* indicates monthly or quarterly data series

Government debt as percent of GDP, 2022:

The average for 2022 based on 163 countries was 61.07 percent. The highest value was in Japan: 238.7 percent and the lowest value was in Liechtenstein: 0.5 percent. The indicator is available from 1960 to 2023. Below is a chart for all countries where data are available.

Measure: percent; Source:
Select indicator
* indicates monthly or quarterly data series


Countries Government debt, 2022 Global rank Available data
Japan 238.7 1 2013 - 2022
Greece 172.7 2 1995 - 2023
Singapore 158.25 3 1990 - 2023
Italy 140.5 4 1995 - 2023
Laos 134.52 5 2001 - 2022
Suriname 122.2 6 2006 - 2022
Cape Verde 120.85 7 2000 - 2022
Barbados 120.3 8 2012 - 2023
Bhutan 117.77 9 1993 - 2023
USA 116.86 10 1960 - 2023
Maldives 114.3 11 2012 - 2023
Sri Lanka 113.8 12 2000 - 2022
Portugal 112.4 13 1995 - 2023
France 111.9 14 1978 - 2023
Spain 111.6 15 1995 - 2023
Canada 107.37 16 1980 - 2023
Belgium 104.3 17 1995 - 2023
Dominica 104.3 18 2000 - 2022
Zimbabwe 100.58 19 2005 - 2023
Zambia 99.48 20 2000 - 2022
UK 99.42 21 1974 - 2023
Mozambique 99.28 22 1999 - 2022
Sierra Leone 94.09 23 2001 - 2023
Ghana 93.26 24 1990 - 2022
Bahamas 91.5 25 2003 - 2023
Euro area 90.8 26 1995 - 2023
Aruba 90.1 27 1989 - 2022
Egypt 88.53 28 1998 - 2023
St. Vincent & ... 87.77 29 2000 - 2022
Fiji 87.3 30 2016 - 2022
Cyprus 85.6 31 1995 - 2023
Saint Lucia 85.6 32 2000 - 2022
Argentina 85 33 1997 - 2022
Ant.& Barb. 84.83 34 2000 - 2022
Bahrain 84.4 35 2010 - 2023
Mauritius 84.2 36 2000 - 2023
Gambia 82.86 37 2000 - 2023
India 81.68 38 1991 - 2022
Costa Rica 81.33 39 1991 - 2023
Bolivia 80.36 40 2000 - 2022
G.-Bissau 80.36 41 1997 - 2022
Tunisia 79.42 42 1986 - 2022
El Salvador 79.25 43 1991 - 2023
Ukraine 78.5 44 1997 - 2022
Austria 78.4 45 1988 - 2023
China 77.09 46 1995 - 2023
Jamaica 77.09 47 1999 - 2023
Jordan 76.8 48 1988 - 2023
San Marino 76.55 49 2001 - 2022
Malawi 75.75 50 2002 - 2023
Hungary 74.1 51 1995 - 2023
Pakistan 73.9 52 1997 - 2023
Finland 73.5 53 1975 - 2023
Slovenia 72.5 54 1995 - 2023
Brazil 71.68 55 2006 - 2023
South Africa 71.1 56 2000 - 2023
Montenegro 70.09 57 2014 - 2022
Morocco 69.8 58 1990 - 2022
Djibouti 67.93 59 2009 - 2022
Croatia 67.8 60 1995 - 2023
Uruguay 67.08 61 2012 - 2023
Kenya 66.7 62 2000 - 2023
Togo 66.52 63 2005 - 2022
Germany 66.1 64 1991 - 2023
Yemen 65.83 65 1999 - 2022
Tr.&Tobago 65.5 66 2007 - 2023
Seychelles 65 67 1990 - 2022
Colombia 64.95 68 2006 - 2022
Angola 64.84 69 2000 - 2022
Grenada 64.75 70 2000 - 2022
Albania 64.47 71 1993 - 2023
Gabon 63.65 72 1990 - 2022
Rwanda 61.09 73 1995 - 2023
Thailand 60.95 74 1996 - 2023
Israel 60.49 75 1983 - 2023
Nicaragua 60.42 76 2003 - 2022
Lesotho 59.86 77 2005 - 2022
Domin. Rep. 58.56 78 2000 - 2022
Burkina Faso 58.4 79 2002 - 2022
S.T.&Principe 58.15 80 2001 - 2022
Burundi 57.9 81 2007 - 2022
Panama 57.86 82 1997 - 2022
Slovakia 57.7 83 1993 - 2023
Serbia 55.6 84 2000 - 2023
