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Average Credit Card Debt $3,752 Per Adult, $7,394 Per Household

by IndexCreditCards.com

February 09, 2010

Using government debt data and census data, IndexCreditCards.com has determined that the average American adult is carrying $3,752 in revolving debt (mainly credit card debt) and the average American household is carrying $7,394 in such debt. This is a significant decrease since our last report in July of 2009, when the average credit card debt per adult was estimated at $4,013, and the average per household was $7,861. As recently documented in the media, credit card usage has gone down, both as a result of credit card companies actively shedding customers, and consumers themselves shying away from taking on debt due to the economy.

Data released earlier this month from the Federal Reserve Board estimates that revolving consumer debt in the United States totals about $874 billion. Using census data from 2006 to the present, IndexCreditCards.com estimates the adult (18 and over) population of the U.S. at 232,930,412 and the total number of households at 118,207,527. 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 $9,858.)

This is the 4th report in a row in which credit card debt has decreased.

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:
July 2009: $4013 per adult, $7861 per household
April, 2009: $4150 per adult, $7900 per household
October, 2008: $4208 per adult, $8188 per household

Published 02/09/10 (Modified 03/20/12)

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