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Average Credit Card Debt $4,150 Per Adult, Over $7,900 Per Household

by IndexCreditCards.com

July 20, 2009

Average Credit Card Debt $4,013 Per Adult, $7,861 Per Household
Using government debt data and census data, IndexCreditCards.com has determined that the average American adult is carrying $4,013 in revolving debt (mainly credit card debt) and the average American household is carrying $7,861 in such debt. This is a slight decrease in debt when compared to our estimates in April, when average adult debt was $4150 and average household debt was $7900.

Data released earlier this month from the Federal Reserve Board estimates that revolving consumer debt in the United States totals about $928 billion. Using census data from 2006 to the present, IndexCreditCards.com estimates the adult (18 and over) population of the U.S. at 231,238,106 and the total number of households at 118,049,561. Dividing the total revolving debt by the population/household figures gives the resulting debt averages.

(Federal Reserve surveys suggest that about 75% of households have at least one credit card, and 25% have none. If we count only those households that report actually having one or more credit cards, the average household credit card debt would be $10,482.)

This is the third report in a row in which credit card debt has decreased. While the bleak economy might suggest that credit usage would increase, the economy has also caused many lenders to pull back on credit offers. In addition, many consumers have severely cut back on spending as their earning outlooks have become more cloudy.

Revolving debt is mainly debt from credit cards, although related revolving consumer debt such as home equity lines of credit are included as well.

A caveat: Not all revolving debt is long-term debt accruing interest --- some of this debt is paid off each month. (Although pinpointing how much debt gets paid off every month is difficult, various surveys have reported that 40% to 55% of card holders say they pay off their full balances every month.)

Past Credit Card Debt Estimates:
April, 2009: $4150 per adult, $7900 per household
October, 2008: $4208 per adult, $8188 per household

Published 07/20/09 (Modified 06/29/12)

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