44442.1%$4632021
Zambia$29,29398.49%$1,5042022
Uzbekistan$28,08534.92%$7962022
Guatemala$27,76229.22%$1,6232022
Lithuania$26,83138.1%$9,3902022
Cyprus$24,62585.6%$26,7462022
El Salvador$24,38475.05%$3,8482022
Uganda$23,34848.4%$5502022
Luxembourg$20,25424.7%$30,6512022
Senegal$20,22173.31%$1,1982021
Cameroon$20,17345.51%$7232022
Bulgaria$19,46622.6%$3,0192022
Iceland$19,33668.9%$49,8672022
Mozambique$18,29995.52%$5702022
Nepal$17,59743.1%$5922022
Laos$17,11792.36%$2,3052021
Paraguay$17,00540.76%$2,2812022
Syria$16,83531.21%$7982009
Latvia$16,80641%$8,9252022
Libya$16,16136.39%$2,5822014
Hong Kong$15,6644.27%$2,1162022
Yemen$15,54966.03%$4672022
Honduras$15,47549.09%$1,5032022
Papua New Guinea$15,25048.75%$1,2942022
Trinidad and Tobago$14,53650.96%$10,3312022
Jamaica$13,75077.09%$5,0182022
Azerbaijan$13,65317.34%$1,3482022
Gabon$13,31465.82%$5,6872021
Mongolia$13,09176.35%$3,8392022
Republic of the Congo$13,08897.76%$2,2432021
Albania$12,50865.55%$4,5292022
Kuwait$11,8618.63%$2,4902021
Mauritius$11,63183.09%$9,2012022
Bahamas$10,99188.85%$26,9452022
Burkina Faso$10,93555.37%$4952021
Mali$9,90351.65%$4382022
Georgia$9,78639.77%$2,6192022
Armenia$9,61049.25%$3,2282022
DR Congo$9,56414.54%$1002022
Cambodia$9,55735.93%$6042021
Malta$9,48852.3%$17,5052022
Benin$9,45054.19%$7262022
Malawi$9,42475.17%$4742022
Palestine$9,21749.15%$1,7212022
Namibia$8,80269.84%$3,3902022
Madagascar$8,35155.13%$2892022
Niger$7,66151.34%$3032021
Rwanda$7,36866.66%$5472021
Barbados$7,315122.51%$26,0152022
Bosnia and Herzegovina$7,28229.7%$2,0972022
Maldives$7,135114.37%$13,6822022
North Macedonia$7,08252.1%$3,8702022
Estonia$7,01718.5%$5,1372022
Nicaragua$6,88643.94%$1,0052022
Chad$6,76357.36%$3942021
Guinea$6,56741.45%$4852021
Kyrgyzstan$5,74549.22%$8632022
Togo$5,39666.25%$6242022
Equatorial Guinea$5,16642.11%$3,1612021
Mauritania$5,05051.05%$1,0942021
Haiti$4,91523.94%$4292022
Moldova$4,73932.57%$1,8862022
Turkmenistan$4,5005.83%$7102022
Montenegro$4,40572.1%$7,1432022
Fiji$4,18191.05%$4,5222022
Sierra Leone$3,81995.78%$4692022
Eritrea$3,794179.66%$1,0672020
Botswana$3,72517.98%$1,4392022
Suriname$3,571119.64%$5,8542021
Tajikistan$3,41932.59%$3512022
Bhutan$3,378127.33%$4,4862022
Guyana$3,31143.21%$4,1152021
South Sudan$3,11652.5%$2902021
Cape Verde$3,047147.58%$5,1832021
Burundi$2,67868.35%$2192022
Eswatini$2,07242.02%$1,7382022
Belize$1,89263.38%$4,2812022
Liberia$1,87053.31%$3602021
Gambia$1,79082.84%$6782022
Saint Lucia$1,73774.21%$9,5942022
Antigua and Barbuda$1,51686.24%$15,0112022
Afghanistan$1,4907.4%$452020
Djibouti$1,48140.44%$1,4782022
Lesotho$1,47659.93%$6472022
San Marino$1,37076.69%$40,5062022
Andorra$1,32039.37%$16,1732022
Central African Republic$1,23047.61%$2502021
Seychelles$1,06270.73%$10,6972021
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines$83387.93%$7,9832022
Grenada$77363.57%$6,7832022
Dominica$65298.53%$9,0072022
Saint Kitts and Nevis$59161.13%$12,4072022
Vanuatu$48448.02%$1,6032020
Sao Tome and Principe$41386.66%$1,8872020
Samoa$36443.7%$1,8202022
Brunei$3432.06%$7782022
Comoros$32825.51%$3562021
Solomon Islands$26916.92%$3802022
Tonga$22347.55%$2,1072021
Palau$16968.39%$9,3892022
Micronesia$6315.49%$5572021
Marshall Islands$5019.22%$1,1112022
Kiribati$3917.08%$3042021
Nauru$3624.79%$2,8732021
Tuvalu$610.07%$5582022

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What country has the highest national debt?

