The 50 countries with the highest national debt in the world

By | October 8, 2021

National debt is the term used to describe the extraordinary government revenue that a country generates through public debt. This indebtedness in turn results in expenses for interest and the associated repayments, which burden each individual state. That is why countries use this means in order to be able to use it to finance their state activities. In this country, tasks such as transport, research, education, defense or social security are covered by the national debt. A large part of the sum is invested in social security, which includes pensions and social security.

Ranking of the 50 countries with the highest national debt

Rank Country National debt (%)
1 Lebanon (Asia) 192.20
2 Malawi (Africa) 183.70
3 Japan (Asia) 154.20
4 Seychelles (Africa) 144.70
5 Jamaica (North America) 122.80
6 Zimbabwe (Africa) 116.20
7 Sudan (Africa) 116.20
8 Italy (Europe) 110.20
9 Egypt (Africa) 106.20
10 Greece (Europe) 104.40
11 Singapore (Asia) 100.30
12 Israel (Asia) 96.60
13 Belgium (Europe) 93.20
14 Sri Lanka (Asia) 89.60
15 Moldova (Europe) 84.30
16 Nicaragua (North America) 78.60
17 Jordan (Asia) 76.30
18 Cyprus (Europe) 73.20
19 Morocco (Africa) 73.10
20 Ghana (Africa) 72.30
21 Canada (North America) 72.10
22 Philippines (Asia) 71.50
23 Zambia (Africa) 68.40
24 Uganda (Africa) 66.80
25 Austria (Europe) 66.70
26 Honduras (North America) 66.20
27 Turkey (Asia) 66.10
28 France (Europe) 65.40
29 Mauritius (Africa) 65.40
30 United States of America (North America) 65.30
31 Portugal (Europe) 64.60
32 Argentina (South America) 64.10
33 Cameroon (Africa) 63.30
34 Tanzania, United Republic of (Africa) 63.20
35 Panama (North America) 62.10
36 Hungary (Europe) 59.40
37 Ivory Coast (Africa) 59.30
38 Tunisia (Africa) 58.60
39 Norway (Europe) 56.70
40 Pakistan (Asia) 55.60
41 Costa Rica (North America) 55.20
42 India (Asia) 52.40
43 Croatia (Europe) 52.40
44 Switzerland (Europe) 51.40
45 Vietnam (Asia) 51.40
46 Netherlands (Europe) 51.30
47 Germany (Europe) 51.10
48 Brazil (South America) 50.40
49 Poland (Europe) 49.20
50 Sweden (Europe) 49.20
The national debt describes the total claims accepted by the state of the lending creditors on the state as a percentage of GDP .

This country comparison takes 110 countries into account. See for top 10 richest countries in the world.

National debt (%) statistics

feature value
Number of countries covered 110
average 51.97
Median 48.10
minimum 1.70
maximum 192.20
Standard deviation 35.20

A high level of national debt affects countries around the world

An international comparison shows that countries across the continent are affected by high national debt. The ranks of the countries with the highest national debt also include a number of European countries, some of whose situation has nevertheless improved in recent years. Many countries come from Africa. The most important reason for the national debt in these areas are political and economic problems. The same reasons are responsible for the high national debt in Lebanon from the Middle East. But no other country has such a high level of national debt as Japan. Despite the flourishing economy, the state suffers from high debt. As a result, VAT was recently raised in Japan. Now it remains to be seen

Japan: The country with the highest national debt

The national debt figures in Japan speak for themselves. The country owes its creditors a total of 238 percent of the gross domestic product. In contrast to most other countries with high national debt, however, it is mainly other Japanese who are affected as creditors. Thus the situation seems to be more stable than one would actually assume. The fate of Greece’s indebtedness is also far from being shelved. In 2017, GDP debt was 182 percent. Although Barbados is known as one of the most prosperous countries in the Eastern Caribbean, the country’s debt is around 157 percent of gross domestic product. The weakening of economic growth is primarily due to external factors such as fluctuating oil prices.

Critical conditions in Lebanon

Lebanon is also one of the most indebted countries in the world with a share of 147 percent of GDP. A large part of the country’s debt belongs to Lebanese banks. The problem in this Middle Eastern country is that the growth rate has been relatively low for several years and there are no higher tax revenues. This means that no investments in the infrastructure are possible. The political situation is aggravated by the war in neighboring Syria.

The red lantern goes in Europe in Italy

In a European comparison, Italy is also the country with the highest national debt. For Eritrea, on the other hand, the national debt is just one of many problems that the relatively newly established country has to deal with. Frequent droughts lead to food insecurity. In addition, since higher military spending is necessary, the country cannot invest in the much-needed development. Another example of an African country with high national debt is the Congo. However, an improvement in national debt can be expected in this region in the near future. Another example of a country with high national debt from Europe is Portugal. But this state, too, has gradually succeeded in improving its economic performance step by step since the crisis in 2001.

highest national debt