Alarming Statistics about Delinquent Debt in America

Alarming Statistics about Delinquent Debt in America

August 13, 2014         Written By John H. Oldshue

A new study from the Urban Institute and the Consumer Credit Research Institute reveals that 35% of adults with credit files have debt in collections. This amounts to an astounding 77 million people.

The average debt is $5,178 per person.

Nearly 12 million adults have non-mortgage debt that is past due. These adults need an average of $2,258 to get themselves fully caught up on their debts.

One of 20 people with a credit file are at least 30 days late on a credit card or other non-mortgage account, such as an automobile or student loan.

Delinquent debt levels varied greatly throughout the country. Nevada was the state hit hardest by these statistics, with 47% of residents with a credit file having some sort of debt in collections. There were 12 other states in America with levels above 40%, including North Carolina, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New Mexico, South Carolina and West Virginia.

Among the largest 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas, only six have fewer than a quarter of people with debt in collections reported in their credit file: Minneapolis-St. Paul (20.1%), Honolulu (21.0%), Boston (22.4%), Madison (22.6%), San Jose (23.0%) and Bridgeport (24.5%).

While there were a number of survey respondents who only had one past due payment on their credit files, the fact is these statistics paint an alarming picture of the future for finances in America.

“High levels of delinquent debt and its associated consequences, such as limited access to traditional credit, can harm both families and the communities in which they live,” said the report.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of August 13, 2014. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About John H. Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers credit card rate issues for
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