Americans aren’t the only people who’ve been running up debt

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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
Denmark 260%
Netherlands 246%
New Zealand 181%
Australia 173%
United Kingdom 159%
Ireland 141%
United States 135%
Sweden 134%
Japan 132%
Canada 126%
Germany 107%
Spain 107%
Finland 89%
France 89%
Italy 59%

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.

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