Credit Infocenter

Where is Debt in America? Urban Institute Breaks it Down by Region [STUDY]

July 30th, 2014 · No Comments · Consumer Info

by Kristy Welsh

(Last Updated On: February 26, 2018)

Where is Debt in America? Urban Institute Breaks it Down by Region [STUDY]Next time you start getting down on yourself for how much debt you carry, remember that it’s all relative. If you live in New York and have $70,000 in debt, you’re average. It’s when you’re $70,000 in debt in Alabama that you need to worry.

Now, that’s not to say there’s nothing to worry about as long as you owe about the same as your neighbors, but it is an indication of just how much U.S. debt is influenced by regional factors, specifically income and median housing prices.

And the correlation is one made crystal clear in a new study from the Urban Institute.

Debt in America

In its July 2014 publication of Debt In America, the Urban Institute analyzed 2013 TransUnion credit bureau data to determine how much debt we carry, and where.

As stated in the report, “This brief presents the first comprehensive exploration of the spatial patterns of debt holding in the United States.”

Specifically, the report includes a regional breakdown of total debt, mortgage debt, and non-mortgage debt, as well as income and median housing prices.

You can see the complete table in the report, but here’s a breakdown of things in perspective:

Average total debt is:

  • Highest in the Pacific and New England states, at $69,831 and $68,401 respectively.
  • Lowest in the South’s East South Central states (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee) at $39,137 and West South Central states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas) at $39,931

Average mortgage debt is:

  • Highest in the Pacific and New England states, at $54,573 and $50,518 respectively.
  • Lowest in the South’s East South Central states, at $24,605, and West South Central states, at $24,671.

Average non-mortgage debt is:

  • Highest in the New England and Middle Atlantic states, at $17,883 and $17,189 respectively.
  • Lowest in the South’s East South Central states at $14,532.

Interestingly, two regions come in highest and lowest across the board:

  • New England has the highest total debt, mortgage debt, and non-mortgage debt. The region also has the highest average household income and the second-highest median housing prices.
  • The South’s East South Central states has the lowest total debt, mortgage debt, and non-mortgage debt. The region also has the lowest average household income and the lowest median housing prices.

The takeaway?

As a whole, “Total debt and mortgage debt are highly concentrated in affluent, high-cost markets, mostly along the west and east coasts,” states the report…. “By contrast, non-mortgage debt (and non-mortgage debt relative to income) is more spatially dispersed.”

Getting Out of Debt (No Matter Where You Live)

Whether your own debt is average, far more, or far less, paying it down should be the goal. And Credit Info Center has all sorts of free resources to help you do just that, from creating a (workable) budget to settling debts with your creditors. We also have a free, very active forum where you may be able to get help with the kind of questions you can’t find answers to anywhere else.

Tags: ···

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment