Data visualization of Eurozone debt over time

A reader asked if I could give perspective on the Eurozone debt problems taking into account the relatively small size of Greece and relatively big trouble it’s caused for the world. Specifically, what is the risk of “contagion” or similar problems happening with bigger countries. I’ve been toying with Google’s motion charts lately so I thought it would be a good medium to demonstrate the Eurozone debt situation over time using various metrics.

It’s a busy chart, but it shows the change in Debt-to-GDP, Total Debt, and Total GDP between 1997 and 2013 (the 2012 and 2013 numbers are projected numbers).

  • Total GDP is on the X axis – so as data moves right, that country’s economy is expanding
  • Debt-to-GDP is shown on the Y axis – as data moves up, that country is getting into a more dangerous debt load
  • The colour of the data points also “heats up” to reflect dangerous levels in the Debt-to-GDP ratio (Blue is safe, green to yellow is getting high, and red is… Greece)
  • The size of the data points also vary with Total Debt of that country – so if a big bubble was red, that means Greece would look like a candle compared to the sun (as Greece is relatively small)

Note: You have to press the Play button on the bottom left of the chart to see how each country changed over time.

You may have to refresh this page to see the chart. It’s flash based, so it may not work on some mobile devices.

You can actually play with the chart to visualize the data in multiple ways. By clicking in various spots you can change what data is shown on the X and Y axes, and you can also control the size and colours of the bubbles to correspond to different variables as well.

Data Sources:

European Commission Eurostat Statistics

GDP in Euros from 1.1.1999, in ECU up to 31.12.1998; Gross Domestic Product at market prices
Debt in Euros from 1.1.1999, in ECU up to 31.12.1998; AMECO Dataset, General Government consolidated Gross Debt

Preet Banerjee
Preet Banerjee an independent consultant to the financial services industry and a personal finance commentator. You can learn more about Preet at his personal website and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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Showing 9 comments
  • Chris

    It sounds like a really cool chart. Unfortunately, all I see is “Access denied” :(

    • Preet

      LOL – thanks Chris. I forgot to make the google spreadsheet viewable to anyone but me. I *think* it should work now.

      • Chris

         @Preet It works now. Time to have a little fun :)

  • Frank Wiginton

    WOW – this is VERY cool! You can really get a much better understanding of the bigger picture when you look at this over the 15 year period.

  • ValenSmith

    If by “the crisis” one would refer to the fact that unregulated predatory capitalism has derailed, indeed it isn’t over. Quite the opposite, instead of putting the train back on the rails (derivative regulation, banking tax, separation of commercial and investment banking, closure of tax havens) it is left to rampage though the population who are cowered into austerity. But the Europe as it is now, with bailouts to Greece who are actually for banks while pushing people into bread lines, with sovereign control over the budget relinquished to ultraliberal undemocratic “Europe”, and with austerity that simply cannot be believed to lead to growth, with “the markets” dictating our every move and mainly in the process of killing the social correction on capitalism that we had.

  • Cash Loans

    You know, economic data indicate that eurozone growth is very weak right now, even in the stronger core countries. The region is facing a number of headwinds, such as fiscal and monetary tightening, household and corporate deleveraging, and stress in the financial sector. A recession in the peripheral economies is almost certain and has probably already begun. Will see what will happen next…

  • PaydayEffect

    Wow this is amazing to see how things have changed since 1997, it is totally irresponsible Greece has been able to get into so much debt. It looks like Italy is the next big worry due to the size of its bubble, as moves closer to red.

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