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GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE: Virgin Islands’ Debt Is Higher Than Any Other American Territory

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WASHINGTON — U.S. territories, like states, borrow through financial markets.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the territories’ fiscal year 2005-2015 public debt.

Puerto Rico‘s debt grew to 66 percent of GDP and the territory is now in default. Its financial future is unclear until debt restructuring is complete.

Guam‘s debt increased to 44 percent of GDP. Large unfunded pensions, if unaddressed, may hamper repayment.

The U.S. Virgin Islands‘ debt grew to 72 percent of GDP. It’s uncertain if financial reform will let the territory borrow at favorable rates again.

At 11 percent and 16 percent of GDP, respectively, American Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands had lower debt relative to the size of their economies.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region since 1989. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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