15+ Statistics on Average Debt in the U.S.

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If you’ve got debt, you’re not the only one. Around 77% of American households have a debt of some sort.

If you wonder what the average American debt is, I’ve gathered some interesting statistics that will give you the answer:

Fascinating American Debt Statistics

  • The average American’s debt payments made up 8.69% of their income in 2020.
  • In 2020, the US average mortgage rate hit the lowest of 2.78%.
  • In 2019, the average HELOC amount in the US was $49,929.
  • In the US, the number of personal loans in hardship grew from 3.58% in April to 6.15% in May 2020.
  • Self-employed American residents pay an average of $1,539 in annual credit card interest.
  • In 2019, the average household credit card debt in America was $6,270.

How Much Debt Does the Average American Have?

Let’s see what stats have to say:

1. In 2020, the average American’s debt payments made up 8.69% of their income.

(FRED St. Louis Fed)

To put this into perspective, the average American allocates almost 9% of their monthly income to debt payments, which is a drop from 9.69% in Q2 2019.

The drop from 9.69% to 8.69% could be due to allowances made for coronavirus-related income loss and debt relief programs.

2. In 2020, the average revolving credit card balance of an average American cardholder was $6,271.

(The Ascent)

A revolving credit card balance is one that people pay interest on. It’s one of the most important figures to note when looking at US consumer debt statistics.

The up-to-date figures on revolving credit card balances come from the 2019 survey of consumer finances which took place before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, at the end of last year, the average revolving balance for cardholders was $6,271.

3. In Q3 2020, the US credit card delinquencies stood at 1.53%, reaching record-low levels.

(Bloomberg)

Despite coronavirus-related financial difficulties, Americans remained surprisingly steady in paying their credit card bills on time. In Q3 2020 the average American debt statistics show that the delinquency rate of credit card loans from commercial banks was 1.53%.

4. The US average mortgage rate in 2020 hit the lowest of 2.78%.

(FRED St. Louis Fed)

2020 was a record-breaking year for mortgage rates. The US household debt statistics showed the average 30-year fixed-rate at 2.78% in November, which is the lowest since the St. Louis Fed started compiling this data in 1971.

These low rates have also led to a rush on refinances, especially before December 2020, when the new 0.5% refinance fee kicked in.

5. The average mortgage payment in America in 2019 was $1,487, while the median was $1,100.

(The Balance)

According to the American Housing Survey from the United States Census Bureau, the median monthly mortgage payment for American homeowners was $1,100. This is slightly higher than the previous study when the average American household debt was $1,030.

6. In 2019, the average HELOC amount in the US was $49,929, while the median was $24,000.

(The Ascent)

HELOC or a home equity line of credit is a second mortgage that gives you access to cash that is based on the value of your home.

In order to qualify for HELOC, you need to have a debt-to-income ratio that is 40% or less, a credit score higher than 620, and a home value that is at least 15% more than you owe.

7. In the US the average new car payment in 2020 was $568, whereas the average used car payment was $397.

(Experian)

US consumer debt statistics show that auto debt makes up 5% of the American consumer debt.
According to Kelley Blue Book, the average new car price rose to $38,378 in July 2020, which is 2% more than the year before. Overall monthly car payments have risen as well, based on Experian’s data.

The Auto Finance Market report from Q2 2020 shows the average car payments on a new and used auto loan by credit score:

Average new car payment Average used car payment
Deep subprime (300–500): $562 Deep subprime (300–500): $414
Subprime (501–600): $579 Subprime (501–600): $410
Non-prime (601–660): $591 Non-prime (601–660): $401
Prime (661–780): $574 Prime (661–780): $390
Super prime (781–850): $541 Super prime (781–850): $389
All: $568 All: $397

8. In August 2020, the average American interest rate for a 24-month personal loan was 9.34%.

(Business Insider)

Statistics on average American debt have shown that from 2018/2019 to 2020 (August) the average personal loan interest rate has fallen by a whole percentage point to 9.34%.

Year Average personal loan interest rate
2020 9.34%
2019 10.32%
2018 10.32%

9. In the US, the number of personal loans in hardship grew from 3.58% in April to 6.15% in May 2020.

(The Ascent)

In May 2019, only 0.28% of personal loans were in hardship. Whereas, in June 2020, 20% of Americans with personal loans were worried about their ability to repay that loan.

10. The average American consumer debt increased by 6% amid the coronavirus pandemic.

(Experian)

In the current uncertain economic situation, US consumers continued to borrow in 2020. The total outstanding US consumer debt balance grew $800 billion to a record high of $14.88 trillion, according to Experian data, an increase of 6%—the highest annual rate of growth recorded in over a decade.

How Much Credit Card Debt Does the Average American Have?

Let’s continue:

11. American people aged 45-54 have an average credit card debt of $7,670, with 51.7% of those indebted, which is the highest proportion of the age groups.

