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A Global History of Debt By Region: Map from 1970-2010

Breakdown of how each region's external debt around the world has evolved through the decades, starting back in 1970, all the way until today.

debt by region

A Global History of Debt: National Debts Rise and Fall in the Last 10 Years

We all read about the U.S. national debt, and whether we should be concerned that it's in the $12 trillion range these days. But the United States isn't the only country carrying a huge amount of debt. In fact, it seems that operating just about any country is a money losing proposition.

According to the CIA's World Bank data, the majority of countries carry huge sums of national debt. And for most countries - although there are exceptions - that debt is constantly rising.

Look at Mexico: In 2000, the country had a $150.3 billion national debt. That's minuscule by U.S. standards, yes, but, like the United States, Mexico's debt is growing. The World Bank estimates that the country's national debt has risen to $189.4 billion in 2010.

And Mexico is far from alone: Poland's national debt has risen from $65.8 billion in 2000 to a much higher $185.2 billion in 2010. Hungary's debt has jumped from $29.5 billion to $134.7 billion during the same time, a rather large bump.

Turkey, too, has seen its national debt soar. The country's debt stood at $117.3 billion in 2000, but is estimated to be at $310.6 billion now. In India, the national debt has risen from $99.1 billion in 2000 to an estimated $204.5 billion in 2010.

Not all countries, though, are adding to their debt. Some have managed to slash their debt over the years. Brazil has seen its national debt fall from $239.2 billion in 2000 to $232.3 billion in 2010. Argentina's national debt has dropped from a mark of $147.5 billion in 2000 to $132.7 billion today.

In all, though, most countries and regions have seen their national debts rise fairly steadily during the last decade. This might give some comfort to the people worried that the United States is growing its debt too quickly. Though to be fair to the critics, there is no country out there growing its debt quite as significantly as is the United States.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. total national debt has increased more than $500 billion each year since fiscal year 2003. This includes sky-high yearly increases of $1 trillion in fiscal year 2008 and $1.9 trillion in fiscal year 2009.

If the United States was a consumer, then, it would have long ago maxed out all of its credit cards.

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