Household Debt Statistics

05.06.2021
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 $14.5 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 Denmark 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 $7 trillion.
  • The United States household debt is over $14.5 trillion.
  • The average amount owed by American households is $92,727.
  • The median United States household debt is $59,800.
  • California carries the highest family debt in the US.
  • The highest share of the total US household debt comes from mortgages.

Household Debt Statistics by Country

1. Total household debt in the European Union is over $7 trillion.

The latest CEIC data shows that the EU recorded household indebtedness was $7.2 trillion in March 2021. This figure is still under the all-time high of $7.71 trillion seen in July 2008. In December 2020, the total household debt represented about 54.1% 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 $14.6 trillion. The second in line — China — doesn’t even come close with their $10.2 trillion. Japan rounds up the top three with total owed balances of $3.4 trillion. These figures show the shocking difference in total debt of Americans compared to other nations.

(CEIC)

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

The households of several other leading economies owed balances of over $1 trillion, according to the global household debt stats. The United Kingdom leads the way with $2.7 trillion. Germany and France follow with $2.3 trillion and $2.2 trillion, respectively. 

(CEIC)

4. Canada, Australia, and South Korea all owe over $1 trillion in household debt each.

Based on household debt data, Canada and Australia rank first in this category with $1.9 trillion each, followed by South Korea ($1.8 trillion). The list rounds up with Italy ($1.1 trillion), followed by the Netherlands and Switzerland, at $1 trillion each. Spain is just off the list with $918 billion.

(CEIC)

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

With a household owed balance to GDP ratio of 134%, Switzerland tops the list here. Next comes Australia, whose ratio is 129%, according to the Australian household debt statistics. Australia is followed by Denmark (128%), Norway (120%), and the Netherlands (110%). All the other countries have household debt to GDP ratios under 100%. The US household debt to GDP ratio is 69%. 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 256%, according to household debt figures. Norway and the Netherlands come right next with 246% and 235% each. Switzerland and Australia round the list of countries with household debt to income ratio over 200%, with 222% and 210%, respectively. The US household debt to income ratio is 104%, identical to the one of Spain. Russia is a country with quite a low household debt to disposable income ratio of only 33%.

(OECD)

US Household Debt Statistics

7. The total US household debt reached $14.5 trillion.

Mortgage debt played the most significant role here with its staggering $10.4 trillion. This non-personal debt has been reaching record-highs in the past decade, as well. Other significant types of balances that contribute towards the overall debt for households include student loans, credit cards, and auto loans. According to consumer debt statistics, such personal indebtedness is now over $4 trillion.

(New York Fed)

8. Student loans increased by 12.1% between 2019 and 2020, while mortgage debt was the biggest one overall.

It seems that mortgage debt has always been huge in the US and affects overall debt the most. In 2019, this segment was $9.6 trillion and jumped by 7.3% to $10.3 trillion in 2020. Total student loan debt, by contrast, increased by 12.1% from $1.4 trillion to $1.57 trillion, according to American household debt statistics. At $1.35 trillion, auto loans and leases remained other notable debts in 2020, after a jump from $1.3 trillion in 2019.

(Experian)

9. The average debt for American households is more than two times higher than the average personal income.

Namely, Experian set the average personal income among Americans at $50,413 in 2018. The average total debt for households, by contrast, was a staggering $90,460 the same year. As usual, a significant factor here was the average mortgage debt.

One of the household debt trends is that while the average income has improved since 2009, the average debt has decreased. So, in 2019, the average salary was $38,213, whereas the average indebtedness was $94,442. These figures show that the difference between these two has significantly lowered between 2009 and 2018, which is a good sign.

(Experian)

10. About 60% of Americans contributed to the average household credit card debt in 2019.

The average credit card debt stateside was about $6,194 in 2019 and the most common type of US household debt, being carried by about 60% of consumers. Next on the list came auto loans (30%), mortgages (25%), and retail cards (24%). Personal loans, student loans, and HELOC were less common with 11%, 10%, and 5% of households, respectively, having such debt.

