Friday, June 15, 2012

Little Change in Household Debt

Although the pundits suggest that Americans aren't shopping because they are paying down debt, this notion may be more fiction than fact. The 2010 Survey of Consumer Finances found only a small decline in the percentage of households with debt, with the figure falling from 77 to 75 percent between 2007 and 2010. The median amount owed by households with debt was essentially unchanged at $70,700 (including mortgage debt).

The age group shedding debt the most: householders under age 35. The percentage of indebted householders in this age group fell 5.8 percentage points between 2007 and 2010, to 77.8 percent, as homeownership declined. The age group with the biggest increase in debt: householders aged 75 or older. More than one-third (38.5 percent) were in debt in 2010, up from 31.4 percent in 2007. The median amount owed by these householders more than doubled during those years to $30,000.

Source: Federal Reserve Board, Federal Reserve Bulletin, Changes in U.S. Family Finances from 2007 to 2010: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances

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