Ecuador 55.36 85 1990 - 2023
Ivory Coast 55.28 86 1997 - 2022
Benin 54.19 87 1998 - 2022
Liberia 53.9 88 2000 - 2022
Madagascar 53.36 89 1990 - 2022
Mali 52.88 90 2000 - 2022
Malta 51.6 91 1995 - 2023
Niger 50.69 92 1995 - 2022
North Macedonia 50.49 93 1999 - 2023
Australia 50.11 94 1989 - 2022
Netherlands 50.1 95 1980 - 2023
South Korea 49.4 96 1990 - 2022
Mauritania 49.25 97 2000 - 2023
Kyrgyzstan 49.22 98 2000 - 2022
Armenia 49.2 99 2006 - 2022
Poland 49.2 100 1995 - 2023
Honduras 48.45 101 2002 - 2023
Algeria 48.08 102 1991 - 2022
Romania 47.5 103 1995 - 2023
Cameroon 45.33 104 1998 - 2022
Tanzania 44.88 105 2001 - 2022
Ethiopia 44.7 106 2014 - 2023
Ireland 44.4 107 1995 - 2023
Czechia 44.17 108 1995 - 2023
Samoa 43.53 109 1998 - 2022
Qatar 42.47 110 1990 - 2022
Latvia 41.8 111 1995 - 2023
Belarus 41.3 112 2004 - 2022
Swaziland 40.95 113 1993 - 2023
Mexico 40.8 114 1998 - 2022
Georgia 40.7 115 2004 - 2023
Nepal 40.4 116 1975 - 2023
Oman 40.2 117 1990 - 2022
Guinea 40.18 118 1990 - 2023
Indonesia 40.14 119 2000 - 2023
Chile 38 120 1991 - 2022
Switzerland 36.92 121 1991 - 2023
Norway 36.5 122 1980 - 2023
Chad 35.92 123 1999 - 2022
Paraguay 35.76 124 2004 - 2023
Iran 35.75 125 1996 - 2022
Moldova 34.7 126 2008 - 2022
Eq. Guinea 34.62 127 1980 - 2022
Uzbekistan 33.9 128 1997 - 2023
Peru 33.84 129 1999 - 2022
Sweden 33.2 130 1995 - 2023
New Zealand 33.1 131 1972 - 2023
Tajikistan 32.12 132 1998 - 2022
UA Emirates 31.08 133 1999 - 2022
Turkey 30.8 134 2002 - 2023
Denmark 29.8 135 2000 - 2023
Taiwan 29.69 136 1997 - 2022
Bosnia & Herz. 29.62 137 1998 - 2022
Haiti 28.91 138 1997 - 2022
Bangladesh 28.2 139 1995 - 2022
Comoros 28.07 140 1984 - 2022
Guatemala 27.27 141 2007 - 2023
Cambodia 25.67 142 1996 - 2022
Guyana 25.11 143 1997 - 2022
Luxembourg 24.73 144 1995 - 2023
Saudi Arabia 23.93 145 1991 - 2022
Kazakhstan 23.52 146 2002 - 2022
Nigeria 22.85 147 2004 - 2023
Bulgaria 22.6 148 1997 - 2023
Estonia 18.5 149 1995 - 2023
Palestine 18.5 150 1995 - 2022
Azerbaijan 17.34 151 1995 - 2022
Russia 17.2 152 1997 - 2022
Puerto Rico 16.75 153 2006 - 2022
Solomon Isl. 16 154 2005 - 2022
DR Congo 14.31 155 2000 - 2022
Afghanistan 10.93 156 2002 - 2022
Tuvalu 10.07 157 2005 - 2022
Turkmenistan 5.77 158 1997 - 2022
Montserrat 4.67 159 2000 - 2022
Hong Kong 4.28 160 2001 - 2022
Kuwait 2.95 161 1991 - 2022
Brunei 2.06 162 1985 - 2022
Liechtenstein 0.5 163 2011 - 2022



Definition: Debt is the entire stock of direct government fixed-term contractual obligations to others outstanding on a particular date. It includes domestic and foreign liabilities such as currency and money deposits, securities other than shares, and loans. It is the gross amount of government liabilities reduced by the amount of equity and financial derivatives held by the government. Because debt is a stock rather than a flow, it is measured as of a given date, usually the last day of the fiscal year.
Why and how do governments borrow money?