The United States has the highest national debt. However, Japan has the highest national debt relative to its GDP of any developed economy in the world.

Which 5 countries own the most US debt?

Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Luxembourg own the most US debt, in that order.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources

National Debt by Country / Countries with the Highest National Debt 2024 (2024)

FAQs

What is the world debt in 2024? ›

By end-2024, we project the commercial sovereign debt stock will reach a record of $71 trillion, the most ever in absolute terms.

Which countries have the highest national debt? ›

Profiles of Select Countries by National Debt
  • Japan. Japan has the highest percentage of national debt in the world at 259.43% of its annual GDP. ...
  • United States. ...
  • China. ...
  • Russia.

Who owns America's debt in 2024? ›

Of the total held by foreign countries, Japan and Mainland China held the greatest portions, with China holding 797.7 billion U.S. dollars in U.S. securities. Other foreign holders included oil exporting countries and Caribbean banking centers.

What 3 countries hold most of the US debt? ›

Nearly half of all US foreign-owned debt comes from five countries. All values are adjusted to 2023 dollars. As of January 2023, the five countries owning the most US debt are Japan ($1.1 trillion), China ($859 billion), the United Kingdom ($668 billion), Belgium ($331 billion), and Luxembourg ($318 billion).

Which country has the highest debt in 2024? ›

30 Countries with Highest Debt-to-GDP: 2024 Rankings
  • Sierra Leone. Debt-to-GDP Ratio (2024): 82.6. ...
  • The Bahamas. Debt-to-GDP Ratio (2024): 83.7. ...
  • China. Debt-to-GDP Ratio (2024): 87.4. ...
  • Egypt. Debt-to-GDP Ratio (2024): 88.1. ...
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Debt-to-GDP Ratio (2024): 89.2. ...
  • Brazil. ...
  • Republic of Congo. ...
  • Dominica.
Jan 29, 2024

Which country has the highest debt in the World Bank? ›

India takes the top spot. The world's most populous country owed $38.3bn to the WB at the end of 2022, down by almost $1.5bn from a year earlier. India's outstanding balance is almost double that of the next biggest debtor, Indonesia, with $20.6bn.

What country does the US owe the most money to? ›

Who does the United States owe the most debt to? As of July 2020, Japan overtook China and became the largest foreign debt collector for the U.S. The United States currently owes Japan about $1.2 trillion according to the U.S. Treasury report.

Does China owe the US money? ›

Among other countries, Japan and China have continued to be the top owners of US debt during the last two decades. Since the dollar is a strong currency that is accepted globally, holding a substantial amount of US debt can be beneficial.

Why is Japan's debt not a problem? ›

Around 70% of Japanese government bonds are purchased by the Bank of Japan, and much of the remainder is purchased by Japanese banks and trust funds, which largely insulates the prices and yields of such bonds from the effects of the global bond market and reduces their sensitivity to credit rating changes.

What happens if China dumps US bonds? ›

If China (or any other nation that has a trade surplus with the U.S.) stops buying U.S. Treasuries or even starts dumping its U.S. forex reserves, its trade surplus would become a trade deficit—something which no export-oriented economy would want, as they would be worse off as a result.

Do other countries owe the US money? ›

China owes the United States $1.3 trillion, which is the most debt out of all the countries that are its debtors. Japan was the primary debt holder until 2008, but now comes in second place, with $1.2 trillion. Other countries with outstanding U.S. debt include Russia, India and South Korea.

Do countries still owe the US money from WWII? ›

The case of debts arising from World War II is somewhat less complicated. At this time only four countries, discussed below, owe the U.S. government debts of any size arising from World War II programs to aid our allies. Other countries have paid their debts in full.

What is the richest country in the world? ›

Luxembourg

This country controls the pandemic duration better than any other European country. In 2020, they had a growth rate of minus 0.9%, and the country will grow by 7% in 2021. Hans Luxembourg is at the top of the list of the richest countries in the world by GDP 14,3740 USD.

Is U.S. debt worse than other countries? ›

The United States has the world's largest national economy but comes in second for most indebted country. The U.S.'s steadily rising debt-to-GDP ratio hit 121.38% in 2022, making it the third-highest in our study.

How much does China owe the United States? ›

The United States pays interest on approximately $850 billion in debt held by the People's Republic of China. China, however, is currently in default on its sovereign debt held by American bondholders.

What is the World's debt right now? ›

Global debt refers to the total amount of money owed by all sectors, including governments, businesses, and households worldwide. As of 2022, global debt was the equivalent of 305 trillion USD.

How much debt is the World in to itself? ›

Global public debt tripled since the mid-1970s to reach 92 percent of GDP (or just above $91 trillion) by end-2022. Private debt also tripled to 146 percent of GDP (or close to $144 trillion), but over a longer time span between 1960 and 2022.

How much billion debt does the US have? ›

In February 2024, the total federal government debt grew to $34.4 trillion after having grown by approximately $1 trillion in both of two separate 100-day periods since the previous June. The annualized cost of servicing this debt was $726 billion in July 2023, which accounted for 14% of the total federal spending.

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