American debt statistics: how much do Americans owe?

1 min readLast updated April 30, 2024by Rachel Carey

Explore how much debt the average American has and why the cost of living is driving these figures upward.


  • According to Experian, the average debt in the US is $104,215, which includes mortgages, loans, and credit card debt. 

  • Rising government debt will likely worsen the cost-of-living crisis and resulting debt. 

  • Over 60% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck, and many have more than one job to make ends meet. 

US consumer debt statistics 

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York US consumer debt statistics, consumer debt increased to $17.5 trillion in Q4 of 2023.  

Notably, credit card debt saw a significant rise, with a total balance growth of 17.4%.  

Of all the states, Colorado has the highest household debt per capita, reaching $89,170 and accounting for 99.85% of Colorado residents' average annual earnings. 

How much consumer debt does the average American have? 

Consumer debt in the US encompasses various forms, such as personal loan debt, credit card debt, and more.  

Despite a surprising decline from pre-pandemic levels, the average personal debt per individual was $21,800 at the end of 2023, as opposed to $29,800 at the end of 2019. 

Additionally, a concerning trend revealed by Bankrate indicates that one in three Americans had more credit card debt than savings in 2023 and 2024.  

For a detailed breakdown, refer to the table from Experian below that displays the total debt balance by debt type: 

Debt Type2,0212,0222023Change, 2022-2023
Mortgage $10.29T $11.22T $11.58T 0.032
Home equity $108.4B $118.5B $139.3B 0.176
HELOC $295.5B $305.9B $326.1B 0.063
Student loan $1.60T $1.48T $1.47T -0.70%
Auto loan $1.33T $1.41T $1.51T 0.071
Auto lease $92.6B $71.0B $73.2B 0.031
Credit card $784.5B $910.0B $1.07T 0.174
Retail credit card $111.6B $110.1B $126.9B 0.153
Personal loan $436.7B $516.5B $571.7B 0.107

Total debt balance by debt type

Which states have the highest consumer debt? 

American consumer debt statistics show that Colorado, California, Hawaii, and Washington residents tend to carry the highest consumer debts, likely influenced by housing costs, living expenses, and income levels.  

Geographic location can significantly impact debt due to variations in living costs and economic conditions.  

The table below uses data from Cultural Currents to reveal the highest to lowest debt states: 

StateAverage total debt per person
Colorado $89,170
California $84,730
Hawaii $82,650
Washington $82,300
Maryland $80,130
Utah $79,240
Massachusetts $74,260
Virginia $74,110
Alabama $67,670
Oregon $66,950
New Jersey $66,800
Nevada $66,020
Arkansas $65,600
Connecticut $64,670
Idaho $64,140
New Hampshire $63,230
Minnesota $62,240
Delaware $61,490
Rhode Island $58,580
Georgia $57,570
Florida $56,600
New York $56,590
Montana $55,440
North Carolina $55,370
Texas $54,290
South Carolina $53,410
Wyoming $52,900
Illinois $52,580
North Dakota $51,360
Vermont $51,170
Tennessee $51,160
South Dakota $50,150
Maine $49,740
Pennsylvania $48,300
Nebraska $47,580
Wisconsin $46,790
New Mexico $46,710
Missouri $45,910
Indiana $45,860
Louisiana $45,830
Iowa $45,720
Michigan $45,620
Alaska $44,440
Ohio $44,210
Kansas $43,440
Kentucky $40,290
Oklahoma $39,830
Arizona $39,150
Mississippi $38,130
West Virginia $34,210

Credit card debt 

Credit cards remain the primary source of debt for US adults, as reported by

In Q4 of 2023, Americans' total credit card balance reached $1.129 trillion, a record high from the previous record of $1.079 trillion in Q3 of 2023. This rise resulted in the highest balance since the New York Fed began tracking this data in 1999. 

Based on statistics from LendingTree, New Jersey residents hold the steepest average credit card debt among all states, whereas Mississippians have the lowest.  

Personal loan debt 

As reported by TransUnion, personal loan debt amounted to $241 billion of consumer debt during the third quarter of 2023, a $31 billion increase from the same period in 2022.  

Lenders have tightened underwriting standards to minimize lending to high-risk individuals, likely contributing to the decline in delinquency rates. 

Experian also notes that the baby boomer generation currently holds the highest average personal loan debt. However, Generation X is rapidly catching up. On average, loan amounts in recent years range from $6,000 to $8,100.

Auto loan debt 

Federal Reserve consumer debt statistics show that Americans collectively owe $1.607 trillion in auto loan debt.  

Auto loans currently constitute 9.18% of all household debt, making it the second-largest debt category after mortgages. 

Amidst an increased interest rate environment, lenders may capitalize on higher costs. However, some may still offer lower interest rates to attract new consumers, potentially giving them a competitive advantage. 

Student loan debt 

Student loan debt in the US currently amounts to $1.727 trillion, with 2023 marking the first-ever annual decline in student loan debt.  

Currently, 43.2 million borrowers carry federal student loan debt that they will have to pay back after graduation

On average, public university students borrow $32,637 to obtain a bachelor's degree.  

According to Forbes, the average student loan by state can be broken down as follows: 

States with the highest average student debt: 

  • New Hampshire: $39,928  

  • Delaware: $39,705 

  • Pennsylvania: $39,375 

  • Rhode Island: $36,791 

  • Connecticut: $35,853 

States with the lowest average student debt: 

  • Utah: $18,344 

  • New Mexico: $20,868 

  • California: $21,125 

  • Nevada: $21,357 

  • Wyoming: $23,510 

Medical loan debt 

Even though over 90% of the US population has some form of health insurance, medical expense debt remains a persistent issue. This is especially true for individuals with significant medical needs who often accumulate higher levels of debt over time. 

According to Health System Tracker, the prevalence of medical debt in the US is as follows: 

  • Approximately 6% of adults (14 million) in the US owe over $1,000. 

  • 2% (6 million) owe more than $5,000. 

  • 1% of adults (3 million people) owe more than $10,000. 

Mortgage debt 

In 2023, the average mortgage balance in the US rose to $244,498, representing an $8,000 increase compared to the previous year.  

Despite this, the number of mortgage inquiries decreased from 2022 levels, marking the second consecutive year of decline throughout the calendar year. 

In addition, home prices nationwide increased at a moderate annual rate of 5.5% through Q3 2023, as reported by the FHFA. This contrasts with the 12% surge seen from 2021 to 2022. Furthermore, the total number of mortgages, including new and existing ones, remained relatively stable from 2022, with new mortgages created being balanced out by an equivalent number of paid-off mortgages

What is the average American debt by age? 

US consumer debt statistics reveal that the average debt balances by age group are as follows: 

  • Gen Z (ages 18 to 23): $9,593 

  • Millennials (ages 24 to 39): $78,396 

  • Gen X (ages 40 to 55): $135,841 

  • Baby boomers (ages 56 to 74): $96,984 

  • Silent generation (ages 75 and above): $40,925 

Consumers in the two oldest age categories have experienced a significant decrease in debt since 2015, with approximately -7.5% for baby boomers and -7.7% for the silent generation. 

Get expert financial advice 

Mortgages make up a large portion of the US's total debt, but credit card debt is the primary reason for debt, with people living beyond their means and living from paycheck to paycheck. 

Securing expert financial advice from a registered financial advisor is a wise decision to avoid debt and better manage your finances.  

Let Unbiased match you with an advisor who will give you tailored advice according to your circumstances and goals, helping you minimize debt while building up your savings. 

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.