(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 2020, Gen X-ers carry the highest average household debt.

Americans reach their earning and spending peak when they enter the 45-54 age group, according to the household debt statistics. So, this category carries the highest average household debt of $140,643. They are followed by Baby Boomers ($97,290) and Millennials ($87,448). The Silent Generation ranks fourth, with an average household debt of $41,281, followed by Gen Z-ers ($16,043).

(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 $95,00 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 and up to $34,999 owed, on average, $4,650 and $3,830.

(Debt)

15. Over 95% of US household debt are current balances.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York report shows that in Q4 of 2019, 95.3% of owed balances were current debt. US household debt statistics show that about 1.1% were due balances of 30 days. Only 0.5% and 0.3% of total household debt recorded delinquency status of 60 days and 90 days. About 0.8% of balances owed were more than 120 days past the due date. Finally, approximately 2% of American family debt was severely derogatory in Q4 of 2019.

(New York Fed)

Median US Household Debt

16. The median household debt of Americans is $59,800.

TitleMax 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 $59,800. When this lending company categorized the households by age, race, and education, however, the results showed significant differences. Some groups had much higher median debt, while others owed less in median balances.

(TitleMax)

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

The respective balances they owe are $93,700 and $89,900. These figures correspond with the average household debt by age as well. Namely, these age groups carry the highest average balances too. However, in that category, American household debt statistics place the age group 45-54 in the lead.

Back to median family debt, we have the age groups 55-64 and 65-74 next. These households carry median balances of $69,000 and $42,000, respectively. Here, the difference between those under 35 and over 74 is more drastic. So, the first owe median balances of $39,200, while the latter only $20,600.

(TitleMax)

18. White Americans have the highest median household debt.

TitleMax’s research shows that White American families carry the highest median debt of $74,100. African American households owe median balances of $31,100, the TitleMax household debt figures further reveal. Hispanic households are in a similar situation with African Americans with their $30,000 debt. All the other race and ethnicity groups are put together in a single section ‘Other’. Here, the median balances owed are $56,700.

(TitleMax)

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 $122,000. Families without meanwhile carry an average median debt of $43,700. 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 $35,900. Americans with no high school diploma have limited job opportunities and low income. Their median household debt, therefore, is a modest $15,900. As you can see, the difference between college-educated families and those without a high school diploma is stunning.

(TitleMax)

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. TitleMax’s household debt data shows that both retirees and unemployed Americans have a median debt of $25,000. Those on technical, sales, and service positions owe median balances of $44,600. Managers and professionals owe the most and their median balances owed are $125,000.

(TitleMax)

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 $110,500. Couples without children, in contrast, owe median balances of about $70,300, 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 $27,700. Singles without children under 55 and singles without children over 55 have respective median debts of $29,300 and $21,200.

(TitleMax)

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 shocking $222,200. 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) owe much less, i.e., $113,000.

The median household debt by net worth drastically drops in the rest of the categories. America’s middle class (50-74.9% of earners) carry median balances of $83,400. This figure is two times lower at $41,500 for the lower middle class (25-49.9% of earners). The bottom 25% of all earners have a median debt of $20,900, as suggested by the same US household debt data.

(TitleMax)

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 $14.5 trillion. The bulk of this amount comes from mortgage balances, whose total amount was $10.3 trillion. Student loans and auto loans and leases contribute over $1.5 trillion and $1.3 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 rest 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?

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 $14.5 trillion. Switzerland meanwhile has the highest debt to GDP ratio of 134%.

What is the average household debt?

In 2020, the average total household debt of Americans was $92,727. 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 $140,643. Gen Z, in contrast, owed an average of $16,043.

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, CEIC, OECD, New York Fed, Experian, Debt, New York Fed, TitleMax

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