Consumer debt statistics for 2024: data, trends and demographics

Younger Americans have relatively low levels of debt but high levels of debt stress. This is evidenced by the high rate of serious delinquency among younger holders of credit cards and car loans(6).

Consumer debt by ethnicity

American households of all ethnic groups carry debt. Black and Native American households are likely to have more debt relative to their household assets and carry higher interest debt(7).

Black and Hispanic households have higher credit card debt than white households.

Black and Hispanic households tend to have lower levels of credit card debt than white households. They also typically have lower incomes, which leaves fewer resources available to pay off those debts.

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The median mortgage amount is $130,000 for white and Hispanic borrowers and $116,000 for black borrowers. But focusing only on the median amount obscures a deeper problem: Black, Hispanic, and Native American homeowners often face more expensive and riskier mortgages than white borrowers.(5).

Consumer debt by family structure

A study by a credit agency Experian revealed that US consumers with children carry between 14% and 51% more total debt than the national average(9).

Credit card and personal loan debt balances increased significantly with the number of children. Student loan balances have remained relatively constant, indicating that most individuals have completed their education and student loan payments by the time they start having children.

The average parental credit score is slightly below the national average, indicating that families are paying average or above average interest rates.

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Consumer debt by state

Debt levels vary significantly from state to state. California is the most indebted state with an average resident in debt of $84,050.

State Total debt per capita
AZ $70,350
THAT $84,050
FL $58,610
HE $53,730
MEDIUM $46,680
NJ $64,820
NV $69,290
NY $57,560
AH $44,610
BYE $48,030
TX $56,610

There are several notable trends and reasons behind the geographic variations in US consumer debt.

Regional variations in income distribution

According to the US Census, the median household income in the United States in 2021 was $70,784. This number has remained relatively stable compared to the 2020 median household income of $71,186(9).

Median incomes varied across the four major regions of the United States. The West and Northeast regions had the highest median household income in 2021 at $79,430 and $77,472, respectively. The Midwest followed with $71,129 and the South had the lowest median household income at $63,368(9).

The difference in median household income between the Northeast and the West in 2021 was not statistically significant. This suggests that income levels in the two regions were relatively similar. Additionally, none of the four regions experienced a statistically significant change in median household income between 2020 and 2021(9).

Differences in median household incomes in individual regions reflect underlying economic and demographic factors. Factors such as educational attainment, job opportunities, and industrial composition may contribute to differences in earnings. Understanding these regional differences is essential for policymakers in addressing economic inequality and promoting inclusive growth.

Cost of living and labor market stability

Hawaii, for example, claimed first place as the most expensive state in terms of cost of living(10). This high cost of living contributes to high levels of consumer debt.

While New York had the fifth highest cost of living nationally, its residents had the highest disposable income.

States with more stable labor markets and lower unemployment rates, such as the Midwest and Plains regions, tend to have lower levels of consumer debt.

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