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Average Credit Card Debt Over $4,200 Per Adult, Over $8,200 Per Household

by Peter Andrew
Average Credit Card Debt Over $4,200 Per Adult, Over $8,200 Per Household

Using government debt data and census data, IndexCreditCards.com has determined that the average American adult is carrying $4,246 in revolving debt and the average American household is carrying $8,218 in revolving debt.

These numbers represent a 19% and 13% increase, respectively, over the averages calculated by IndexCreditCards.com in January of 2006. At that time, the average debt per adult was $3,560 and the average revolving debt per household was $7,271.

Data released earlier this month from the Federal Reserve Board estimates that revolving consumer debt in the United States totals $975.2 billion. Using census data from 2006 to the present, IndexCreditCards.com estimates the adult (18 and over) population of the U.S. at 229,655,039 and the total number of households at 116,462,357. Dividing the total revolving debt by the population/household figures gives the resulting debt averages.

Revolving debt is mainly debt from credit cards, although related revolving consumer debt such as home equity lines of credit are included as well. Note that not all revolving debt is long-term debt accruing interest — some of this debt is paid off each month (although pinpointing how much is difficult). However, the trend shows that more and more purchases are being put on credit cards, and undoubtedly the amount that sits unpaid grows as well.

“A 19 percent jump in revolving debt in two-and-a-half years is difficult to believe,” says Justin McHenry, Research Director at IndexCreditCards.com, “but that’s what the numbers tell us. Part of this jump can be explained by the increased use of credit cards in general, including by those who pay off their balances each month. But the jump is too drastic to be explained so easily. Americans are taking on more debt, and there’s every reason to believe they’re having a harder time paying it off.”

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