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United States Debt - Who Owns the United States?

Updated on March 5, 2011

Top 10 Foreign Holders of U.S Debt

As the U.S continues to print more money, the United States national debt keeps increasing at alarming rate. We hear about national debt all the time, but what exactly is it.

United States National Debt = the money we owe others - Prettty Simple.

Who do we own money to? Here is a breakdown of the top 10 foreign holders of U.S debt from Yahoo Finance.

1. China (Mainland)

China hold about $891 billion dollars of United States, and is currently the largest holder of United States debt. Overall. they account for roughly 20.4% of our total debt. The $891 billion in U.S Treasury Securities that China owns is almost equal to the combined 2009 GDP of Illinois ($630.4 Billion) and Indiana (262.6 Billion) bin 2009, a little higher at $893 Billion.

Amount Owed = $891.6 billion

Percentage of total foreign debt = 20.4%

2. Japan

At no suprise, In second place on the list of the U.S foreign creditors is Japan, which holds over a 1/5 of our debt with $883.6 billion This number is comparable to the combined GDP of Winsconsin ($244.4 Billion),  Iowa ($142.3 Billion), Missouri ($239.8 Billion), and Minnesota ($260.7 Billion). This combined GDP of these states is $887.2 Billion .

Amount Owed = $883.6 billion

Percentage of total foreign debt = 20.2%

3. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom holds the third position of U.S debt holders. They are perhaps our biggest alliy, the United Kingdom consists of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Wales, The Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. The United Kingdom holds roughly $541.3 Billion in U.S foreign debt, which is about 12.4% of total foreign debt. The amount is almost equal to the combined GDP of New Jersey ($483 Billion) and Delaware ($60.6 Billion). These two state have a combined GDP of $543.6 Billion.

Amount Owed = $541.3 Billion

Percentage of total foreign debt = 12.4%

4. Oil Exporters

This is a group of Oil Exporters that have bought U.S foreign debt. The Oil Exporter group consists of 15 countries and they are: Ecuador, Venezuela, Bahrain, Iran, Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman,  Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates,  Gabon, Indonesia, Libya, Qatar, and Nigeria. as a group, the Oil Exporters hold about 5% of total U.S. Foreign debt  at $218 Billion. This is almost equal to the combined 2009 GDP of Kansas ($124.9 Billion) and Nebraska (86.4 Billion). This is a combined GDP of $211.3 Billion.

Amount Owed = $218 billion

Percentage of total foreign debt = 5%

5. Brazil

Coming in at 5th place is Brazil down in South America. Mostly, Brazil is known for its carnivals and beaches. Currently, Brazil holds roughly $180.8 Billion in U.S foreign debt, which is 4.1% of total U.S debt. This is almost equal to the combined GDP of Nevada ($126.5 Billion) and Idaho ($54 Billion), This is a combined $180.5 Billion.

Amount Owed = $180.8 billion

Percentage of total foreign debt = 4.1%

6. Caribbean Banking Centers

Yes, that's right - Carribean Banking Centers is number 6 on the list of foreign debt holders. This group definitly has the capital to make this investment, and this is all made possible from offshore banking. This group consists of Bermuda, Netherlands Antilles, British Virgin Islands, Panama, Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands. This group holds $155.6 Billion in U.S. Treasury Securities. This is almost equal to the GDP of Kentucky ($156.6 Billion).

Amount Owed = $155.6 billion

Percentage of total foreign debt = 3.6%

7. Hong Kong

Isn't this China? Sure is. Hong Kong comes in at the seventh position. Formelrly, a British part of China, Hong Kong, still maintains a seperate government and economic ties from China's mainland. They own about $132.2 Billion in U.S debt, which is roughly 3.2% of all U.S debt. The combined GDP of Washington D.C. ($99.1 Billion) and Wyoming ($37.5 Billion) for a toal of $136.6 Billion.

Amount Owed = $138.2 billion

Percentage of total foreign debt = 3.2%

8. Canada

Yes, we owe Canada money too. Currently, Canada falls into 8th place on the list of coutries who own the United States. Canada holds about $134.6 Billion in U.S. debt, which is about 3.1% of total debt. This is comparable to the combined GDP of New Hampshire ($59.4 Billion), Vermont ($25.4 Billion), and Maine ($51.3 Billion). This totals $136.1 Billion.

Amount Owed = $891.6 billion

Percentage of total foreign debt = 20.4%

9. Taiwan

Taiwan comes in at number 9. Taiwain is an island located about 100 miles off the coast of China, and is claimed by the People's Republic of China. They also hole a nice chunk of the U.S. Debt at $131.9 Billion. This would equal a combined GDP of Hawaii ($66.4 Billion) and West Virginia ($63.2 Billion), which totals $129.7 Billion).

Amount Owed = $131.9 billion

Percentage of total foreign debt = 3.0%

10. Russia

Coming in at number 10 on the list of U.S debt holders is Russia. They roughly hold 2.4% of the U.S. debt at $106.2 Billion. This would equal the combined GDP of South Dakota (38.3 Billion), North Dakota ($31.9 Billion) and Montana ($36 Billion) for a combined total GDP of $106.2 Billion.

Amount Owed = $106.2 billion

Percentage of total foreign debt = 2.4%

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