(Federal Reserve)

Median credit card debt is the highest for Americans aged 45-54 at $3,200. Americans younger than 35, on the other hand, have the lowest median credit card debt at $1,900.

In the table below, you can find the median and average debt by age in the US:

Age Median credit card debt Average credit card debt Percentage of those who carry debt
Younger than 35 $1,900 $3,660 47.6%
35-44 $2,700 $5,990 50.5%
45-54 $3,200 $7,670 51.7%
55-64 $3,000 $6,880 46.6%
65-74 $2,850 $7,030 41.1%
75 or older $2,700 $8,080 28%

12. Americans aged 75 or older have the highest average credit card debt of $8,080, but only 28% of them are charged with credit card debt.

(Federal Reserve)

The credit card debt of Americans aged 75 or older rose to 28% in 2019 from 10% in 1989. Over the same period, the median amount owed escalated from $400 to $2,700.

13. Around 34% of people aged 18–29 have student loans. Borrowers under 24 owe an average of $16,500.

(EducationData)

People aged 35 have the highest average American student loan debt at $42,600 per borrower. The end balance is 287%, which is higher than the value of their original loan.

Student borrowers aged 30-44 owe 49% of the national student loan debt balance, which means $823.2 billion.

14. Even though women have a lower income, they have (54%) higher student loan payments than men (51%).

(Aauw.org)

This also shows that men have a lower percentage of the average American student loan debt per person than women. Out of the total national student loan debt, $929 billion belongs to women. The most common reason for this debt is the persistent gender wage gap.

15. Self-employed American residents pay an average of $1,539 in annual credit card interest, according to credit card debt statistics.

(NerdWallet)

Average American debt statistics show that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses have been dealing with difficulties and tightened budgets. Self-employed people, operating small businesses, tend to have higher credit card balances and carry more credit card debt. They also have higher annual interest costs ($1,539) compared to others who work for someone else ($1,045).

16. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s data which was released in May 2021, 79% of American consumers had at least one charge card or credit card in 2020.

(CreditCards.com)

This is the highest percentage since 2008 when the Fed began conducting the Survey of Consumer Payment Choice.

According to “Experian”, older people tend to carry more cards. In Q3 2020, baby boomers (people aged 56-74) carried 4.61 cards on average.

What Is The Average American Credit Card Debt Per Household?

Let’s check the numbers:

17. According to data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the average household credit card debt in America was $6,270 in 2019.

(ValuePenguin)

In 2019, the median debt per American family was $2,700, while the average American family debt stands at $6,270. Overall, American consumers owe $807 billion across nearly 506 million card accounts.

18. In Q1 2021, the total American household debt rose by 0.6% ($85 billion) and reached $14.64 trillion.

(Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

The mortgage balances rose by $117 billion. They are the largest component of household debt. Whereas auto and student loan balances rose by $8 billion and $29 billion.

When compared to the end of 2019, credit card balances are $157 billion lower.

19. American individuals with the highest annual income had an average of $12,600 in credit card debt which is more than three times as much as households with the lowest income.

(Federal Reserve)

The credit card debt rises at the same pace as the levels of household income. Consumers in the highest annual income percentile 90-100th had an average credit card debt of $12,600.

In the table below, you can check the average American debt to income ratio numbers:

Income percentile Median annual income Percentage of those who have credit card debt Average credit card debt
Less than 20 $16,290 30.5% $3,830
20-39.9 $35,630 45.6% $4,650
40-59.9 $59,050 55% $4,910
60-79.9 $95,700 56.8% $6,990
80-89.9 $151,700 45.9% $9,780
90-100 $290,160 32.2% $12,600

Conclusion

During the COVID-19 period, 51% of the American adults with credit card debt added to their balances, increasing the average American credit card debt. 44% of them blame the pandemic.

While some of the statistics show a definite increase in the amounts of debt, it is also clear that the tendency towards high loan amounts per person has been an ongoing issue. As the situation goes back to normal, there’s hope that it will get easier for people to pay off their debt.

FAQ

How to get out of debt with no money and bad credit?

Consumer debt statistics show that you can solve the problem step by step. First, if you are trying to get out of debt with no money and bad credit, you need to make sure you know how much you owe. You need to adjust your spending and cut costs. The next step would be to consult your bank for better loan terms.

Who offers the best credit card consolidation loans?

Statistics on average American debt show that many people are stuck with high-interest credit card debts. In order to repay them, it’s often a good idea to consolidate your debts. Some of the top-rated credit card consolidation loans that could help are offered by SoFi, OneLoanPlace, and Upstart.

Which lenders can help if you have a bad credit score?

Even though many lenders won’t agree to give you a loan if you have bad credit, there are some bad credit mortgage lenders that will help you. Quicken Loans, Citibank, and Network Capital are some of them.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I learned a lot about finance after working for a digital marketing company specializing in investing and trading stocks, forex, etc. After that, I got exposed to other verticals such as wealth management and personal finance, which further improved my understanding of the financial world.

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