Source: CNN money By Annalyn Censky@CNNMoneyAugust 6, 2011: 2:52 PM ET
These 15 countries (and the Isle of Man) have the world's highest credit rating, AAA from both Moody's and Standard & Poor's. The U.S. lost that high standing Friday, when S&P downgraded it to a AA+ rating.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Triple-A debt club just got even more exclusive: Late Friday, the United States was booted out of a prestigious group of countries that boast a spotless credit rating.
Now only 15 countries (and the very small Isle of Man) hold the triple-A rating from both Standard & Poor's and Moody's.
Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland are among those with the undisputed stamp of approval -- so is Isle of Man, a British crown dependency off the United Kingdom's west coast, and Singapore (both of which are too small to see on our CNNMoney map above.)
The triple-A rating enables nations to borrow funds at a low cost, because their governments are considered stable and their bonds safe.
The United States for example, has seen its dollar become the world's No. 1 reserve currency because its bonds are held in such high regard by investors. They're backed by the "full faith and credit of the U.S. government" -- which until now, has never seriously been called into question.
On Friday, S&P downgraded the United States to AA+, an investment grade level just one notch below triple-A. It marked the first time the world's largest economy has been downgraded, since Moody's first gave the country a credit rating in 1917.
S&P cited estimates that U.S. government debt would balloon to 79% of the size of the entire U.S. economy by 2015, and 85% by 2021 -- a level S&P says is consistent with AA+ rated countries.
In comparison, estimates from the International Monetary Fund show triple-A rated Canada's debt is likely to only rise to 34% of its economy by 2015, and Germany's is forecast to rise to 52%. (The IMF does not publish forecasts out to 2021).