Countries in crisis

A debt crisis is any situation where debt is leading to human rights being denied, or even being put ahead of life itself. In our map of debt crises below we evaluate which countries are in a debt crisis, and which are at risk of one.

For a more detailed picture check out the Debt Data Portal. This map uses a Peters Projection, which shows every country at the correct size in relation to each other. Many traditional maps increase the relative size of countries towards the north and south of the globe, while shrinking those nearer the equator.

Based on the amount their governments are spending on debt payments which leave the country, Debt Justice estimates that people in 54 countries are currently living in debt crisis, up from 31 in 2018 and 22 in 2015.

Many countries in the global South were already in or near debt crisis before the coronavirus crisis began, and the economic impacts of the crisis have made the situation far worse.

Debt crises can be caused by debts owed by the government or private sector (companies and households), or both. As well as the 54 countries in debt crisis, Debt Justice estimates that 14 countries are at risk of a public or private debt crisis, 22 at risk of just a private sector debt crisis, and 21 just a public sector debt crisis. 

The Debt Data Portal has more information about how we calculate whether a country is in debt crisis or at risk of one.

Here are case studies you can read about six countries:

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