Credit Card and Household Debt Statistics – The Latest for 2017

U.S. household debt

Updated: May 30, 2017

When people talk about the American Dream, it’s hard to do so without thinking about debt. For all the homes and cars and colleges available to us, we still have to pay for them. And doing so in cash is close to impossible for the average American.

So how much debt are we actually taking on? The average credit card debt and other forms of debt that most Americans carry may surprise you.

We’ve analyzed the most common forms of debt Americans face: credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and medical debt. (You can find our latest data on student loans here.) Check it out to see where you stand.

Credit card debt in the U.S.

Credit cards are a common spending tool and are central to building good credit. But they come with some of the highest interest rates on any form of debt, and no formal repayment plan. Unfortunately, this can make it easy to get into credit card debt you can’t pay off.

Credit card debt is a common issue that challenges American consumers:

  • $764 billion total U.S. credit card debt¹ 
  • 191.8 million credit cardholders in the U.S. (or 77 percent of adults)²
  • $4,061 average credit card debt per cardholder in the U.S.³
  • $6,662 average credit card debt per U.S. household
  • 13.61% APR average credit card rate on accounts that assess interest

If a cardholder with the average balance continues to revolve credit without ever paying down this balance, he would pay $553 in interest in a year. A household that maintains the average balance of $6,662 at the average rate would pay $907 in interest.

credit card debt

Average mortgage debt in the U.S.

Buying a home in cash might sound like a dream — but the cost of a home can leave it just that: a dream. But as necessary as a mortgage may be, how can you tell how much mortgage you can afford?

Review some of the data below to see just where you stand in comparison to the average American carrying a mortgage:

  • $8.63 trillion total U.S. mortgage debt¹
  • 79.90 million mortgages in the U.S.
  • $106,132 average mortgage amount
  • $318,200 average mortgage size for new purchases⁴
  • 4.10% APR average mortgage on a 30-year mortgage⁵

mortgage debt

Car loans in the U.S.

Few people are able to buy a car using cash, which makes auto loans a necessity for most. That said, the prices of auto loans have been soaring in the past two years.

In fact, in 2015, total U.S. auto loan debt surpassed $1 trillion. And here is where this trend stands as of 2016:

  • $1.16 trillion in total U.S. auto loan debt¹
  • 106.21 million auto loans in the U.S.
  • $30,032 is the average auto loan amount on a new car⁶
  • The average loan term is 68 months on a new car
  • The average auto loan payment amount is $503 on a new car
  • The average auto loan APR is 4.79% on a new car

car loan debt

Medical debt in the U.S.

A medical emergency or extended illness can wipe out even the strongest of emergency funds. If you’re finding yourself dealing with medical debts you can’t afford, you’re not alone.

Below are some statistics that show how medical debt has grown and where it hits the hardest:

  • 42.9 million people have overdue medical debt in the U.S.⁷
  • $1,766 average balance owed among people with overdue medical debt
  • 31 percent of people struggling to repay medical debt owe $5,000 or more⁸ 
  • 13 percent of individual struggling to repay medical debt have bills of $10,000 or more

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Data sources

  1. New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax
  2. Federal Reserve Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households
  3. U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts
  4. Mortgage Bankers Association
  5. Freddie Mac
  6. Experian State of the Automotive Finance Market 2016
  7. Advisory Board
  8. Kaiser Family Foundation/New York Times Medical Bills Survey

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