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To view US debt from the point of total governmental debt per person is potentially misleading from the GAAP accounting rules. US corporate and personal debt have to be considered as part of the US debt picture. There are some suggestions that the total cumulative debt (the sum of all governmental debt + corporate debt + personal debt) in the US may be 700,000 USD per person or about 2.17 Million per household (of 2.28 people)

  • Spreadsheet with total debt calculations, experimental
  • This debt number is not often used in US monetary policy discussions, so it is hard to find common agreement on how it should be computed.
  • The total debt per person in other nations is also equally not known due to the obscurity of the calculation.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles that make this debt computation necessary

  • Principle of consistency: The consistency principle requires accountants to apply the same methods and procedures from period to period. This debt number is best understood when tracked over longer timeframes.
  • Principle of sincerity: According to this principle, the accounting unit should reflect in good faith the reality of the nation's financial status.
  • Principle of Full Disclosure/Materiality: All information and values pertaining to the financial position of a nation must be disclosed in its records. Nation states are not immune from this kind of disclosure.


See also