Governments engage in various activities but tax revenue often falls short of the financing needed to fund these activities. That results in a fiscal deficit, a situation where government expenditure exceeds revenue. To finance such a deficit, governments borrow to undertake their fundamental roles. In addition, governments consider borrowing over the printing of money or an increase in tax due to the risk of inflation or reducing household consumption and private investment.

Governments owe public debt either to local or foreign lenders. Most government debts are usually in the form of bills, bonds, notes, etc., which the governments are expected to pay back the domestic holders at an agreed time. Furthermore, governments also accumulate foreign debt by borrowing from foreign banks, foreign governments, or multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and the IMF. The major distinction between domestic and foreign debts is that while the former is owed in the country’s currency, the latter is owed in a foreign currency, usually the U.S. dollar. Maintaining government debt in the domestic currency is preferable but countries often resort to foreign borrowing when the amount needed cannot be provided via local sources.

At what threshold does debt become a problem?

The general prudence prescription is that advanced economics should aim for debt no greater than 60 percent of GDP while emerging markets should not exceed 40 percent of GDP. However, these levels are not set in stone as various studies point to debt of 100 percent or even more for developed countries. Clearly, most advanced economies have government debt to GDP well in excess of 60 percent and these debts are sustainable and do not seem to reduce economic growth. For emerging markets the 40 percent threshold seems more binding as the debt is more likely to be denominated in dollars and the countries have more limited access to global financial markets. If the dollar appreciates or global liquidity declines, these countries could enter into debt problems.

A major consideration is whether the debt service, i.e. the interest paid on debt, is a large fraction of government spending. If it is, then servicing the debt could become a problem in economic downturns when government revenue declines or when interest rates increase.

At the far end of the debt scale are the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) with debt levels as high as 200 percent of GDP or even greater. These are poor nations that cannot service these debts without the sustained help of the multilateral institutions. For more information about the list of countries and the HIPC initiative, you can visit the International Monetary Fund Factsheet page.

Measures to maintain debt sustainability

There are several approaches to promoting debt sustainability. First, maintaining sustained high GDP growth helps to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio, which significantly lowers the volume of debt relative to GDP. Second, governments can also use low interest payments to reduce the burden of debt repayment. Third, if debt is acquired in a foreign currency, countries can ensure debt sustainability by maintaining a low depreciation in their exchange rate in order to reduce the cost of repaying the debt.

And, overall, debt to GDP does not increase if fiscal deficits to GDP are lower than the rate of GDP growth. Then, while fiscal deficits add to the level of debt, these additions are smaller than the expansion of the economy. The debt to GDP ratio then does not increase. In other words, the surest path to debt sustainability is to keep the debt level low by not running large fiscal deficits.


238.70
172.70
158.25
140.50
134.52
122.20
120.85
120.30
117.77
116.86
114.30
113.80
112.40
111.90
111.60
107.37
104.30
104.30
100.58
99.48
99.42
99.28
94.09
93.26
91.50
90.80
90.10
88.53
87.77
87.30
85.60
85.60
85.00
84.83
84.40
84.20
82.86
81.68
81.33
80.36
80.36
79.42
79.25
78.50
78.40
77.09
77.09
76.80
76.55
75.75
74.10
73.90
73.50
72.50
71.68
71.10
70.09
69.80
67.93
67.80
67.08
66.70
66.52
66.10
65.83
65.50
65.00
64.95
64.84
64.75
64.47
63.65
61.09
60.95
60.49
60.42
59.86
58.56
58.40
58.15
57.90
57.86
57.70
55.60
55.36
55.28
54.19
53.90
53.36
52.88
51.60
50.69
50.49
50.11
50.10
49.40
49.25
49.22
49.20
49.20
48.45
48.08
47.50
45.33
44.88
44.70
44.40
44.17
43.53
42.47
41.80
41.30
40.95
40.80
40.70
40.40
40.20
40.18
40.14
38.00
36.92
36.50
35.92
35.76
35.75
34.70
34.62
33.90
33.84
33.20
33.10
32.12
31.08
30.80
29.80
29.69
29.62
28.91
28.20
28.07
27.27
25.67
25.11
24.73
23.93
23.52
22.85
22.60
18.50
18.50
17.34
17.20
16.75
16.00
14.31
10.93
10.07
5.77
4.67
4.28
2.95
2.06
0.50
0
59.7
119.4
179
238.7
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