A state-by-state comparison of all 50 states debt load, via Credit Loan:

click for ginormous chart


See also National Debt by Country

Category: Credit, Digital Media

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

25 Responses to “50 State-By-State Comparison of Debt”

  1. taylorhr says:

    Am I reading this right? Are there 19 states worse off than California?

  2. Marc P says:

    Pretty poor depiction of data. From this it looks like CA and NY are doing just peachy.

    Second, I am not at all convinced that debt to GDP ratio is the relevant number. How about debt per capita, or debt per household, or debt as a percentage of personal income? All that debt has to be paid, and it is the people who have to do it. Corporate taxes are small in most states, and even so businesses simply pass the tax on to purchasers.

  3. Gatsby says:

    I agree this is a terrible InfoGraphic fail. It seems to say the exact opposite of what Meredith Whitney outlines in her report (see Videos section).

    California and Texas are at opposite ends of the fiscal spectrum and according to this chart they are about the same.

  4. destor23 says:

    I feel like I’m not reading this right. As Marc P says above, looking at this would make you think that CA and NY are among the strongest states. Meanwhile Alaska, which I’m sure does have a lot of debt also has it’s own oil profit surplus fund to see it through tough times. So isn’t it stronger than it would appear here?

    Or maybe a lot of people don’t know what they’re talking about and NY and CA are actually not in crisis? It wouldn’t be the first time that a lot of people were wrong.

  5. machinehead says:

    Either something is wrong with the GDP figures, or else state debt to GDP is not a relevant measure. California is in desperate shape, New Jersey not far behind. But the distinction simply doesn’t emerge on this chart.

    Nice graphic concept, but the parameter being plotted doesn’t seem to be informative.

  6. Debt is paid off by income — so I would like to see that depicted (or on a free cash flow/discretionary basis.

  7. lalaland says:

    Damn – california is to states what the us is to other countries…

    Is california + NYC (including suburbs) = 1/2 the us economy?

  8. destor23 says:

    @lalaland: yeah and we shouldn’t let the other 48 forget it!

  9. sir magneto says:

    Did Michigan lose its statehood? Not that this would be a great surprise..

  10. lalaland says:

    @destor23: we should start couching all economics arguments in terms of gdp vs. gdp of Staten Island.

    You got game, Idaho? How many Staten Islands is your gdp? 7/8ths? OMG, Idaho, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Or, more seriously – Richard Shelby is the minority chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs in the Senate (if there is such a title – former chairman under Bush). Alabama aint packing that many Staten Islands if you know what I mean….

  11. radioman says:

    A sortable table of numbers would be a lot easier to read.

  12. I thought it was purty . . .

  13. lalaland says:

    BR: you’ve been hanging out with Shelby too much :)

  14. crunched says:

    This infographic is illogical.

  15. Pool Shark says:

    Looks too much like a collage of Lady Ga Ga hair styles….

  16. forwhomthebelltolls says:

    “The State We’re In”

    “Save your neck or save your brother
    Looks like it’s one or the other
    Oh, you don’t know the state we’re in.”

  17. Trainwreck says:

    This truly does bring new meaning to the term “chartporn”.

  18. Julia Chestnut says:

    Fail. Debt to GDP isn’t the right measure, I’d agree — and more to the point, shouldn’t the dot get BIGGER if the debt ratio is very high? Just doesn’t make sense. Also, in this context, they would have to define “debt,” because it makes no sense in the case of states that can’t run a budget deficit. States might have bonds outstanding – or might have pension obligations that loom in the future but won’t be offset by new income in tax revenues or investments. Those have very different implications for a state, but would both technically be “debt.”

    I know Texas’s situation, and it bears NO resemblance to Illinois’s or California’s. But on this graphic, they look the same. . . . .

    But you are right, BR, it is purty. ;)

  19. Marcus says:

    This is great chart porn. The underlying site has a lot of other interesting comparisons (like the 10 worst consumer rip offs, the highest markups on the underlying material (water, pharmaceuticals, and makeup as examples).

    When you compare countries instead of states, with the worst debt to GDP ratio, the worst is Zimbabwe with Japan close on its heels (241% and 170%). The big winner is Russia (7%).

    A list of 12 majors is given below.

    Zimbabwe 241%
    Japan 170%
    Italy 104%
    India 78%
    France 67%
    Canada 62%
    USA 61%
    Germany 53%
    UK 47%
    Russia 7%

    In bad times Russia gets it all. We may have won the cold war, but Russia seems to have won the economic war, at the least the competition among major powers to see what central government managed its domestic governance best.

  20. Marcus says:

    The chart porn site lists straight debt from world powers. The twelve are listed below (by trillions owed). No matter how you slice it, Japan is screwed, and the top listed country, the US, has a big pile of debt. Zimbabwe is a small country with a small GDP. Their enormous debt compared to their ability to pay back brought the debt problem to a head. Our debt has not been called yet.

    USA 8.68
    Japan 7.47
    India 2.53
    Italy 1.89
    Germany 1.79
    France 1.4
    UK 1.05
    Canada 0.8143
    Zimbabwe 0.472
    Russia 0.151

    When that much debt comes due it won’t be purty

  21. IllusionOfFreedom says:

    Glad to see Michigan is out of debt so my taxes should go down, right?. I guess DC (#37) became a state while I was sleeping.

  22. Detroit Dan says:

    I also looked in vain for Michigan.

    Marcus– National debt is totally different than state debt. Japan is not screwed. Neither are we, unless we let our fixation with the “national debt” keep us from fixing the economy. I suggest you read up on Modern Monetary Theory…

  23. patfla says:

    It’s an interesting graphic. It wasn’t at first clear to me but the chart is sorted, top to bottom, from larger to smaller debt-to-gdp (the black circles are the center).

    We (or at least I) think in terms of the big 4: New York, Florida, Texas and California. Striking to see how many small states are at the top (very high debt-to-gdp). That Rhode Island is there was not a surprise for me.

    And I think debt-to-gdp is not a bad way to make the ranking. Gdp is a decent indication of ability to pay.

  24. heaterman says:

    It’s very logical that no data is available for Michigan. The inmates inhabiting the asylum in Lansing have no clue as to whether they are afoot or horseback, let alone solvent. Terms limits have done egregious damage to our legislature by concentrating power in the executive branch………..the competence of which should be readily apparent to all.

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