by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
America’s student loan debt level has reached a crushing total of $1.16 trillion, according to a quarterly report on household debt and credit released this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
To put this $1.16 trillion figure in perspective, it is more than the annual gross domestic products of Denmark, Greece, Chile and Israel — combined.
With a collective annual GDP of about $1.14 billion (as tabulated by the International Monetary Fund), the entire economies of Denmark ($330.6 billion), Greece ($241.8 billion), Chile ($276.9 billion) and Israel ($290.6 billion) fail to produce enough in a whole year to pay off America’s student debt.
The enormity of the U.S. student loan mess is almost as big as the entire economy of Mexico (annual GDP: $1.26 trillion), and it dwarfs the economic output of Central America. The 43 million or so people in all seven countries in Central America would have to give everything they produce for about eight years to pay off America’s current student debt.
The accumulated student loan debt in the United States increased $77 billion over the course of 2014.