The WSJ has a story today about how the global credit crunch is pounding the UK economy. One passage caught my eye:
According to the most recent data from Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, total consumer debt in the U.K. stood at 164% of annual disposable income at the end of 2006, by far the highest level of any developed country. In the U.S., that number was 138%.
That sent me to the OECD’s website to see where other countries stood. I couldn’t find figure out how to get the 2006 numbers (and the folks in Paris have surely headed home for the night), but I did find a report (pdf!) with 2005 (and in a couple cases 2004) numbers:
Household debt as a percentage of disposable income
New Zealand 181%
United Kingdom 159%
United States 135%
So the U.S. is just middle-of-the-road among wealthy nations as far as consumer indebtedness goes. I’m not sure whether I find that reassuring or disturbing.