Sign up FAST! Login

80% of Americans are in debt. The average U.S. household with debt carries $15,762 in credit card debt and $130,922 in total debt.

Stashed in: Facts, Awesome, America!, economics, Personal Finance, Personal Finance, Demographics, Credit

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Max Levchin said in the Wall Street Journal that one third of Americans are being pursued by a debt collector. 

80% of Americans are in debt. 

Source is this great 2015 Pew Charitable Trust report:


The average U.S. household with debt carries $15,762 in credit card debt and $130,922 in total debt.

The average household is paying a total of $6,658 in interest per year. This is 9% of the average household income ($75,591) being spent on interest alone.


while that is a lot of debt, at least it seems so to me, i would like to remind folks that not all debt is bad debt. an X% loan while paying it off in time and investing other cash that a higher earning Y% can be a good idea. 

Except that right now it is quite hard to make money investing.

Better to have less debt, especially credit card debt. 

very true because the APR's are so high

APRs are ridiculously high now. It shouldn't be legal to charge 29%. 

From the nerdwallet article:

Consumers are embarrassed about their growing debt loads

There is a possibility that consumers are intentionally underreporting their credit card balances because of the stigma surrounding debt. 

According to our survey, 70% of Americans say there is a greater stigma around credit card debt than any other type of debt, which might help to explain why other forms of debt — including mortgages — are more accurately reported.

This stigma causes many Americans to be embarrassed by their balances. About 35% of those surveyed perceived credit card debt to be embarrassing and reported that they would feel more embarrassment over revealing credit card debt to others than they would over other types of debt, including medical and student loans. These feelings were stronger among students and young people surveyed.

The survey also revealed that the stigma isn’t applied to everyone equally: Only 1 in 4 Americans would judge a friend or family member for having credit card debt, but almost half would be less interested in dating someone who carries a balance.

“The stigma is real, and it can be damaging and counterproductive,” McQuay says. 

“My message to Americans in debt: You are not alone. Reach out and see what’s worked for other people. Don’t ignore your debt — come to terms with it, and climb out of it.”

What you should do

Know how much credit card debt you have, and create a plan to get rid of it. Being ashamed of your balances won’t make them go away. Aim to figure out how much debt you have. If you can’t remember where you have accounts open, go to and pull your credit reports; you get one free report once a year from each of the three credit reporting bureaus. Keep in mind that the balances in your accounts could differ from the balances on your reports, depending on when they were reported. Once you know how much debt you have, you can devise a plan to eradicate it.

You May Also Like: