Consumer Debt Statistics

Consumer Debt Statistics

Here are some important information on consumer credit and debt statistics in the United States:

  • Four out of ten people have late payments on their credit reports, as show on the consumer debt statistics.
  • Three of five American families can't pay off their credit cards each month. Their running balance averages about $12,000, which is one-fourth of the median household income.



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  • 43 percent of American households live from paycheck-to-paycheck, with less than $1000 in liquid assets.
  • Almost 1% of households in the United States will file for bankruptcy. But about 15% have finances in such a poor shape that they would be better off by going bankrupt.
  • Senior citizens, once noted for their frugality, are sinking deeper into debt: Their average credit card balance increased by 89% between the years 1992 to 2001.
  • Only 3% of Americans seniors that reach the age of 65 are completely debt free and financially independent. 23% are still working, unable to retire. 74% are financially dependent on others to survive. About 26 out of 100 Americans pass away before completing 65 years of age.
  • An $8,000 debt at a rate of 18% interest will take you over 25 years to repay and cost you over $24,000 in the long run.
  • On average, you will spend 112% more on a credit card purchase than when using cash. A person who carries a $5.000 credit card balance will pay on average 70 dollars a month in interest. Instead, if the individual would invest that money at about 8% average annual return, it could grow to nearly $250.000 over his or her working lifetime. It’s a big price to pay for the convenience of not using cash.
  • Total consumer debt in the United States: $7,100 per person (and that doesn't include mortgages.)
  • There are 1.3 billion payment cards in circulation in the United States. The average American household has 13 payment cards, including credit cards, debt cards and store cards.
  • Total consumer credit in the United States: $1.7 trillion.
  • Americans put a record $1.045-trillion on their Visa cards in 2004 (about the size of the Canadian economy.)
  • Some experts believe that money problems are the leading cause of divorce in America by a rate of 4 to 1 over anything else.
  • Today, the average household credit card balance is almost $10,000.
  • Although most Americans overestimate their level of financial assets and wealth by up to 25 times, the Consumer Federation of America tells us that the typical family in the US has net financial assets (counting retirement accounts) of just $9,850.
  • In the typical household, consumer debt is more than 50% of total financial assets.
  • The leading cause of bankruptcy is job loss, combined with consumer debt, inadequate savings, medical bills, divorce and burdensome mortgage debt. Credit card debt also plays a huge role. The actual crisis might be caused by job loss, divorce, or other setbacks, but it’s their heavy burden of credit card debt that usually causes people to file for bankruptcy.
  • More than two million Americans have had their homes foreclosed.
  • After necessities, nearly 90 percent of the money Americans make goes towards debts.




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