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Good News and Bad News About U.S. Consumer Debt

Written by Steve Rhode

The census bureau has released a new report that chronicles household debt in the U.S. from 2000-2011.

The good news is that fewer households are carrying some form of debt. In 2011 69 percent of households did compared to 74 percent in 2000.

The bad news is that those that are carrying debt are carrying more. In 2011 dollars the amount of debt households carried in 2000 was $50,971 and in 2011 it had shot up to $70,000.

If we break down those numbers of increased debt the amount of secured debt rose from $69,749 in 2000 to $91,000 in 2011. The amount of unsecured debt rose from $5,365 to $7,000.

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The statistics also tell us older age groups are growing debt faster when they can least afford to deal with it. The 55 to 64 age group had household debt increase by 64 percent and for those over 65 the median household debt more than doubled.

Between 2000 and 2011 the number of households carrying credit card debt decreased from 51 percent in 2008 to 38 percent in 2011. But the evidence continues to build showing that medical debt and student loan debt continue to saddle households. The level of that debt carried by households rose from 11 percent to 19 percent with households younger than 45 carrying more of this detrimental debt.

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If you would like to read the full report, click here.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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