Household Debt Statistics

06.01.2023
Milena

When you combine a family’s consumer and mortgage debt, you get the total household debt. The latest household debt statistics reveal that American families now owe more than $16 trillion. It also seems that US households are continually amassing balances in student loans, mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, and more. That’s why when compared to other leading economies worldwide, the USA is the leader in household debt. Switzerland and Australia, meanwhile, are the countries with the highest household debt to GDP and income ratios. Scroll down to learn more about household balances in the US and worldwide.

Household Debt Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • Household debt in the EU is over $6.85 trillion. (CEIC)
  • The United States household debt is $16.15 trillion. (New York Fed)
  • The average amount owed by American households in 2021 was $94,321. (Experian)
  • The median United States household debt is $65,000. (Federal Reserve)
  • California carries the highest family debt in the US. (Experian)
  • Mortgage debt grew by 7.6% between 2020 and 2021. (Experian)

Household Debt Statistics by Country

1. Total household debt in the European Union is over $6.85 trillion.

The latest CEIC data shows that the EU recorded household indebtedness was $7.45 trillion in July 2021. This figure has seen a significant drop from the all-time high of $7.74 trillion seen in April 2011. In June 2022, the total household debt represented about 51.1% of the Union’s GDP. The total EU household debt is fueled by the family indebtedness of some of Europe’s leading economies like France and Germany, according to household debt statistics by country shown below.

(CEIC)

2. The US, China, and Japan are the countries with the highest total debt for households in the world.

The United States is by far the leader here, with its total owed balances of $16.1 trillion. The second in line — China — doesn’t even come close with their $10.7 trillion. Japan rounds up the top three with total owed balances of $3 trillion. These figures show the shocking difference in the total debt of Americans compared to other nations.

(CEIC)

3. The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, and Australia are among the countries whose households owe over $2 trillion in debt.

The households of several other leading economies owed balances of over $2 trillion, according to the global household debt stats. The United Kingdom leads the way with $2.6 trillion. Germany and France follow with $2.28 trillion and $2.15 trillion, respectively. Close behind is Canada, with $2.14 trillion, followed by Australia, with $2.08 trillion in household debt.

(CEIC)

4. South Korea, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland all owe over $1 trillion in household debt each.

Based on household debt data, South Korea ranks first in this category with $1.87 trillion, followed by Italy ($1.1 trillion). The list rounds up with Switzerland ($1.05 trillion) and the Netherlands ($1.01 trillion). The first one below this list is Spain, with $834 billion.

(CEIC)

5. Switzerland has the highest household debt to GDP by country.

With a household owed balance to GDP ratio of 130%, Switzerland tops the list here. Next comes Australia, whose ratio is 124%, according to the Australian household debt statistics. Australia is followed by the United Arab Emirates (121%), Denmark (117%), and Cyprus (110%). The only other two countries with household debt to GDP ratios above 100% are the Netherlands (104%) and Canada (104%). The US household debt to GDP ratio is 66%. That’s quite interesting as the country has the highest household debt figures.

(CEIC)

6. Denmark has the world’s highest household debt to income ratio by country.

This Scandinavian country notes a household debt to income ratio of 248%, according to household debt figures. Norway comes right next with 241%, while Switzerland and the Netherlands have 222% each. Australia and Sweden follow with identical ratios of 203%, while Korea rounds the list of countries with household debt to income ratios over 200% with 201%. The US household debt to income ratio is 101%, just below Germany’s 102%. Russia is a country with quite a low household debt to disposable income ratio of only 37%.

(OECD)

US Household Debt Statistics

7. The total US household debt has reached $16.15 trillion.

Mortgage debt played the most significant role here with its staggering $11.39 trillion. This non-personal debt has been reaching record highs in the past decade, as well. Other significant types of balances that contribute to the overall debt for households include student loans, credit cards, and auto loans. According to consumer debt statistics, such personal indebtedness is now $4.45 trillion.

(New York Fed)

8. Student loans increased by 1.9% between 2020 and 2021, while mortgage debt grew the most overall.

It seems that mortgage debt has always been huge in the US and affects overall debt the most. In 2020, this segment was $9.56 trillion and jumped by 7.6% to $10.29 trillion in 2021. Total student loan debt, by contrast, increased by 1.9% from $1.57 trillion to $1.6 trillion, according to American household debt statistics. At $1.43 trillion, auto loans and leases remained other notable debts in 2021, after a jump from $1.35 trillion in 2020.

