Every Country in the World Ranked by Average Personal Debt

Dane Panes

Updated: April 4, 2022

Every Country in the World Ranked by Average Personal Debt

Debt can be a paralyzing force in anyone’s life. It can keep you from pursuing your dreams or accomplishing your goals. And when it comes to personal debt, some countries are definitely better off than others.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the countries with the highest and lowest average personal debts. So, if you’re curious about where your country stacks up, keep reading!

Disclaimer: These figures do not necessarily represent each individual’s debt. These are averages only.

Average Personal Debt by Country (Arranged from Highest to Lowest)

The data below shows how each country fares when it comes to household or personal debts in the year 2020. The data is from the Organization for Economic Co-Operative and Development (OECD).

The average personal debt in each country is represented as the percentage of the annual disposable income of each country. The OECD defines disposable income as “income available to households such as wages and salaries, income from self-employment and unincorporated enterprises, income from pensions and other social benefits, and income from financial investments (less payments of tax, social insurance contributions and interest on financial liabilities).”

The list is arranged from the country with the highest average personal debt to the country with the lowest personal debt.

What does this mean?

Suppose you live in Denmark, and you earn $80,000 a year. Based on the table, Denmark has an annual disposable income of 256%. That means the average household debt in Denmark is $204,800.

Again, the figures above are just the average personal debts. It doesn’t necessarily mean that each person in Denmark has $204,800 in debt.

While the figures may seem high, it’s worth noting that the total debt already includes balances from auto loans, property loans, mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and more. Expensive cities may also contribute to the high personal debt average in some countries. In Denmark’s case, its capital, Copenhagen, was listed as the 25th most expensive city in the world, which may have influenced its high personal debt percentage.

What is the Effect of Increasing Personal Debt in the Country?

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), increasing debts can have a short-term boost and a long-term drag on a country’s economy. The increasing personal debt encourages individuals to spend more on different things, including houses, vehicles, and other commodities. As a result, the demand for products increases, promoting job openings.

However, after three to five years, IMF’s study found that individuals start cutting back on expenses to make way for debt repayments. This causes an increase in unemployment, a decline in demand, and an overall drag on growth.

Fortunately, the financial sectors in every country can do something to help lower the country’s personal debt. Actions such as lowering down payments on mortgages or offering flexible payment solutions for loans may help the citizens reduce their debts.

Dane Panes
Dane Panes started freelance writing in 2017. Since then, she has written about a lot of topics for different businesses. She started writing for SMB Compass in March 2020 and has been a full-time content writer ever since. Now, she focuses mostly on topics related to entrepreneurship and business financing.

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