Average American debt statistics

average American debt statistics

Ever feel like everyone’s debt is getting a little crazy?

Hey everyone, Andy here today.

I like numbers and stats quite a lot (yep, bit of a geek and proud of it) so I thought I’d share a some statistics about debts in America.

Now Em and I are from New Zealand, but we figure most of our readers live in the good ol’ USA, so we’ve pulled out your statistics for you (you’re welcome).

Why do we want to share the average American debt statistics with you today? Mainly to show you that you are not alone. Most people are struggling with some sort of debt, and we thought it might be helpful to quantify that in some shape or form for you. Who knows, you might even feel better about you situation after reading this, or maybe you will fear for the state of the nation. Either way, the numbers make for very interesting reading.

We’re sharing the average household debt, which is defined as “the amount of money that all adults in the household owe financial institutions” (thanks, Wikipedia ). Basically, lowering this debt is good for the economy, but the higher it is, the worse off we all are. Makes sense, right? That’s why statistics like this get published, and all the boffins in government are so interested in them.

Breakdown of what Americans owe

According to the New York Federal Bank’s Household Debt Report, Americans owe a grand total of $11.83 trillion dollars. Sounds like a lot, but this is nearly a trillion dollars less than was owed in the third quarter of 2008 (during the Global Financial Crisis).

We’ve found some easy to understand numbers for you (we went a bit cross-eyed looking at financial reports, we’ll spare you that drama): you can read more at gobankingrates.com if you feel inclined.

So how much is an average household debt?

  • Credit card: $15, 263
  • Mortgage: $147, 591
  • Student loan: $31, 646
  • Car $30, 738

How much?!

This is a grand total of $225,238. Sounds like a lot. A LOT lot. As you will have read in our article about good debt vs bad debt, you’ll know that some of this debt is important for to increase your long-term net worth. However, $30k on cars? Really? That sounds a little bit excessive (if you’ve read our other posts, you’ll know we’ve got a reliable runabout – she cost us $5000 five years ago).


Do these debt statistics scare you? I know they sure scare me! Em and I are not planning on having such large amounts of debt on our shoulders for the rest of our lives, and we’ll be posting more about what we’re doing personally to pay our own debts off. Don’t forget to check out our #1 recommendation to take control of your own situation, just like us.

Do you have any comments about these statistics? Or any tips for others who might be facing large debts? If you do, we’d love to hear from you. As per usual, just leave us a comment below.

Happy downsizing,



image by Lewis Minor, CC 2.0, https://flic.kr/p/8F5t1j

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