(Experian)

9. In 2021, the average debt for American households was 1.5 times higher than the average personal income.

Namely, Experian set the average personal income among Americans at $62,866 in 2021. The average total debt for households, by contrast, was a staggering $94,321 the same year. As usual, a significant factor here was the average mortgage debt, which was more than 10 times higher than the one for auto loan debt.

(Experian)

10. The average household credit card debt dropped by 1.8% between 2020 and 2021.

The average credit card debt stateside decreased from $5,315 in 2020 to $5,221 in 2021. Even though this debt grew by 11.6% for Gen Z and 5.2 % for millennials in 2021, it dropped for all the other generations. Baby boomers’ average credit card debt saw the largest decline (4.7%), while the Silent generation and Gen X decreased by 3.1% and 1.6%, respectively.

(Experian)

11. In 2019, California was the US state with the highest total household debt.

The state’s owed balances were $2.39 trillion, according to US household debt statistics, the highest among other states. It’s interesting to note that California is also the state with the most TANF recipients, as per US welfare statistics. Texan households owed over $1 trillion, as well. Their total balance was $1.01 trillion, 76% higher compared to 2009. No other American state had a balance of over $1 trillion. New York and Florida, however, deserved a mention with their respective balances of $819 billion and $878 billion.

(Experian)

12. The average household debt growth during 2009–2019 among all US states was 25%.

Still, the household debt trends reveal that some states recorded increases of more than 75%. Others, in contrast, saw their family debt grow by a modest 10%. Between 2009 and 2019, North Dakota, Texas, and South Dakota noted jumps of 76%, 59%, and 46%, respectively. These three US states topped the list of those whose debt increased the most. Nevada (3%), Illinois (3%), Connecticut (5%), and California (6%) were the states with the lowest increase in balances owed.

(Experian)

13. As of 2021, Gen X-ers carry the highest average household debt.

Americans reach their earning and spending peak when they enter the 41–56 age group, according to household debt statistics. So, this category carries the highest average household debt of $146,164. They are followed by millennials ($100,906) and baby boomers ($95,607). The Silent Generation ranks fourth, with an average household debt of $39,859, followed by Gen Z-ers ($20,803).

(Experian)

14. Households with a higher income level carry higher average balances owed.

The more money you make, the higher your spending power. This leads to generating more in debt, too, as suggested by American household debt statistics. So, families making $290,000 and more owe, on average, $12,600. Households earning between $152,000 to $290,999 carry about $9,780 in debt. The average debts of households with incomes $95,000 to $151,999 and $59,000 to $94,999 were $6,990 and $4,910, respectively. Families in the income groups $35,000 to $58,999 owed $4,650, while those who earned up to $34,999 had an average household debt of $3,830.

(Debt)

15. 97.3% of US household debt were current balances in Q2 2022.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York report shows that this percentage didn’t change from the same period in 2021. US household debt statistics show that, in Q2 2022, about 0.7% were due balances of 30 days. Only 0.2% and 0.1% of total household debt recorded delinquency status of 60 days and 90 days. About 0.7% of balances owed were more than 120 days past the due date. Finally, approximately 1.7% of American family debt was severely derogatory in Q2 of 2021.

(New York Fed)

Median US Household Debt

16. The median household debt of Americans is $65,000.

The Federal Reserve conducted research focused on median balances owed by American households. The lender’s household debt statistics revealed that US families owe a median amount of $65,000. The figures on households categorized by age, race, and education, however, showed significant differences. Some groups had much higher median debt, while others owed less in median balances.

(Federal Reserve)

17. People from the 35–44 and 45–54 age groups have the highest median debt.

The respective balances they owe are $128,000 and $108,800. American household debt statistics place the age groups 55–64 and those under 35 next. These households carry median balances of $61,500 and $45,000, respectively. Those over 65 hold the lowest debts: the 65–74 age group owes $40,000, while those older than 75 hold a median household debt of $29,000.

