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Personal debt in the U.S. - statistics & facts

Personal debt, a term similar to consumer debt, is used in economics to denote the outstanding debt of consumers as opposed to businesses or governments. Unlike public and corporate debt, personal debt is amassed primarily through consumption rather than investment. It includes debts incurred through the purchase of goods that do not appreciate value and are consumable. Public debt in the U.S. has grown steadily since 2008, a trend that is forecast to continue throughout the next decade.

Why are Americans in debt?

According to a survey conducted in 2021, two in three Americans are in debt. There are various sources of debt in the United States, but mortgages and credit card debt accounted for 43 percent of all consumer debt in 2021. Credit card debt is one of the worst types of debt due to the high interest rates, which makes it harder to pay off. In some states, the average value of credit card debt was as high as 5.5 thousand U.S. dollars in 2021. However, in recent years, an alternative to credit card emerged - buy now, pay later or BNPL. Initially introduced in the e-commerce sector, BNPL allows consumers to purchase goods and services in interest-free installments.

Personal debt: good or bad?

Many economists advocate the power of personal debt to fuel economic expansion. With the availability of cheap credit and increased demand for consumer goods, consumers can help to increase domestic production and economic growth. However, as the household debt ratio to GDP in the United States shows, talking in macroeconomic terms creates distance to the personal tragedies that result from excessive debt, often having their beginnings in high debt payment to income ratio.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 22 most important statistics relating to "Personal debt in the U.S.".


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