Total household debt in the U.S. has increased by 16% over the past decade, from major sources like credit card, auto, student loan, and mortgage debt. Nevada’s student loan debt saw the most increase, by a whopping 94%.

Upgraded Points recently released a comprehensive study detailing how U.S. debt has changed over time and to what extent debt of different types are influenced by region, including which states are impacted the most. From credit card debt and student loans, to mortgages and medical bills, the study ultimately reveals 10 years of trends for states still in the red as well as those that are seeing the most debt paid off year by year. Upgraded Points is a trusted travel company that regularly creates and provides seasonal and special interest studies for both its customers and general travelers.

Debt Study Methodology

Upgraded Points collected data over an entire decade on major sources of American debt – credit card, student loans, healthcare, car loans, housing mortgages, etc. – as the basis for an exhaustive analysis of Americans’ debt positions. Compiling data from 2011 to 2021 using sources including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Zillow, OECD, Urban Institute, and more, the results include a series of downloadable data summaries on credit card debt, student loan debt, medical debt, uninsured populations, and mortgage debt, all organized by state.

Study Highlights: U.S. Credit Card Debt and Credit Scores

There is a correlation between income and credit card debt, with wealthier states tending to have both higher credit card debt and credit scores, while less wealthy states have higher credit card debt-to-income ratios. Alaska has the most credit card debt per capita, at $4,070, but Florida residents have the hardest time paying off credit card debt, with an average card debt-to-income ratio of 6.2%.

Other state credit card and credit score breakdowns include:

  • CaliforniaAverage credit card debt of $3,330 per citizen, 5.05% credit card debt-to-income ratio, and average credit score of 709.
  • New YorkAverage credit card debt of $3,520 per citizen, 5.54% credit card debt-to-income ratio, and average credit score of 712.
  • OhioAverage credit card debt of $2,620 per citizen, 4.77% credit card debt-to-income ratio, and average credit score of 695.
  • TexasAverage credit card debt of $3,190 per citizen, 5.75% credit card debt-to-income ratio, and average credit score of 674.

Study Highlights: Housing Mortgages, Medical Debt, and Student Loan Debt

  • Student Loan Debt—Student loan debt has increased over 50% nationally since 2011, but Nevada has seen a 94% increase from this debt source (North Carolina and Georgia ranked No. 2 and 3). Mississippi has the highest student debt-to-income ratio (43%) and Pennsylvania has the highest percentage of residents in student loan debt (19%). In Alaska, education debt rose just 17%.
  • Housing Debt—Mortgage debt rose 14% from 2011 to 2021, but North Dakota has seen the most significant housing debt increase (63%). Hawaii has the highest median home value and D.C. has the highest mortgage debt at $75,280 per homeowner. Five states are in the top 10 for both home value and mortgage debt per capita: CaliforniaColoradoHawaiiWashington, and Utah.
  • Medical Debt— Southern states tend to have higher populations in medical debt and the highest ratios of medical debt to monthly income: West Virginia has the highest percentage (24%) with medical debt in collections. The average median medical debt in collections in the U.S. is $678.72 — Wyoming has the highest ($1,515) and Hawaii the lowest ($339). States with higher uninsured populations tend to have greater outstanding medical debt: Less than 3% of Massachusetts’ residents are without insurance and the state ranks third for the least medical debt in collection. 18% of Texas residents are without medical insurance and the state ranks fifth for most medical debt in collections.

Overall U.S. Citizen Debt Continues to Rise Dramatically

Total household debt in the U.S. has increased by 16% over the past decade. Since 2011, U.S. mortgage debt has increased by 14%, student loan debt increased by 56%, auto debt increased by 71%, and credit card debt increased by 4%. Seven states in particular have a mortgage debt increase of over 30%, including AlaskaColoradoIdahoMontanaNorth Dakota, and Utah. Four states have more than 20% of residents with medical debt in collections: North CarolinaOklahomaSouth Carolina, and West Virginia. Student loan debt has increased by over 50% for 27 states, including AlabamaGeorgiaNorth Carolina, and South Carolina. And in Nevada, student loan debt has almost doubled by an astounding 94%.

To check out the complete results of the debt study along with multiple downloadable, granular breakdowns of population percentages, multiple types of debt, debt increases by year, along with state-by-state maps and graphs, please visit the full study HERE.

About Upgraded Points LLC

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Upgraded Points is a travel company that provides insider strategies on maximizing travel points and rewards. Launched in 2016 by Alex Miller, Upgraded Points uses targeted research efforts and in-depth studies to give travelers, as well as those looking to travel, a real understanding of how to maximize their points and miles. Learn more at:

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