(Federal Reserve)

18. White Americans have the highest median household debt.

Federal Reserve’s research shows that White American families carry the highest median debt of $79,000. Hispanic households owe median balances of $40,000, household debt figures further reveal. African American households have a less serious situation with their $27,500 debt. All the other race and ethnicity groups are put together in a single section, ‘Other.’ Here, the median balances owed are $71,000.

(Federal Reserve)

19. A college degree earns Americans more spending power alongside a higher median household debt.

Namely, families with members holding a college degree owed median balances of $139,000. Families with some college meanwhile carry an average median debt of $45,000. This figure is shockingly lower than the one recorded among college-educated households. The difference becomes more drastic as the highest education level decreases, the US household debt trends show.

So, those having a high school diploma owe a median family debt of $33,200. Americans with no high school diploma have limited job opportunities and low income. Their median household debt, therefore, is a modest $16,900. As you can see, the difference between college-educated families and those without a high school diploma is stunning.

(Federal Reserve)

20. Retired and unemployed Americans carry the lowest median balances.

This makes sense since the first category generally has lower living costs, while the second has limited spending power. Federal Reserve’s household debt data shows that both retirees and unemployed Americans have a median debt of $27,500. Those in technical, sales, and service positions owe median balances of $55,200. Managers and professionals owe the most, and their median balances owed are $137,800.

(Federal Reserve)

21. Couples with children owe the most in median balances.

The more members in a household, the higher living costs the family has. Couples with children, therefore, carry the highest median household debt of $143,300. Couples without children, in contrast, owe median balances of $84,000, establish the household debt statistics. This is an interesting difference because it highlights the soaring upbringing and education costs of children in the USA.

When it comes to singles, they all have much lower median debts. Their spending power is usually lower, plus they’re unlikely to get high credit limits without cosigners. So, singles with children carry median balances of $30,500. Singles without children under 55 and singles without children over 55 have respective median debts of $27,000 and $19,000.

(Federal Reserve)

22. American top earners and upper-middle class owe the most in median balances.

The top 10% of Americans who make the most money also owe the most. The latest household debt stats set the median balances owed by these people at a shocking $249,000. Still, considering that the richest Americans have adjusted gross income of hundreds of millions of dollars, these figures aren’t that surprising. The upper-middle class (75–89.9% of earners) owes much less, i.e., $133,300.

The median household debt by net worth drastically drops in the rest of the categories. America’s middle class (50–74.9% of earners) carries a median balance of $100,200. This figure is more than two times lower at $42,300 for the lower middle class (25–49.9% of earners). The bottom 25% of all earners have a median debt of $20,500, as suggested by the same US household debt data.

(Federal Reserve)

Household Debt FAQ

What is household debt?

According to the official household debt definition, this is a combination of all consumer debt and mortgage debt. Personal or consumer debt includes student loans, credit card balances, auto loans, and other types of credit lines. Household loans used for purchasing real estate represent the mortgage indebtedness of people.

What is the current household debt?

In the United States, it is over $16.15 trillion. The bulk of this amount comes from mortgage balances, whose total amount was $11.39 trillion. Student loans and auto loans and leases contribute $1.59 trillion and $1.5 trillion, as per household debt stats.

What percentage of the population is debt-free?

Only 20% of the US population is free of debt. The remaining 80% carry household debt, regardless of whether it’s represented by personal or mortgage indebtedness. Put differently, only two out of ten Americans owe no money, while the rest deal with debt regularly.

Which country has the highest household debt?

It depends on how you compare it; the throne is held either by the United States or Switzerland. US households have the highest total debt at a shocking $16.1 trillion. Switzerland, meanwhile, has the highest debt to GDP ratio of 130%.

What is the average household debt?

In 2021, the average total household debt for Americans was $94,321. It’s important to note that the average debt balances drastically differ among people from different generations and income groups. Generation X, for example, carried the highest average debt of $146,164. Gen Z, in contrast, owed an average of $20,803.

The Bottom Line

Family debt continues to be a major problem in the United States. Americans are struggling with balances month after month, and almost all types of debt keep growing. The latest household debt statistics, however, show that those with the most debt are those with the highest incomes. So, next time you want to use your credit card or apply for a loan, think twice. You must find the balance between your income and spending if you want to avoid drowning in debt when the bills arrive.

References: CEIC, CEIC, CEICOECD, New York Fed, Experian, Experian, Debt, New York Fed, Federal Reserve

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